Reflections A collaborative exhibition by Ch’ng Kiah Kiean & Ambiga Devy REFLECTIONS is a reflective interaction between the plants and trees of Paddington and Woollahra in Flower Arrangements by Ambiga Devy (Sydney, Australia) mirrored & interpreted in Modern Chinese Art by Ch’ng Kiah Kiean (Penang, Malaysia). This interactive process was done via WhatsApp conversations spanning 9 months in 2021.
This art project came about through wandering the streets of Woollahra and Paddington in Sydney, by a woman displaced from her home country and friends, trying to find a common comforting factor to start a new life in a new country.
The woman foraged branches and stems of flowers or leaves from the waysides and streets of the area, which were then arranged simplistically.
The respective plants and trees were then researched in terms of botany, as well as myths/cultural stories, creating a link in her thought processes during her journey to accept and adapt to the needs of the two countries into which she is now immersed in.
Photographs of the arrangements were taken on her breakfast table which she had brought with her from Malaysia. The only space in her tiny terrace where the sun’s rays could stream through.
Meanwhile in Malaysia, without her knowledge, her sharing of the photographs via WhatsApp images were picked up by a friend, Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, who interpreted and painted these arrangements through his practice of Chinese and Western approaches to art.
These artworks and photographs paint the journey that these two artists took.
Ch’ng Kiah Kiean
Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, is a prominent Penang Based Artist. His work explores the possibilities of his materials and tools; ink, graphite, watercolour, pencils, in order to find expressive rhythms for his art works. Influenced by both Chinese and Western approaches to art, he has created various styles of work often grouped into thematic portfolios including landscapes, streetscapes, botanics and found objects.
Over the past 20 years he has exhibited widely globally, with his work is held in private and public collections in Malaysia, Hongkong, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia and Europe.
Ambiga Devy is a pharmacist by profession who ventured into Photography, Video Production, Documentation and Training. Subsequently she also developed and worked on the Children’s and Young People’s Art Appreciation Program for the Penang State Art Gallery and Museum for a period of 8 years. She was also one of the initiators of Little Penang Street Market in Georgetown, Penang, a monthly market event promoting arts and crafts of the area, and the cultural heritage of Malaysia. She continued her journey in the art world by curating exhibitions both in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, as well as working with Pocket Sized Production in Penang.
She now anchors herself to plants and trees, and spends most of her time learning about, interpreting and telling stories on them.
Exhibition Runs: 4 - 26 Nov 2023 Saturday & Sunday 10am–5pm
Exhibition Opening Reception: 4pm Sunday, 5 Nov 2023
*Light refreshments will be served