Seekan Hui’s A Projection is a simple story with fantastic visuals. Cecilia, a photographer, is hired by a woman (Mama) to take pictures of her children and act as a nanny for them. While the woman intends to be nice, she refuses to call Cecilia by her name, disrespects her process, and barates her children Apple and Candy. Haunted by the the loss of Apple and Candy’s older sister, Cecilia must try to do her best work and make the family look good, while masking the reality of the household.
The art is reminiscent of pasted together scraps of paper, with hand drawn mutants as the characters. Cecilia has two heads stacked on top of each other, Apple has antennas, Baba has a propeller for a mustache, and so on. While this may just be a physical representation of their personalities, the malformations actually play into the story. Cecilia’s smaller head talks to her, the kids refuse to hug their “spikey” uncle, and at one point the children fly out the window, at which Cecilia surprisingly shouts “you can fly?!”, and Candy responds “We’re full of surprises!”. Often, there are no panels, but full page progressions where one image connects to the next one. Sometimes this led me to be confused on which dialog box to read next, but it was always clear who was speaking and the confusion often came when Cecilia herself was overwhelmed.
Even with the odd mutants inhabiting this world, Hui’s writing makes it so not a single character doesn’t feel real. Cecilia and the children are relatable and fun, while Mama feels like a very real woman you would meet while she demands to speak to your manager. Baba is passive, but nice, and all of their friends are realistically snobby.
What happened to Candy and Apple’s older sister is never revealed, but there are hints as to what happened, and it’s pretty easy to piece things together. The story overall is straightforward, and we get very clear motivations for our protagonist. Cecilia is an artist who takes her work seriously, while doing anything she can to make money to support that passion.
I only wish we got to see more of the family dynamic. I wanted to see more interaction between Baba and Mama, and Cecilia’s turn from resenting Candy and Apple to becoming friends with them. The story felt a little rushed, with some pages feeling cluttered with plot, especially towards the end. I adored this story and wanted to see more of Cecilia’s life inside this house. I wanted to know more about the older sister, and Candy and Apple. For a while, I didn’t even know Candy or Apple’s name. Candy’s name isn’t revealed until one of the last scenes, with a joke from Cecilia’s smaller head saying “told you her name was Candy”. Everything seems to happen in the span of less than a week.
Seekan Hui’s unique art style is fun and inventive, and her storytelling is equally so. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of her content, and I hope someday we can see more of this story. I highly recommend A Projection to anyone who enjoys slice of life short stories and creative art styles.