stunning allegories with outright painterly poetic resistances
There is a lot of play going on in the paintings, but little pretense in the life of the artist that created them. The family is almost religiously depicted, drawing similarities to the Medieval paintings from Europe, and Rene Margritte’s style and surrealistic themes. The centre of the paintings, oscillate between subtle statements, suggestions, allegories of the family, and the Malaysian state. The two are congruous. The concept of the state, is not too far of from the concept of the family: in the chinese words for country, 国家 （guojia) it means nation-family, nation as family. The other reference between nation-state and family, is our common reference to the latter as the motherland, and the title puns on this too, referring to the political manoeuvres so often mentioned in the Malaysian news (http://themalaysianinsider.com/). In some paintings, such as the Castle Cake (2007), Mad Tea Party (2007) the political references to the nation-state are stronger. As curator Cecily Cheo puts it, the artists ‘weaves oblique political messages into a visual tapestry rich in fantasy and whimsy’, forming a ‘poetic resistance’ in reaction against Malaysia’s turbulent political cross-fires and allegations, against the backdrop of world-wide oil price crisis and the government’s reactive measures.
The exhibition is worth the trip, to the near end of the Singapore island, as it features a vast collection of the artist’s works, showing her growth, and rich symbolism centred around what matters most to her.
8.0 of 10 stars
|Motherhood Games by Shia Yih Yiing|
pictures with the kind permission of the curator
The Art Gallery
The National Institute of Education, Singapore
12 August – 12 September 2008
Malaysian National Day: August 31, 2008
Nanyang Technological University,