A Botanical and Wildlife Survey - Singapore Biennale 2013/2014 (If the World Change) at Peranakan Museum

As Singapore continues to grow in population, urban life and modern living is expected to encroach into the natural environment, drastically changing and obliterating the liveable areas for animals, wildlife, insects, flora and fauna. In Singapore, many things are constantly in a state of flux, this is especially so for the usage of land and how they can easily be transformed from a natural landscape into a cemetery, or a cemetery into an expressway, or a rainforest into an entertainment hub. With land scarcity a threat to our desire to modernise, I would like to imagine what would happen if places that we have today are gone tomorrow? What would be missed? Or would they be missed at all? Because such changes take place all the time, we had become a society of people who are nonchalant about the loss or are easily apathetic about it. Through documenting the current living species that we have in our limited natural reserves and parks, this project questions our attitudes towards our natural habitats and wildlife, how their existence or the lack thereof speaks about the history and memory of our land, and thereby also addresses the delicate balance between the natural and the constructed landscape.

 

For this project, I worked with about 120 students from 5 secondary schools in Singapore. We went on field trips and sketched and drew during the session. During our workshops in the classrooms, they were asked to draw an image of a species found and observed during the field trip which would then be hand-painted onto porcelain plates. The installation took on an archival format, whereby the room was filled with shelves and tables that showcase the porcelain plates that have the images of the documented species of insects or plants that exist in our landscape presently, together with a collection of journal entries, sketches and photographs taken by the students. Each entry of plate and the accompanying notes/sketches/photos will be labelled to show the thought processes and expedition that each student had undertaken.

Click here for essay written by Dr. Peter Hill about the Singapore Biennale 2013: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a37f590d7bdcea6d1846926/t/5a5f5fc371c10bedb01d8d50/1516199887392/Singapore.pdf

 © 2019 by Hazel Lim

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