My work is based on childhood memories that feel very distant to me now. Growing up in England, Brunei and the US, I felt no ties to a specific place and often struggled with defining what, to me, was my home. As a child with an affinity for art, I was often faced with the task of creating a self-portrait at school. This proved to be difficult for me, as I was interested in capturing my character and identity in addition to my physical appearance. I started creating self-portraits in my free time, but how I depicted myself conformed to the culture that I was in at the time. The self-portrait was both an important way to try and find myself, and something that highlighted my confusion. Given that we cannot be isolated from our past and upbringing, my new work serves as a mature self-portrait and self-understanding.
The older I get, the harder it is to recall experiences exactly as they were; instead, I remember arbitrary details - articles of clothing, scenery, colors, patterns - that take me back to a certain time and place. The work is painted using both watercolors and oils.
The old adage that oil and water don’t mix has been full of meaning for me as I try to overcome the initial constraints of these media, exploring ways in which they enhance and compliment each other. They serve as a metaphor for my understanding and appreciation of the three cultures that shape who I am.
This work aims to represent the difficulty of retaining and understanding memories, of separating fact from invention. Though I used my own experience as a point of departure, I hope that these paintings transcend the ambiguous yearning to remember, and in some cases, relive, one’s childhood in more depth and detail.