San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
NOTES ON PENANG
A site-specific art installation by Alan Oei
“There is a shophouse. It is empty, but it breathes still, neither as hotel nor cafe. Here, it stands for so much more.
The shophouse is the architecture of colonialism (but don’t forget the roads, grids, clerks, botanists and gunpowder). Out there lay the jungle. Within, limestone walls provide shelter. Without, the shophouse is photograph-able. Without this, without street art, there is no Penang really.
I think about an old photograph. Straits Settlement. Two European girls in baju kurung. Bare feet in a clump of withered grass upon the cold stone of the studio. The backdrop is decidedly European — trimmed gardens and gentle waves.
Where is the vastness and terror of Malaya? The early explorers wrote about cannibals, tigers, monsoons and man-eating flowers. Where is the swelter of the never-goes-away sun, for which the shophouse stands against?
I am searching for Penang.”
6:15pm- Registration @Sekeping Victoria
6:30pm- Preview of notes on Penang
7:30pm- Artist Talk
7:50pm:- Q&A with Alan Oei
8pm - End
*This art installation is an alternative experience of the shophouse through its history, texture, light and dark.
ALAN OEI (b.1976, Singapore) is an artist-curator interested in the workings between art history, politics and community. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Columbia University and a Diploma in Fine Arts from LASALLE College of the Arts. Huang Wei, a fictional post-war painter of maimed children, is the alter-ego Oei uses to present his paintings. His work has been shown in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Melbourne and New York. Aside from this, Oei’s curatorial projects include the OH! Open House, an annual art walkabout inside local neighbourhoods and residences. Currently, he is also Artistic Director of Singapore’s Sculpture Square. He lives and works in Singapore.