She’s known for seizing that element of the unexpected; this artist has brought her “ginormous bunny” Walter all around Singapore, attracting many curious second looks at our cityscape.
Now, Singapore artist Dawn Ng centres another project on this sunny city — her solo exhibition Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here opens September 7 at the Raffles Hotel Arcade.
Egg and HDB Corridor by Dawn Ng
Ng’s exhibition paints a visual peek-a-boo with photos; text are hand-cut out of these shots, providing humorous, provocative captions to everyday sights.
In Egg, the phrase, “World Class”, is sliced out of a humble plate of half-boiled eggs, while Surveillance Camera pairs “Kind of Kinky” with a cluster of surveillance cameras.
Surveillance Camera by Dawn Ng
She shares the inspiration behind the latter: “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, don’t you know? The Singapore government is a bunch of perverts’. It made me laugh. It was so candid.”
Flats by Dawn Ng
Having spent 10 years shuttling between Singapore, Paris and New York, the idea of home has become almost an “obsession” for Dawn Ng.
“[Singapore] is a place that is also going through a big period of change, so I wanted to document the bubbling sentiments beneath this country-in-the-making,” explains the artist. “And in some ways, tell an irreverent, pointed and honest story of home.”
While there is a discernibly optimistic outlook to Ng’s homage to all things Singapore, the artist’s collages are far from unadulterated praise; perhaps rightly so.
“Home is like family,” says the artist. “You don’t get to choose either. A lot of tension is born out of that kind of captive relationship.”
If she could, Ng would love to change certain prevalent Singapore attitudes; like “our narrow and stunted definition of what is ‘world class’.”
Singapore artist Dawn Ng
At the same time, it’s clear that this artist loves this city. Ng appreciates “how hard we try” at overachieving; it’s these “tensions and idiosyncrasies” that make Singapore “endlessly fascinating” to her.
So is “everything you ever wanted” meant to be found here? Maybe, maybe not. But make a visit to this exhibition anyway. Love them or loathe them, you’ll stifle a chuckle, spotting traits that make this city truly one-of-a-kind.
Dawn Ng’s Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here is held from September 7 to 24, 2012 at Chan Hampe Galleries, Raffles Hotel Arcade, #01-20/21, 328 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188719.
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