Ink. It is easy to overlook and take for granted this underwhelming object because of how common we see it in our daily lives. Few people know that ink is the world’s 8th most expensive form of liquid, more expensive than any type of alcohol or an exotic drink made from beans which have been expelled from an animal. Similar to ink, it is important for us to treasure experiences and victories in life, no matter how insignificant it may seem as it is the basis of happiness.
In my eyes, ink is the basis for creation. Great ideas are often formulated and penned down. It is quintessential for the form of expression. There are no bounds to the versatility of this object. From creatives to entrepreneurs and people alike, we can clearly see the importance of it. Have you ever caught yourself in a situation whereby you needed to take down a note or instruction but did not have a pen with you? This feeling of helplessness and worry of the potential inability to recall information can be daunting to say the least. Which is why I feel that we should better appreciate the things we have around us rather than only at times where we need it.
About a year ago, my lung collapsed on me while I was sleeping. Having never facing such an unknown pain, I did not think too much about it and continued onto my daily routine. It was only when I was having trouble walking upstairs due to my shortness of breath, did I realise something was wrong. I was admitted into the hospital for 5 days where there was pain in every breath I took, I was immobilised as there was a tube inserted into my lung cavity to drain the air (it is that scar you see near my armpit). I would lose all sensation in my arms because I was barely able to move it. However, the uncertainty of my condition was the worst feeling. Not knowing when my lungs would collapse again, not knowing if my next breath could cause another recurrence. This was undoubtedly the lowest point in my life.
Mind mapping and planning
I really wanted the ink to flow similar to how blood would.
This tattoo artist was able to mimic the textures and look of flowing ink. The technique was pioneered by Amanda Wachob and it brings out another dimension in the beauty of tattoos, as traditional tattoos have definitive lines which form the image. The viscosity of the tattoos has inspired me to create something from flowing ink.
This photographer juxtaposes images of ink on canvas with human portraits to form something surreal and emotional. I feel that this photographer is able to evoke emotions through her work.
Haw Par Villa has always been a place of interest in my heart because it is one of the few places where an individual was able to truly express himself on a large scale. Haw Par Villa was founded by Two brothers who were the founders of Tiger balm. Together, they built this sanctuary with the intention of educating the public on traditional Chinese values. This place was more vibrant in the 90’s with puppet shows and acrobatic displays. However, the high prices discouraged people and soon the site had to stop these displays. It is unfortunate that such places with such rich history and potential for insight are slowly eroding away as fewer and fewer people are able to appreciate such works of art. It is one of the few remaining places in Singapore which is not overly sensationalised and still retains the allure which it had years back. The scale of such a project left me in awe and it was difficult for me to wrap my head around it. The theme park presents an immersive environment, one that envelopes you in its world. When walk you through the entrance, you would be greeted with the sights of towering statues representing different gods and important figures in the realm of Buddhism. These include, the Buddha of fortune, the God of knowledge and the Gate keeper of hell. The figures represented in the “Gates of hell” attraction left no detail untouched. Expressions of dismay and suffering were accurately represented as these figures were impaled with spiked hammers, thrown into lava, eaten alive by devils, the list goes on. The lighting played an important role in setting the tone of the scenes which gave a chiaroscuro effect, making it incredibly dramatic.
Even in our society now, it is difficult to express yourself freely without some form of negative sentiment or doubt.
Imagine how difficult it would have been for the founder to go ahead with such a bizarre project of a theme park which also included segments of portraying the 10 levels of hell. Which I felt that it was admirable for these brothers to pursue such a project despite our conservative society, where death is often a taboo topic and not often discussed. I am also able to relate to this as I feel that generally in Singapore, I still find people who frown upon design courses or taking up the arts. These things are often regarded as a waste of time and never a substantial path to take. Therefore, I view this attraction as a reminder to continue following my passions as you would never know of the outcomes you would be able to achieve.
Above the 10 gates of hell, walking up a hill lies a tranquil place which overlooks Harbourfront. Traditional structures have been erected here surrounded by a body of water. This ascension represents life after suffering, after sinners have atoned for their sins. There are countless statues of Buddha scattered around this area along with statues of several Chinese emperors. I did not manage to get a full look around the park as it was pouring heavily.
I wanted to find a place in Singapore where people seldom talk about. Almost like a forgotten memory. The place also had to represent something significant, not just another nice place to take portraits or street photography.
There were several places I considered, which include The Singapore National Gallery, as it is a place where I often go to get inspired with the ever-changing exhibitions they host. The architecture of the Gallery is mesmerising as the two buildings have been seamlessly merged into one. The National Gallery is also an important avenue for people to express themselves, with interactive galleries such as the Children Beinelle and the Yayoi Kusama exhibition.
I wanted to capture the feelings of nostalgia in my photographs as this is one of Singapore’s oldest themed parks. These photos taken by Alexander Lim evoke similar emotions to the feeling of longing and sentiment.