Much of my work is floating in the uncharted waters of the inner narrative. Interpersonal dynamics between people and their complicated relationships within themselves lead me to a visual exploration of the human psyche. Universal themes such as love, sorrow, hope, humor, and irony are used to navigate and reflect the many facets of emotion.
In my art, I try to represent objects of beauty that each carries their own story whether the painting is figurative, still life, or landscape. This is accomplished using classical painting techniques with contemporary themes. Impressionist color theory and compositions reminiscent of the modernists are incorporated to further enhance the drama generated by the underlying strong value pattern I use.
The undercurrent of my work is an appeal to our common humanity and shared universal human values. Through my symbiotic artistic expression of two entwined cultures, I hope to reach beyond the socio-political divisions of fundamentalism and Islamophobia and motivate a positive change in the conception of ‘the other’ as culturally or spiritually impermeable. In my works, I aim to appeal to the universal soul of our human condition, that which is within each of us and that transcends time and geographical space.
Growing up in Malaysia, I was exposed at an early age to a world where there were many differences amongst people, whether it be language, race, food, religion, culture, and ideas. ‘Agree to Disagree’ is my insight into this environment demonstrating that no matter what our differences may be, we can always voice our opinions but still have respect for one another.
When others speak for me, often now with my grey beard, I find the words are not what my mind, heart, and soul wishes to communicate. Who then has the right and power to misrepresent and describe my heart to others without investigation or knowledge? How can the needy be on the same street with the wealthy and the sunlight appears to care not? Who maintains and understands this symbiotic alternative reality, some with ash and some with gold?
Utilizing primarily 19th-century ephemera, my work is all hand cut with surgeon’s scalpels and assembled with acid-free glues. Nothing is computer generated. My early background in theater – from amateur tap dancer to professional modern dancer – provided a wide range of experience in the theatrics of heightened states of being.
We tend to discard one messenger and replace it with another, thinking that we have turned a new leaf. In fact, none of our messengers go away; rather they cling to the new messengers, creating a far more complex tapestry of communication between all the beings and forces around us.
My experiences working within the medical field as a scientist in Japan, a country with many superstitions, gave me the ability to perceive the world from two contrasting perspectives. My artwork depicts my view of the world as layers and linkages of lives and events. The deceased stay with the living as a form of memory, story, knowledge, and genetic codes creating layers of rich histories that also enhance people’s lives. This installation metaphorically explores changing visual forms.
My artwork is inspired by iconic images found in folk, tribal and primitive art. The themes I choose are personal yet universal. My love for the natural world and my concern for the environment often translate into works about the complex relationship between humans and nature in this modern age.
I spent 28 years working in an abandoned farmhouse returning to my home on weekends. This image is where I had my easel by the window. On summer nights the moths would come to the light and thump against the screen as I painted.