She calls on you: The defiant monstrous female body of the Pontianak
installation and sculpture
Female repression and misogyny is evident in Malaysian folklore whereby the cursed Pontianak is seen as monstrous and grotesque following her inability and failure to carry out her duties as a mother and wife when she died during childbirth. Instead of the Pontianak being something to distance yourself from, she is seen as a powerful symbol of defiance, rebellion and women’s empowerment with her refusal to conform to social expectations and her endless fight against misogyny.
The monstrosity of the Pontianak, like many female monsters and ghosts, is deeply rooted in her gender and culture.This series harnesses the power of the Pontianak to enforce a necessary feminist discourse.
A big thank you to the writings of Adeline Kueh and the works of Yee I-Lan which have been a big inspiration for this series of work.
An extension of “Defective: Absent Bodies”, the “Venus and Vases” collection incorporates ceramic everyday objects to show how women suffering from female conditions such as endometriosis find it a struggle to carry out everyday tasks.
The ceramic pieces also symbolise the vulnerability women are usually linked to but this false connection is shattered by the power of these female monsters. This collection brings to light the power and resilience of women and the female body.
Exhibition, Venus and vases (2020) at N'ATTA Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand.
VENUS AND VASES
Performed for the Wuwei Performance Series #7 which took place during Singapore's Circuit Breaker in April 2020.
The artist balances the weight of a 1 meter wooden stick between her body and a wall in her home, refusing to let it fall before its time despite the struggle. The performance examines the artist’s relationship with distance during the current lockdown period.
In The Weight of Distance, the artist gives distance a form and interacts with it. In this case, distance takes the form of a 1 meter wooden stick. 1 meter is the minimum distance allowed between people during Singapore’s Circuit Breaker.
Different versions of the performance were carried out over the course of 5 hours. This was the last performance.
Winston Oh Travelogue Award 2019
Tucked away in the Southern state of Andra Pradesh, Tirupati is home to one of the most holy pilgrimage sites, the Sri Venkateswara Swamy Vaari Temple. The temple is known for its specialisation in hair sacrifices. Devotees travel from all corners of the globe to take on the gruelling climb of 3500 steps up a hill where the temple is situated.
I was drawn to the hairy sculptures that can be found hanging above the entrance to shops and restaurants scattered around the city. These sculptures are comprised of found objects specific to the area such as fruits, dried chilis, garments, threads, rocks and hair. Harnessing the power of the devotees sacrifice, their hair is weaved and wrapped around these objects, charging them and giving them power...
The collection of grotesque sculptures is a manifestation of my physical and emotional struggles living with Endometriosis, a severely painful and crippling condition that 1/10 women in Malaysia suffer from.
By exposing my personal story regarding my
body, I defy the boundaries that limit conversations surrounding the female body to private spheres that are held in place by tradition and culture. These sculptures are a means to re-inhabit the social sphere with these absent bodies of women.
a collection of sound instruments coupled with a sound clip
Strands comprised of 12 sound instruments and a sound clip that was playing on loop for the entire exhibition of One Night Only, 2018.
The sound instruments were made out of a combination of found objects and human hair. The sound clip was made from the sounds recorded by the sound instruments as a means to challenge the viewer’s association between sound and material.
a collection of grotesque sculptures
(experimentation for Defective: Absent Bodies)
Throughout history, the female body has been abjected due to its bodily functions and its refusal to conform to the patriarchal system that deems it impure and lacking in propriety.
“Embracing Abjection” comprises of a collection of ambiguous, grotesque and human-like sculptures that highlight the parts of a female body that are usually kept hidden and deemed as imperfections such as the folds, bulges and bodily functions.
Instead of the abject being something that is seen as repulsive and something to distance yourself from, these sculptures act as a way to embrace the abject as a form of feminist aesthetic as a means to challenge the physical and behavioural societal constructs surrounding female ideals and the oppressive category of beautiful that defines a desirable woman as contained, orderly and devoid of imperfections. The pieces force the audience to come face to face with these organic forms that occur naturally within and on a woman’s body.
a series of video interviews (on going)
VAGINA PARTY is a series of interviews I conducted with a group of amazing women from different countries, backgrounds, cultures and age groups to have conversations on the topic of beauty ideals.
These interviews were taking place while these beautiful women's vulvas were getting molded for an upcoming project of mine. We discuss their personal stories on the topic, how the media plays a part in the sculpting of these beauty ideals, how this problem is affecting our society and how important it is for women to feel beautiful.
A big thank you to all the amazing women who joined in on this important conversation and experience and trusting me to expose themselves in such a beautiful and honest way. Will be airing an episode every other week on my site as well as my Youtube channel:
a collection of wearable scultpures and performance art videos
We've been bombarded by unrealistic beauty ideals in the media that support the notion that women are required to be hairless, almost as if we women evolved in such a way that our skin is now smooth, scarless, devoid of lumps and bumps, and god forbid... HAIR!!
I am attempting to challenge these unrealistic notions with these realistic wearable silicone sculptures of women's body parts that exaggerate this, thought of as, "disgusting" and frowned upon natural feature that comes with a woman's body. I will be experimenting with embroidery, using hair as thread on the sculptures. With these wearables, instead of removing hair, you will be putting it on, going against society's expectations and preconceptions of what a woman's body is supposed to look like.
Dedicated to the person who told me to "go for waxinglah".
chicken skin, human hair, plastic
I created iPhone covers resembling human skin out of chicken skin and human hair to reflect the inseparable relationship we have with technology and how we are all basically just flesh, metal, hair and plastic fused together playing on the idea that the more reliant we become on technology we move further and further away from being human, morphing into these hybrids of human and technology. This artwork is a literal take on how our phones have become a part of us. The ephemeral organic sculptures will decay over time mirroring how we will eventually weather away while our creations outlive us.
The piece features the artist holding a pair of scissors alarmingly close to her eye, almost touching her pupil. The artist battles with the strain on her lifted arm as she struggles to maintain the position of the scissors without harming herself. This strenuous piece conveys the heavy burden of anxiety. The piece mirrors the artist’s hidden struggle to take control over this aspect of her condition that to this day still remains a taboo subject in Malaysia that for years has taken so much from her while evoking the feeling of anxiety in the audience.
30-minute performance art piece for ONO. The performance touches on the artist's personal battle with mental illness and her 4 month experience in a psychiatric home.
performance lecture led by Zarina Muhammad
Taking place in the Institute for Contemporary Arts in Singapore, I was lucky enough to be a part of the performance lecture led by Zarina Muhammad that served as a response to Jesse Jones' "Tremble Tremble".
In 'Tremble Tremble', Irish artist Jesse Jones transforms the ICA Singapore’s largest gallery into a multimedia installation which reimagines feminist history and institutions of law. The exhibition title is inspired by the 1970s Italian ‘Wages for Housework’ campaign, during which women chanted 'Tremate, tremate, le streghe sono tornate! (Tremble, tremble, the witches have returned!)'. In 'Tremble Tremble', Jones introduces the witch as a feminist archetype and disrupter who has the potential to transform reality.