[articulated illustrations of extraordinary individuals part 3]

3. junyuan rao: in case you, like me, have not yet learned how to read mandarin, rao chose to write “made in china” on his fingers. rao is an interesting man, and one who challenged my preconceived notions of both foreign exchange students and dumplings. during my final few weeks in scotland, rao invited a handful of people over to his flat for a traditional chinese meal. my previous exposure to asian food consisted of pork fried rice on new year’s eve and chicken wings from the mall’s food court. rao labored over the food for much of the day and served up an incredible dinner, marking the end of a great year. my friendship with him began when he decided to explore catholicism. over the course of the year, rao and i spent a great deal of time discussing sensitive moral issues and along the way we became friends. the portrait we created illustrates the complex relationship rao has with his past and his future. the juxtaposition between his nationality and his chosen faith is depicted by the rosary beads in his hand and the characters inked onto his fingers.