Teacher-artist: Cheak Yen Hui
Regent Secondary School

Q: Could you please introduce yourself?

I am Cheak Yen Hui, a recent graduate of Glasgow School of Art and currently an Art Teacher at Regent Secondary School. In my art practice, I am very interested in the way we remember, what we remember and how we remember. 

Q: Could you tell us more about your artwork? 

I am primarily inspired by how objects and images bear testament to personal and collective experiences, emotions and memories. In my work, I hope to resurface these relational aspects for reconsideration, contemplation, commemoration. My mediums used are kept to the most basic or minimal to allow the image or object to hold primary essence in the work. I am also interested in working with perishable, fragile or impermanent materials such as paper, cardboard, unfired clay that hold similar qualities to one’s memory or memories. 

Q: Are there any personal stories behind your artwork? 

Not any in particular. I am more interested in shared stories like events we find familiar. The experience with tactile and mnemonic objects  along with the emotions, memories attached to them is what I want to highlight through my artwork. However, to do this, I look towards my personal experience, drawing from the collection of photos taken by my father during my childhood.  These include birthdays, a common shirt, a favourite sofa, and sand toys whose shape, colour and form I remember.

Q: How do you see your work linking with the theme for a x edge 2021?

I see X as a destination, a point of reference, or a relic of memory that my work points towards. While memories bring back tender moments, feelings, emotions and experiences, I would also like my audience to consider how memories are captured, kept, remembered, and re-remembered. 

Hence, I would like to leave the audience a quote from Annette Kuhn to think about.

Memories promised by family photographs are characterized by held off closure – happy beginnings, happy middles and no endings to all family stories…The promises point toward the future: what our memories, our stories will be… They will be shared and they will be happy – the tone of seduction is quite imperious… we will make our memories, capture all those moments we will someday want to treasure, call to mind, tell stories about.

The promise is of a brighter future… nostalgia-in-prospect, always hooks into, seeks to produce, desires hinging on a particular kind of story – a family story with its own forms of plenitude…

Annette Kuhn, “She will always be your little girl” in Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination (London: Verso, 2002), p. 23

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