spunktitud3

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Chinese School Lessons: The Day I went back to School

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Me and artist/Filmmaker Green Zeng
When I heard the gallery will be converted into a temporary classroom, I couldn’t pass up the chance to come as a schoolgirl and be part of the exhibits. LOL

In his latest solo show, Singaporean artist & filmmaker Green Zeng continues his examination of the construction and manipulation of history through a series of artworks inspired by Chinese school student activism of pre-and post-Independent Singapore and the educational reforms affecting Chinese schools.

Presenting a series of blackboards covered with silk-screened images of Chinese school uniforms, painted flags and texts in English, Chinese, and Malay, Zeng transforms the gallery into a temporary classroom and invites the viewer to join in a lesson discussing the changes in Chinese education and the struggle to retain one’s cultural and historical roots amidst the building of a new nation.

Chinese School Lessons
Solo exhibition by Green Zeng
27th September to 18th October 2012
Chan Hampe Galleries
Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade #01-20/21
328 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188719
Tel: +65 6338 1962
Open daily 11:00AM – 7:00PM


About Green Zeng

Born in 1972 in Singapore and educated at LASALLE College of the Arts, Green Zeng is a multi-disciplinary artist whose works encompass visual arts, theatre and film. Zeng’s practice revolves principally around Singaporean life, as well as issues that relate to history and society. He was a member of the experimental company Metabolic Theatre Laboratory, performing with the group in Singapore and Japan. He is currently the creative director of Singapore film production company Mirtillo Films, which he co-founded. He has directed many short films, some of which have been selected for international festivals including the Cannes Film Festival. His film Passenger was awarded the Encouragement Prize at the Akira Kurosawa Memorial Short Film Competition in Tokyo in 2006.

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Chinese school education was characterized by the teaching of ideals and ideology through school mottos, slogans, anthems, and idioms.

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Chinese idiom “近朱者赤|近墨者黑”
Literal translation – one who nears vermilion becomes red and one who nears ink becomes black
Meaning – One takes on the color of one’s company

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

The use of three languages (English, Chinese & Malay) points to the important role that language plays in forming cultural and national identity.

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

The exhibition catalogue came in the form of an exercise book.

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

I think I can still pass off as a student huh…maybe Elementary/Primary 20 :D

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Student movement in postwar Singapore was a sensitive issue because of its political implications. Those who took part of protests during the 1950s and early 1960s were mainly Chinese middle school students and supporters in Chinese education circles who resisted the British colonial rule and the emphasis placed on the English language. This eventually led to the National Service Riots on 13 May 1954 led by the Chinese Middle School students.

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

The uniform depicted here is Chung Cheng High School, which was the main site of the riot in 1954.

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

自强不息,李求上进 – To thrive in adversity, to strive and improve oneself constantly

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Green, me & Ben
Playful Ben was quite happy with my cameo appearance, while I thought Green was a bit astonished by my ‘costume’, haha

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Shoes – Feiyue
White Shirt – Ralph Lauren
Blue Silk Skirt – Mum’s vintage Cacharel
Blue/green tartan ribbon pin – From a flea market

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

温故知新 – To gain new knowledge by reviewing old; to understand the present by reviewing the past.

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

That’s the big question – the search for identity

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Chinese School Lessons by Green Zeng

Fajar – the glorious dawn in Malay

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Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here: Dawn Ng

Everything You Ever Wanted - Dawn Ng

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here – Dawn Ng

Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here features a series of handcrafted photographic and typography-based collages by one of Singapore’s most adored contemporary artists, Dawn Ng. Exploring the notion of “home”, the works are a tongue-in-cheek, visual documentary of present day Singapore compiled over a four-month period utilising photojournalism and interviews with locals.

By slicing phrases through large-scale photographs, the collages expose the cultural sentiments beneath one of the world’s most highly “case-studied” cities as it tells the ongoing story of a country in the making via humorous, provocative captions to everyday sights. The juxtaposition of image and text sets up a visual “peek-a-boo”, revealing hidden socio-commentaries on the tensions, idiosyncrasies, and hopes unique to Singapore. Beneath the canvas of an image of something so close to home, the accompanying statement brings to light various social, economic and political tensions of our country. Having spent 10 years shuttling between Singapore, Paris and New York, Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here is core to Ng’s obsession with the notion of home, identity, and belonging.

