Celebrating the migration of my ancestors
In the business of everyday we are often most concerned with what we have to do, what we want to become, where we need to be and catching up with what’s on social media. Something that I appreciate about being an artist is time to reflect and put in context the world around us. You don’t have to be a visual artist to do this, but it’s one way. Having recently exhibited in Malaysia on the tropical island of Penang I arrived to the visual feast of the night of the hungry ghost. Its curious to me that having visited Malaysia a lot, I often seem to be there that month, and become absorbed by the rich altars and marquees set out for the ghosts. There is an absent presence in these places adorned by the giant sized burning incense and flickering candles. Entering these, sometimes veiled, spaces I cannot help but think of those who have gone before.
Unlike the focus of the hungry ghost festival my thoughts turn to my own ancestoral heritage knowing that my paternal grandfather left China a Buddhist before he converted to Christianity whilst living in Malaysia where he migrated to. Methodist Churches in Malaysia, that my paternal grandparents frequented, look very much like those in Britain down to the brass flower holders on the end of the pews. On the contrary the Night of the Hungry Ghost festival street opera stages, shrines and altars are quite unlike scenes in Britain. This is especially as there are often several fires burning along street curbs day and night. Coming home consumed by these sights I was inspired to create new paintings:
and ‘The Presence of our ancestors’ paying homage to my ancestoral heritage over lifetimes recognising what I carry in my DNA is very different to what surrounds me in everyday life in England which is also my heritage. The paintings are now on show as part of the 7 women create exhibtion on at the Art House, Sheffield S1 4FU until November 11th 2017.
exhibition at The Art House, Backfields, Sheffield S1 4FU until November 11th 2017 which includes some lovely work by fellow women artists.