In Living room in the Tropics, 2016
my residency studio space in NTU-CCA was turned into a living/sitting room made up of objects and artworks from invited artists and lenders.
Art works and objects were camouflaged among themselves, sofas and other items of the interior. contributions in the vein of Imported and Exported things, commenting on and continuing the tradition of these dynamics in display.

“...But 'british colonial in the tropics' is a style.. usually featuring tropical plants and animal motifs,

lush open-air landscapes....everything that caters to the sense of fantasy and escapism.

!Meanwhile tropical peoples shied away from 'tropical' style as they strived to attain modernisation because it was associated with backwardness and savagery, colonialist projections that corrected their self-image about traditional cultural aesthetics...

!it's still there, the tropical being’s self-consciousness and fears of looking 'ethnic' or 'exotic' ....”

 

 

A domestic interior is a space to feel safe; to feel at home. It is both an exoskeleton and an extension of self.
The tropical domestic interior is also a site for remnants of ‘traditional’ aesthetic expression; i.e. objects and decorations endowed or embedded with superstitious/cultural symbolism; handed- down significance that finds concrete outlets in the personal interiors of the home space and ideology of the inhabitants.

 

Within the concept of the sitting or living room, a shared social space within a dwelling functions as a display of sorts: it implies a presentation to those it is hosting. Here hang trophies of individual domestic existence- signifiers and symbols of aspirations, realities, practicalities and pretensions...

This presentation space of the domestic, with its inherent intimacy and exposure, sabotages objectivity or elevation. Its display is tempered by use.