“Since I was a child attending the Ching Ming Festival, I knew that my grandfather’s portrait on his gravestone was wrong. I later learnt that his tomb was empty. All we knew about him was that he left his family and ‘entered the jungle’ to fight the British. We call him a ‘jungle person’ — San-ba lou, a Cantonese term used to describe the communist guerrillas. As a member of the MCP, he likely died at the hands of the British colonial forces. And without a photograph, nor records of the man, we may never know whose portrait is on the tombstone.”
Portrait of the Jungle People explores both the artist’s family history and the family ‘rhizome’ to honour the offshoots who can neither be traced nor mapped through a series of fragmented narratives and post-memories. The art combines neural networks with language processing models to generate images from text.
*The making of these films were made possible through a production grant by ILHAM Gallery as part of its inaugural ILHAM Art Show, a triennial exhibition platform initiated to give artists in Malaysia the opportunity to experiment and make new work. The ILHAM Art Show 2022 is currently on at ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur until 23 October 2022