The Botany of Desire
I’m interested in the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens because it reminds me of a past I share with India.
Based on England’s Kew Gardens, Lalbagh, to me, represents the foregone era of British colonialism. Plants from all over the world were brought in and if profitable, introduced to other reaches of the British Empire. Perhaps a tree I saw in my own country is a descendent from Lalbagh. Perhaps I had climbed this tree, ate its fruit, or wore something made out of it.
This work is a playful attempt to find connections with my past. By using leaves I found in Lalbagh, I made a work that resemble shadow puppets (which, of course, originated from India but is a widespread art form in Southeast Asia.) and created a melodramatic story from stereotypical ideas about India, from bits and pieces of Tamil and Hindi movies I see throughout my life and observations during my walks in Lalbagh.
This works is unfinished and it is intentionally so. This is because I want to complete this work in Malaysia, thus, literally and symbolically bringing parts of Lalbagh to Malaysia, which I imagined was what the British did an era ago.
by Chang Yoong Chia
sound by Teoh Ming Wah
Chang Yoong Chia (b.1975, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Lives and works in Kuala Lumpur. Since graduating from the Malaysian Institute of Art in 1996, he has been exhibiting both in Malaysia and internationally. Although trained as a painter, Chang also uses different kinds of media in the making of his artworks.
Notable exhibitions include Signature Art Prize Finalist Exhibition in Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2011), the 14th Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh (2010), Domestic Bliss at Sculpture Square, Singapore (2007), The 3rd Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale in Fukuoka, Japan (2005), Malaysian Art Now at the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2005), Khoj International Artist Workshop in Mysore, India (2002) and his solo exhibitions Safe House: Flora & Fauna III at Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur (2008) which he collaborated with Teoh Ming Wah, The 2nd Seven Years: Quilt of the Dead, Flora & Fauna IV, Narratives at The Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which was co-organized by Valentine Willie Fine Art & Japan Foundation, K.L (2009) and The World is Flat at Richard Koh Fine Art, Singapore (2011)
He has also participated in artist residencies including Japan Foundation’s JENESYS Program in which he was hosted by S-Air in Sapporo, Japan (2008), Art as Environment in Tropic of Cancer artist-in-residence in Chiayi county,Taiwan (2007), Ujiae Art Studio in Gwangju, Korea (2007), Rimbun Dahan Artist Residency in Kuang, Malaysia (2006)