While we anticipate the reopening of the borders, many galleries and local attractions have put forth a plethora of activities for us to satiate our inquisitive minds. Featuring six different local artists: Kray Chen, Zulkifle Mahmod, Donna Ong, Ong Si Hui, Sim Chi Yin and Ian Woo, “The Lie of the Land” by FOST Gallery is one of the many rousing exhibitions. To be cognisant of the assignment – the lie of the land – these artists conducted surveys and made assessments both physical and metaphysical before giving birth to their exhibits.

Sim Chi Yin’s Shifting Sands

It has been almost two centuries since Singapore’s first land reclamation exercise was carried out. Since then, trade continues to be Singapore’s raison d’etre. As an homage to our largest industry and heritage, Sim Chi Yin documented the reclamation project of the new container port at Tuas. Selected photographs in her series showcase her finesse in perspective photography; the construction site becomes a textured abstract in one image and a graphic grid in another; divorced from the grit and dust of the massive effort below. 

Ong Si Hui’s Geometric Bianco Carrara Marble Sculptures

The earth proffers more than meets the eye. Our innate curiosity has propelled us to uncover new ways to utilise the natural gifts of the planet.

Be it to extend our coastlines or adorned ourselves with precious stones, the world is our oyster as long as you let your creative and imaginative mind run freely. Visual artist and trained sculptor Ong Si Hui did just that. As a stone pundit, the artisan presented her meticulously carved marble sculptures, with each resting on specific points of their structures. Precarious but in balance and stillness; they are both apropos and antithetic to the current social and cultural upheaval. 

Donna Ong’s My Forest Has No Name

Singapore aims to be the world’s greenest city. However, urban and landscape planning takes precedence and are of paramount importance in policy-making. Though many have replicated nature through ersatz and artificially constructed landscapes, nothing beats the real deal. Through the lens of Donna, the convincing photographs of man-made gushing waterfalls and forests – snapped from our Singapore Zoo and Botanic Gardens – give us a foretaste of our potentially greener future.

Kray Chen’s A Parade for the Paraders

This moving picture sees the former Singapore Armed Forces military band members playing in a decommissioned school building. Hinting not just at nostalgia – as these members first established their careers in school – but also at the continual development and repurposing of buildings in Singapore. Aptly published as well, since military displays are integral to the annual National Day celebrations, postponed this year in light of the heightened alert. 

Zulkifle Mahmod’s No Substance

Now more than ever, offices are mostly empty due to the work-from-home mandates. Sound artist and maven Zulkifle Mahmod replicated the emptiness and the lack of substance through a sound installation dubbed No Substance (Trunk). Renowned for his inter-disciplinary approach and experimental edge, the sound construction employs what seems like scientific tools, and it creates a tinkering sound that pings more hollow progressively. 

Ian Woo’s Flag-installation

Following Mahmod’s work, Ian Woo’s Flag-installation painted on thick plywood structures with a sloping surface emulate the fluttering flags and buntings on the empty streets; dynamic yet steadfast. 

As the global catastrophe continues to evolve, FOST Gallery welcomes members of the public to relish and support the works of these local talents. The complimentary exhibition is ongoing until 17 October 2021 at FOST Gallery. 

written by.
Amos Chin
Fashion and beauty aficionado by day; idiosyncratic (i think) Spotify Playlist Curator by night. Knows a thing or two about tattoos.

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