Entering into Singaporean artist Donna Ong’s ‘My Forest Has No Name’ is to enter into a world of fantasy and imagination. Ong questions the discrepancy between representation and reality, by tracing the way that the forest is portrayed from the period of Singapore’s colonisation through to the present day. She does this through a variety of mediums: photographs, antique prints, ready-mades, and text alongside original work. ‘My Forest has No Name’ presents a survey of different perspectives on the forest, and the opinions of its ecological, political, social and economic significance.
The tropical forest is a source of inspiration and fascination for Ong, who poured over books such as The Jungle Book and The Faraway Tree as a child. In the same way, the artist wants the viewer to be immersed in the romantic exoticism of a fantastical forest, but to question the existence of such an environment and to re-look at the Orientalist tendencies of the West during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Upon entering the exhibition, one is greeted by an installation of plastic plants and almost kitschy animal figurines, intermittently littered with light box dioramas that Ong is so famous for. As the viewer, we almost believe that this place could be real, but the shine of the plastic leaves and the empty expression of a growling tiger reminds us that it is just an illusion.
Donna Ong’s solo exhibition, ‘My Forest Has No Name’ is on till 28 February 2016 at FOST Gallery, 1 Lock Road, #01-02, Gillman Barracks Singapore 108932. Open Tues-Sat 11am – 7pm, Sun 11am – 6pm. Click here for more details.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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