Everything You Ever Wanted - Dawn Ng

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here
Those gold biscuit tins must be so nostalgic to many a Singaporean. I remember looking forward to trips to such mom-and-pop stores to buy them…while most would have gone for the cute round ones with colourful sugar icing on the top, I went for the plain blocks of chocolate wafers. Yuuumz.

I got to know Dawn when I was working with her on an exhibition of her most well-known art installation – a ginormous white rabbit balloon sculpture Walter (I liked it so much I asked Dawn if we could create a female Walterina as a mate for him, haha). I appreciate the tongue-in-cheek character of Dawn’s work; it is matter-of-fact enough for the man-in-the-street to understand yet carries a relevant social statement while being able to bring a smile to the audience’s face. More importantly, Dawn brings your attention to the beauty in ordinary everyday things which is invisible to most people. Not losing the sense of wonder about the simple things in life makes us more appreciative of what we have around us instead of incessantly working towards material gains which may bring only a moment of fulfillment.

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

What is world-class?
To the Chinatown uncle, sipping a perfectly soft-boiled egg with local-brewed coffee may be world-class. To another, it may be caviar with red wine. It seems that our lives are full of comparisons; why can’t we just be our own world-class standard instead of letting others dictate if we are doing it right?

Dawn’s latest work got me thinking – is everything I ever wanted right here? While there is always the desire to do better in life, get a bigger house, own a car, work overseas for a few years, travel more, lose a few more kilos, buy more Birkin bags and the list goes on, at least for now I could not pinpoint what I was really lacking. I am blessed with an awesome and caring chum like Darren (I wouldn’t want it any other way), loving parents, a God who watches over me (trust me, I get into loads of mischief with my antics), a comfortable home with a room Darren thinks it’s more of a shopping mall, the ability to be financially independent and go on travel adventures, and fun friends like Ben, Calvin, Darren Ang, Darren Chin, Darren Sim (I seem to get along REALLY well with all the Darrens!), Dawn, Maddie, Mark Ong, Mint and so many more. These days, I find more pleasure in listening to the sound of sea waves and feeling the cool breeze caress my cheek, than acquiring another material possession. I guess we need to take a step back from our busy lives at some point in time, to question ourselves what it is that we are seeking for in life. The answer may be unexpectedly simple. Perhaps there is one thing lacking for me – the inability to express how thankful I am for all the things that I am, and to be.

Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here
Solo exhibition by Dawn Ng
7th to 24th September 2012

Chan Hampe Galleries
Raffles Hotel Arcade Units #01-20/21
328 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188719
Tel: +65 6338 1962
Open daily 11:00AM – 7:00PM

Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here

Artist Dawn Ng and and Benjamin Milton Hampe – both of them are such sweet darlings! Muak muaks!
Photo: Chan Hampe Galleries

Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here

That’s what I wanna do most of the time! Photo shows a typical coffeeshop beverage counter where Milo is affectionately known as “tat kiew” (kick ball, cos’ of the sports images on the Milo can) and Chinese tea is “diao yu” (fishing, cos’ the action of dipping the tea bag looks like it). Try saying that overseas, and you will understand why it’s Singaporean.

Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here

“I was shooting at an MRT location near Pasir Ris. A young boy pointed up to a cluster of surveillance cameras attached to the ceiling and asked his mother why there are so many cameras in Singapore. “The mother replied in Mandarin, “Boy, 你不知道啊? 新加坡政府是色狼。(Ah boy, don’t you know? The Singapore government is a bunch of perverts.)”

Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here

The verses of the song Que Sera Sera progress through childhood, young adulthood, falling in love to parenthood, and asks “What will I be?” or “What lies ahead?” The chorus answers: “What will be, will be.
In our incessant chase for wealth and reputation in a bid to show the society that we have “made it”, our parents load their kids with endless tuition and enrichment classes. Sometimes, I think teaching kids what true happiness means is more important, and let them experience the carefree nature of true childhood. 

For me, I have always wondered how ballet or karate lessons could have helped me in my life. My mum was quite smart though – when I said I wanted to learn karate, she said “Cannot! What if you beat me up next time?!” I ended up learning Chinese calligraphy and piano instead. You can guess who I got my naughty genes from.

Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here

Me and Chris from uber cool Chris from Asylum

Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here

Try spotting me in the crowd. That shouldn’t be too hard. Just look for a really green plant haha
Photo: Chan Hampe Galleries

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

Oooh, I love these retro playgrounds. My next adventure would be documenting these playgrounds with D.

