[Exhibition Opening] Five Trees Make A Forest | Donna Ong


Professor Jonathan Rigg
Director, Asia Research Institute
National University of Singapore

The exhibition offers an insight into the various stages involved in the production of tropical landscapes for visual and pedagogical consumption through a dialogue between Donna Ong’s overall project which draws attention to and complicates colonial tropes of the forest, with a focus on colonial paintings and illustrations including the works of Charles Dyce from the NUS Museum’s collection.

Donna Ong refers to the “tropics” through an interpretative synthesis of scientific journals, travelogues and illustrations initiated by the colonial voyages from the 18th to 20th century. In Five Trees Make a Forest, the lithographic reproductions on display are from the artist’s personal collection of antique prints and photographic images of the tropics, acquired from her travels abroad. Within the discourse on tropical landscapes, these works expand the field of the continuing projection of the colonial view with Ong’s dialogue with the Charles Dyce collection. The collection bears 35 watercolour paintings and a 22-page handwritten manuscript that illustrates Dyce’s voyage and residence in Singapore, Malacca, Penang and Batavia in the mid-19th century English settlement.

The exhibition convenes the different modes of colonial representation in abstracting the lived tropical landscape – from its imaginings to the relations of the spectator-artist as an active agent in it.

About the artist
Donna Ong is an installation artist from Singapore, best known for her evocative and thought-provoking environments made from furniture, found objects and original artwork. She has exhibited her works locally and internationally. In 2009, Donna received the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award and the People’s Choice award for the President’s Young Talent Competition.

[Image Credit: Detail from Donng Ong, Five Trees Make A Forest, 1896, Antique original lithograph, 19.5 x 25.8cm]

  • The event description was updated. Diff#150684 2016-02-24 08:12:01
Thu Mar 10, 2016
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM SGT
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NUS Museum
[Opening] Five Trees Make a Forest (Thurs, 10 Mar, 7pm) FULL
Venue Address
50 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119279 Singapore
1. Car/taxi: By Clementi Road, first entrance from the highway. The museum is right after UCC. 2. Kent Ridge MRT: Internal Shuttle Bus D2. 3. Clementi MRT: Svc 96. 4. Kent Ridge Terminal: Svc 151.
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