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Ben Puah

Self Portrait (For a Better Tomorrow)

“Self-portrait, is in my view quintessential for how an artist views the world.
The artist captures the world around him and shows us how he views the world.”
(adapted from a quote by writer Joel Tjintjelaar) 

During my trip to China, I saw this quotation in chinese “今天的麻烦是为了明天的方便” (meaning: inconveniences today, for a better tomorrow) on a hoarding at a construction site for the new subway system. I thought that the quote is offered an interesting guideline to how to live my life, which is still relevant today. Obstacles in life may sometimes be a blessing. We should always look forward to a better tomorrow.

In this painting, there is a wok-like form that also evokes the form of a sampan boat. It speaks to me on survival, livelihood and remembering our ancestors arriving in Singapore by boat in search of a better life and how they had to overcome the hardships life threw at them.

Self-portrait, is in my view quintessential for how an artist views the world.

And during this difficult time of this pandemic, I must have been learning to adapt to changes around and becoming more at ease with the ever-changing circumstances in my life – as this will influence my happiness, sense of stress or well-being.

The deconstructed figure expresses how I am in the process of adapting and reinventing myself in this New Normal to become a happier and better version of me from the inside out.


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