• Issue
  • Nov 01, 2022

Up Close: Chang Yoong Chia

Installation view of CHANG YOONG CHIA’A Leaf Through History: Family Tree, 2022, batik on cloth with wooden rod attached to rubber tapper’s knives, 440 × 540 × 90 cm, at Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 2022. Courtesy the artist and Teoh Ming Wah.

A Leaf Through History: Family Tree (2022) by Chang Yoong Chia comprises 28 batik paintings, mounted in four rows of seven. It seems to adapt the structural conventions of an altarpiece, showing “crucifixions” with a story of a Passion and transfiguration, but not of the Christ. Twenty-four of the panels depict human bodies emerging from tree trunks, arms growing into branches; the trees are rubber trees, and their sap is collected in cups by the male, female, androgyne, old, young bodies in different colored skins as they toil, suffer, cling together, bear new life. Death appears in different cultural representations.

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