A Grocer's Essentials, 2020
Archival pigment print on aluminium composite panel
118.9 x 78.9 cm
We are experiencing a dark and extraordinary period in our lives that everyone has had to go through in the past several months. The ongoing deadly COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world like a roller coaster, and even today, we must follow the official health guidelines strictly and cautiously in order to stay safe.
While the unexpected long ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, introduced in Singapore to minimize further spread of the virus, casted a looming shadow of eternal gloom, this pandemic has also served as a turning point to rethink my art-making process.
A Grocer’s Essentials and Watermelon Poppies are series of work created during the stay home period and express where my heart and mind was while concentrating on my art practice in isolation. When images of emptied shelves in grocery stores circulated on social media, I began to draw up a list of essential items. What initially was a shopping list turned out to be an unlikely source of inspiration. For example, Clorox disinfecting wipes canisters became part of my visual fodder. The product, which is made from non-woven polypropylene, a plastic that is also used in personal protective equipment such as face masks was reported by NBC News to be in short supply in the US and “were one of the first things to disappear in stores as the pandemic took hold, along with toilet paper and paper towels.”
Reflecting on the current crisis and its resulting consequences and restrictions on our daily life, the works are also a personal response to questions of “Life and Death”. How do our lives take shape in a global pandemic? How has the virus sabotaged and interrupted production of supplies that are marked essential to our existences?