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“Your strength as an artist does not have to come from your best qualities or gifts. An artist can rise from a deficiency within himself or herself.” - Enrique Martinez Celaya

For a time too long, I felt that the art I was creating wasn't reaching into the deepest parts of my inmost being and I still have not done that yet. However, my slow departure from the familiarity of brush and paint started giving me hope. I've loved painting since I was 11 years old. Fell in love when my teacher taught me to paint a blue gradient. Thereafter, I painted at every chance I've got because I was so mesmerized by how colors appear and I could get lost in my little world. It was a safe place to explore and hold a little fragment of the world that was too big for me to understand. Some time later I graduated from art school, I started to realise that the canvas wasn't the starting point for me anymore. And I was craving for a deeper sense of intimacy with my works. I came to a close awareness of my lack of patience to attend to the beauty of things around me. I was lacking perseverance to uncover the goodness of each day and what I've been given. I lacked also faith that I could really make the art that I want to make. And that was how A Minute of Second Glance came about. I wanted to cultivate a habit of attending to things that easily pass me by. Little things that are often eclipsed by “wiser” pragmatic concerns. I wanted to see beyond the object before me and relinquish my desire to use, use, use. What happens if I intentionally slow down to develop a relationship with things as mundane as household objects?

I carved out 60 pieces of foam that were within the size of my palm. Each representing a moment I wanted to grab hold of. I started exploring the objects without any purposes or expectation in mind, except that I wanted to know them and let me be known by them. That we would come out of this process having had a moment together.

As these moments increased, they led me on a path to...

Berny, an artist curator, accepted them to be part of the exhibition Maybe We Read Too Much Into Things where they were shown alongside artists (Genevieve Leong, Kelvin Fee, Ryan, Aki Hassan and Daniel Chong) who were also exploring the materialities of everyday objects.

Through an interview with Berny, I gained a little more understanding about my own process. She was drawn to 25/60 (artwork below) and it is now in her good hands.

After the exhibition they returned to my home and I placed them before my dining table, where I got to enjoy them with family and friends. It was an unusual season of creativity in the food, people and activities...

Then I came to know William, an architect from Studio Wills, who visited the show and appreciated one of the pieces that I had placed near a power socket. He acquired the work and placed it between a light switch and door knob in his office. It reminded him of a fan rotary switch, which he always avoided at all cost. He positioned the work 45/60 “as a threshold space of the studio.”

Justin, a writer and researcher at In Plain Words, visited the show too and acquired two moments (12/60 & 23/60) for his new home. I loved the spot he had chosen to display them - the edge of a corridor frame where the works can now affirm each passing by.

5/60 & 13/60 found their way onto the shelf of my friend Akai, a fellow artist and photographer. I love this choice of place as well, neatly nestled among other personal belongings, serving as a reminder to contemplate on things that do not immediately serve any practical purposes.

This is Akai, a faithful friend and supporter of my art practice, saw the architectural and structural elements in my works that I wasn't conscious of.

Some months later I met Yun Teng, who visited me and was looking for artists to be part of Figment’s Case Study programme. Figment is a boutique hospitality company specialising in shophouses. I was elated to share A Minute of Second Glance with them. Home is where they belong, in the intimacy of everyday life.

The works were placed along a beautiful stairwell of the shophouse, punctuating the daily ups and downs of residents.

Some were allocated in different corners of the home, waiting in the second glance of whoever is passing by.

In the same season, Shiauyu from Co-Creation invited me to be part of their Artist Workshop Series and together we created a DIY household art assemblage kit. A Sort of Painting. They also mentored me to deliver an online workshop to a group of art students in Spectra Secondary School. Their sculptures were not like anything I’ve seen!

I’m not sure where this is going next...but knowing that recognising places of lack within myself could open up to a path of fulfilment?

That’s hope I can bring into the next season of making.


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