Ruo bamboo, ink, paper, and mixed media.
This land artwork was installed in a bamboo grove on Pulau Ubin from Jul to Aug 2015, as part of Working Title Not Working, a group exhibition reflecting on the theme of "adventure" and thoughts regarding the development of the rustic offshore island.
Accompanying seven pieces of bamboo leaves and fragments is a poem inviting the viewers to partake in a dream:
“On Duanwu day, I dreamt of being in a bamboo forest,
Where I chanced upon Madam Green Snake transforming into the seven sages;
They lamented, “Ruo bamboo for wrapping rice dumplings are plentiful,
But hardly anybody knows Qu Yuan.”
Background & Symbolism
On Duanwu festival, the Chinese consumes rice dumplings (wrapped with ruo bamboo leaves) as a commemoration to the patriot, Qu Yuan (340–278 BC).
This artwork uses ruo bamboo leaves to depict a serpent, combining another two ancient references: the Green Snake character from the legend, Madam White Snake, and the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, of the Wei Dynasty.
Common between these fantastical and historical legends, are questions raised about ideologies and dogmas, different choices made in times of change, and the seeking of respite in nature.
Through ideas that transcend geography and time, this work is not only a response to the role of Pulau Ubin to Singapore, but also a reflection of my thoughts on the transition from a Public Service career to one in the arts.