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

Where is this secret wonderland?

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

Our mad chase for time – everything is due yesterday. Relax lah.

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

Dawn’s art no doubt speaks to an audience from ALL ages
Photo: Chan Hampe Galleries

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

Me, Dawn, Bern & Stan

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

For Dorothy, an 18 panel installation series based on the sentence “There is no place like home”, Dawn went into over 60 homes of Singaporeans – half of them belonging to complete strangers – to capture their living environments. It is an arresting, intimate look into a mix of objects and photographs which document what it means to be Singaporean. She chose which have been lived in for more than 10 years to tease out the difference between a home from a house.
While most people feel apologetic about the non-specialness of their living environment, the accumulation of everyday life, events and memories that manifest themselves in the unique clutter of a space is often more beautiful to the artist than an immaculately decorated apartment in a Home and Décor magazine.

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

So what do I think of Dawn’s exhibition? The answer’s in the artwork :)

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

Look of the Day
Top and Skirt – Oh My God

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

Plastic transparent body harness – from Hong Kong

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

Bracelets – Hermes CDC and Bejeweled leopard from Korea

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

Gold leather wooden block-heels and neon green socks – from Hong Kong

Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here - Dawn Ng

Yes, I truly believe in this.
And spunktitud3 lived happily ever after, with her chum Darren, dogs and a Birkin. I’m a girl after all :D


About Dawn Ng
With a background in studio art and journalism at Georgetown University and the UCL Slade School of Fine Art, Dawn Ng spent 10 years across Singapore, Paris and New York straddling art and advertising. Her time in advertising is reflective in the pop cultural resonance of her personal work and its attempt to toy with the obvious to tell the truth.

To date, Dawn has worked across a breadth of mediums, motives and scale ranging from collage, photography, illustration, light and installations for both private galleries, as well as the Singapore Art Museum. In 2009, I FLY LIKE PAPER GET HIGH LIKE PLANES, an installation at the BlackOut art show, received much press across Channel News Asia and the Business Times, who coined Dawn the new tour de force of the local art scene. Following which, her solo, WALTER, garnered more media attention for its controversial guerilla content and form, and was later acquired into the permanent collection of the Singapore Art Museum.

A range of Dawn’s collage, light and space installations, such as SUPERHIGH, HELLO STRANGER, MASSIVE ATTACK, and THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE INSIDE, have since been commissioned and curated by the Singapore Art Museum. Dawn was the youngest artist to be commissioned to design the museum’s building façade in 2010 for the Art Garden show. Her latest works THE SLEEP SERIES was be exhibited in the Jenkins Johnson Gallery group show in New York, while 31 KINDS OF WONDERFUL in Paris was part of the Future Proof Show at the Singapore Art museum. Dawn continues to work on a public art commission for the Singapore Art Museum in 2012.


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Look of the Day – Chan Hampe Galleries Opening

Chan Hampe Galleries

I attended a really sweet friend Ben’s new gallery opening a week ago – Chan Hampe Galleries has shifted into a new and bigger space at the Raffles Hotel. What’s really cool about Chan Hampe Galleries is that it aims to create a platform for East-West cultural exchange by exhibiting and promoting contemporary art with a primary focus on promising local talent. Some of the artists whom I like include Om Mee Ai (who launched her new show at the opening), Sean Lee, Jason Wee, Guan Wei amongst many others. Ben has a stellar track record in the arts industry, and has a good eye for sussing out rising artists from the region. May I also mention that he was nominated as one of AUGUST Man’s A-Listers in 2011 too ;-)

Left Photo: Co-Owner Angeline Chan, Milenko Pravcki, Om Mee Ai, Benjamin Milton Hampe
Right Photo: Ben with Director of Singapore Art Museum Tan Boon Hui

 

Dionis and me

Dionis and me

Charles and I

Charles & me – He’s such a nice and friendly guy!

Look of the Day - Closeup

Look of the Day Close-Up

Look of the Day
Dress: From Hong Kong
Leather bracelets: Hermes
Claw finger rings: ASOS
Necklace: Chanel
Belt: Wonder Anatomie
Watch: Chronoswiss
Heels: CL

 

Gallery Opening Photos: Chan Hampe Galleries