'Everything You Ever Wanted Is Right Here'
She has lived in Washington, Paris and New York, yet something keeps drawing her back home to Singapore. Having worked in advertising and studied journalism, her art-work straddles mediums like collage, photography, illustration, light and installations.
Often called the tour de force of Singapore’s local art scene, Dawn is the creator behind iconic installations like ‘I FLY LIKE PAPER GET HIGH LIKE PLANES’ and ‘WALTER’ (the larger than life bunny that was spotted around the city, and was last seen reclining in the front lawn of the Singapore Art Museum).
Her first solo exhibition titled Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here to be held at Chan Hampe Galleries from 6 September to 24 September is a tongue-in-cheek visual documentary of present day Singapore presented via large scale photographic and typography-based collages.
We chatted with Dawn about her research, her future plans, and what and why she calls home.
Tell us about the new project – Inspirations, thoughts and what should we be looking out for?
‘Everything You Ever Wanted is Right Here’ is a series of giant photographs through which text is hand-cut out of. It began as a four month project which involved both photo-journalism and interviews with locals.
I had been away for two years and I was confronted with this country's growing sense of cultural tension and coming-of-age issues when I returned. I suppose I wanted to document the bubbling sentiments beneath this country-in-the-making and tell an irreverent, pointed and honest story of home.
What kind of research did you do for it?
I conducted interviews with just about everyone from locals to foreigners, students, retirees, taxi drivers and CEOs. In spending all this time talking to them, I photographed much of their living environments and thus the everyday visual landscape of Singapore.
What did you learn from the process?
Singapore is an endlessly fascinating city to me due to the idiosyncrasies, insecurities and ambitions unique to it.
Other places you have called ‘home’, and how have they shaped your perception?
After college in Washington DC and London, I spent nearly four years living in New York then another two years in Paris during my 20s. I was such a sponge the, absorbing absolutely everything. However I never considered any of these places home no matter how much I loved them for what they were; I suppose that's what keeps me coming back to Singapore and trying to understand what it is and what it means to me.
'Que Sera Sera'
Your most personal project till date?
‘31 Kinds of Wonderful’. This was a series of 31 creative objects crafted over a period of 31 days (a month) in Paris and was shown at the Future Proof Show this year at the Singapore Art Museum. Each object was hand-made from unexpected but commonly found materials ranging from confetti, wool, paper, paint, glass, felt and flea market finds; and these formed 31 usable pieces of art. Each object was an entirely bespoke edition culminating in a sort of intimate time-capsule, a day-by-day documentation of time, thought and events in my life circa 2011.
What do you do when not working?
When you choose something like art, it's more of a way of life you commit to than a job you undertake. My work is my life and vice-versa.
What would you do if you weren’t creating art?
I refuse to consider alternatives; it only gives me an excuse at some point to pursue something other than my first instinct.
I was asked to do a solo for a gallery in Paris and New York late this year but I have been too busy with the show and the move from Paris back to Singapore and other projects. I intend to pick up where I left off next.