Hannah Lim

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My work evolves largely in response to my cultural identity and experience. As a person of mixed Singaporean and British heritage both my research and practice has come to engage with the colonial connotations of the relationship between the East and the West. These connotations are most evident in themes such as Orientalism and its relationship to the Chinoiserie in which elements of Chinese design were recreated in relation to European aesthetics and tastes. My practice touches upon this collision of cultures, both on a personal and political level.

Recently I have been creating peculiar, somewhat furniture-like structures. These pieces combine motifs and imagery from both Chinese and European furniture design. In doing so I attempt to re-imagine and reclaim ideas and designs associated with the Chinoiserie, which have in the past had problematic colonial undertones. Cultural designs are shared as opposed to appropriated, it is no longer about one culture being moulded to the demands of another.

Whilst these themes form the foundation of my practice they don’t control how or what I make, their occurrence in my work fluctuates: sometimes having more presence, sometimes less. I like that the objects that I create can be somewhat playful. In a series of more recent works I have chosen to incorporate slightly anthropomorphic qualities into the furniture structures, this development I think helps to prevent the objects from becoming too static or fixed, rather the sprawling table legs and tentacle-like chair arms seem to portray these objects as having a life of their own.

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