Brothers of the Forest

What would human relationships look like when set free from religion and repressive societal structures? What would they look like if society was not there to prescribe what is or is not correct?

Brothers of the Forest is a triptych series that explores our hard-wired human emotions and how they shape our human relationships with one another. In the paintings, the figures symbolize our emotions and their coexistence—like a brotherhood.

My intention is to invite viewers to examine what they think they know about human relationship templates and what’s actually out there—theory vs practice. Brothers of the Forest was created for Photonic Playground’s first LGBTQ themed show and OC Pride 2019.

Prints can be purchased here.

Concept, Illustration | Edmund Liang
Exhibition @ Photonic Playground
Models | Jay Knowlton, Kingsley Rothwell, & Samuel Bolivar


Brothers of the Forest (2019)


Brothers of the Forest (2019)

Brothers of the Forest — the full triptych. Each piece explores a complex state of human emotions that influence the relationship choices we make: Ambivalence, Compersion, & Empathy.


Portrait of Ambivalence (2019)

Depiction of Happiness & Sadness. Happiness crouches while admiring an iceland poppy and Sadness slumps under an eternal rain of dead leaves.

We humans do not experience emotions in their 100% pure form. Similar to the color wheel, our emotions are complex blends of differing emotions of varying intensities—resulting in the millions of combinations we experience everyday. 

Portrait of Ambivalence Details

As we mature, we grow more accepting of our reality where nothing is purely 100% positive or negative. It is simply part of being human.


Portrait of Compersion (2019)

Group portrait depicting a variation of human relationships when set free from religion and repressive societal structures. The figures display the lesser known but commonly felt emotion: compersion; the feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another. 

Portrait of Compersion Details

In the realm of human relationships, this soothing emotion becomes available when one lets go their feelings of ownership over their partner(s).


Portrait of Empathy (2019)

Empathy, being the most powerful amongst his peers, bears a headdress embedded with 27 orbs; each representing one of the 27 classified human emotions. The disc at the center is his third-eye, granting him perception beyond plain sight. 

Portrait of Empathy Details

He is the only one with the ability to imagine himself in situations of others and experience the world through their eyes. Born with a mature prefrontal cortex, Empathy was able to more easily understand others from an early age.

Empathy is the very glue of society. And it is he who keeps our humanity alive.

Prints can be purchased here.