What do you want people to know about your graduation project?
My work stems from an exploration into my cultural identity and experience. As a person of mixed Singaporean and British heritage both my research and practice has come to engage with the colonial connotations of the relationship between the East and the West. These connotations are most evident in themes such as Orientalism and its relationship to the Chinoiserie, in which elements of Chinese design were recreated in relation to European aesthetics and tastes.
My practice explores these ideas of cultural exchange, both on a personal and political level. Recently I have been creating peculiar, somewhat furniture-like structures. These objects combine motifs and imagery from both Chinese and European furniture design. In doing so I attempt to somewhat re-imagine and reclaim ideas and designs associated with the Chinoiserie, which have in the past had problematic colonial undertones. Cultural designs are shared as opposed to appropriated, it is no longer about one culture being moulded to the demands of another.
Whilst these themes form the foundation of my practice they don’t control how or what I make, their occurrence in my work fluctuates: sometimes having more presence, sometimes less. I like the idea of these objects being somewhat playful. Their functional flat-pack structure contrasts against each objects ornate visuality. In a series of more recent works, I have chosen to incorporate slightly anthropomorphic qualities into the furniture structures. This development, I think, helps to prevent the objects from becoming too static or fixed; rather the sprawling table legs and tentacle-like chair arms seem to depict these objects as having a life of their own.
What has been your favourite thing about ECA and Edinburgh?
One of the great things about studying at ECA is its spaces - the high ceiling studios that look out onto the castle offer amazing natural light, whilst the project spaces enable students to test and build new works. I think it’s so important, especially as a sculpture student, to have easy access to such spaces in order experiment, take risks and develop their practice.
What are your hopes for life after ECA? Do you have any plans?
At the moment I am currently in the process of creating a new work: a pair of gates, for an upcoming exhibition with curator Georgia Stephenson.
After this summer I’m hoping to work for an artist for a period of time, before embarking on a three-month research trip to Florence, as part of the John Kinross Scholarship.