The thrid of four featured interviews covering different aedge 2018 artists, this post will reveal more insights into Angie’s thoughts and processes whilst making Memories.

 

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Artist’s Write-up

“Life brings tears, smiles, and memories. The tears dry, the smiles fade, but the memories last forever.”

Memories.

Bad memories,

deep dark corner.

To be forgotten.

Good memories,

Shared around. And multiplied?

What are your memories?

Would you like to share them with me?

Memories are essential to our lives. There are some memories that we cherish deeply, reminiscing them countless times, while others that we reject, hoping not to be reminded of them again.

In this installation, the memories along an educator’s journey are encapsulated in each bottle. Each bottle represents an individual, each containing its own reflection. Uncapped bottles are memories which the educator hopes to release. Capped memories are to be treasured and hopefully not forgotten.

6 March 2018 Aedge-080

Question & Answer

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Q: How did you come to deciding on the best object to represent memories? What was the process like?

A: My work was inspired by several things which I have experienced and left a deep impression on me. One of which is a collaborative installation by my Lasalle tutor, local artist, Mr. Steve Chua. He showcased an installation with bottles containing local edible plants to illustrate how we should conserve them and find good uses in them. I thought that it was quite inspiring to see the collection of plants which are native to us and which we are not aware of.

My next inspiration was from the movie “Inside Out”. This movie features a personification of the main protagonist’s 5 basic emotions; Joy Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. The story describes how at the end of each day, the memories captured in an orb, are stored in the brain’s headquarters.

I realised that I have collected many memories through the years as an educator. As I recall them, some memories are heart–warming and bring a smile to me. Some memories are embarrassing and regretful and I hope to forget them.

By putting a memory and storing them in a bottle, I have captured something which is intangible into something which is tangible. It highlights something which we will usually overlook amidst our busy lives.

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Q: Were there times when you had too many ideas to carry out? How did you then choose what to focus on?

A: Yes. Definitely, I would like a wider audience to be able to relate to my work and understand the message in my work. This work will not be successful without the contribution and input of fellow teachers and I would like fellow teachers to interact with the work, pick up the bottles, look at the memories of the other teachers and relate to it.

Collection of the bottles was rather challenging as it takes time for the teachers to recall their memories and write them down for me. Later on, I decided to get the teachers to put in items which hold special memories for them or items which have a story to tell. Sometimes, little objects hold more meaning than written words.

There were times which I thought transparent bottles would be better than the brown bottles. Since memories are sometimes not as vivid and at times need our extrapolation to confirm details, the brown bottle would be appropriate to create the effect of uncertainty in our memory. “So was it like this? Or like that? Did I remember it correctly?”

If possible, I would like to extend my collection to a wider collection of memories from teachers, perhaps teachers from other schools, regions or country, display them separately and see how similar or different memories from each teachers can be.

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Q: What did you discover about yourself through the making of memories?

A: I have learnt to be more reflective. Through the number of idea sketches and layout samples I had to prepare, I was forced to explore ways of displaying the bottles. To generate more ideas, I have shared my ideas with other artists and like-minded friends and through the discussions, connected with them in their artistic explorations. I am grateful to the teachers who have contributed a special part of their memory to my installation and contributed in small ways to make my installation a success. I guess as a teacher-artist, these connections we have with fellow artists, teacher- artists, like-minded friends or even strangers whom we share a connection with, are how we get the motivation to continue to hone our craft.

The work also relates to me at a more personal level, in which I would like to treasure memories of loved ones who have passed on in the recent years and hope that the memories of them will be vivid and clear whenever I think about them and recall the things we did together and conversations we had. People may say that time will wash away the pain. For me, I would like to keep the memories, and treasure every moment we had even if it pains me to recall.

I always wondered if I would be able to ‘capture’ the memories I have in a capsule so that the future generations will be able to view them. Of course, this would only exist in sci-fi movie. I thought viewing them would be much better than having the visions in our heads.

In this sense, yes, I do treasure kinships and friendship very much and this installation can be re-interpreted as a way of asking if we have truly reflected on our relationships with people and sincerely treated them as a person whose memories we want to keep in a capsule. Which are the memories worth keeping and treasuring?

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Q: What do you hope the audience will walk away with after viewing your work?

A: I hope the audience will have a better understanding of the feelings we encounter as a teacher, the kind of emotion and attachment, heart and soul we put into our job in shaping the next generation. This job requires us to use our hearts, have empathy and patience among many other qualities of a teacher and these are the qualities which make us unique and shape us in how we relate to people around.

At the same time, I would like the viewers to reflect upon and think about their own job or life. What are the memories we would hope to keep and which memories we would prefer to discard.  Some memories are unpleasant, but we might not want to forget or discard, for the sake of remembering and recalling the experiences and learning from them.

Artist: Angie Dai Huiling
Posted in Art

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