on My Path

After working for a number of years in the commercial field, I had the good fortune to pursue my goal of studying art full time in 1993 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, U.S.A. That experience in the commercial world was once technical and robotic, an experience of efficiency and mainly know-hows. My exposure to art at Michigan emphasized much on conceptual and experimental, coupled with my trips to different parts of the world, have helped to reshape my outlook and give new meanings to my experience. Now, the union of heart and soul makes it wholesome.

Having bypassed the local art education, I returned home to Singapore in 1997, not knowing a single soul in the local art scene. Acceptance into the art community is not a given and no less bewildering was my own attempt to start my practice, more so when mixed-media fibre which is my medium of expression is not considered main stream in the art scene.

Alberto Giaccometti is a contemporary of Picasso and a sculptor whom I admire very much. He made his name only late in life because his works and personality did not “fit in” the art circle. He once said “I care only about life, about transforming the things that move me, that interest me, into art.”* When he chose to take this risk, he gave himself the greatest freedom. But he knew that if he stuck to his dangerous path and headed for the speck of light in the distance, and kept going, he would be able to “grasp and reveal a kind of reality.”

Indeed. many years on as an art practitioner, I am able to comprehend in a fuller manner his journey and what he said. Looking back on my work one decade since my graduation in 1997, I am glad I have decided to follow my heart although knowing well that my path is long and upwind.

The work I create is an empirical result of my experience - I make works that express a basic humanness. At times, the artistic purpose of some of my works is completed by the viewers’ participatory responses. I avoid categorizing my works, and the title I give to each piece is meant to be an instigator, instead of a mandate of how the viewers should feel about the work. My wish is that the viewers gain entry into my creations via their own perspective and contemplation.

Behind everything I create is a belief in humility and a conviction that art has the power to heal, that it opens up an avenue where one can reclaim individuality and uniqueness; in the face of a gradually globalized and eroded identity. I believe at the same time that art alone ensures the best of the human (touch) is not lost amidst the most advanced of technology.

*Ernst Scheidegger. “Two Arts on a Jade stone - Alberto Giaccometti seen through the camera of Ernst Scheidegger”, p22-24. pub. Edition Voldemeer Zurich 2001

Meiling, 2008-11-16

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