Angeline Simon

October 23, 2023 - February 4, 2024

Angeline Simon’s artistic practice considers her family’s diasporic experience, and the capacity of food and other everyday items to serve as conduits to her ancestral past. In this new site-specific installation, Simon layers together large-scale photo-collage with a collection of hand-built ceramics that reference foods shared with her maternal family while on summer trips to Malaysia – plates heaped with fiddleheads or skewers of beef satay, a gleaming cross-section of durian, or a batch of pineapple tarts.

These ceramic sculptures offer glimmers of insight into the artist’s childhood, the specificity of her familial traditions, and, more broadly, the significance of food and shared meals within Chinese-Malaysian culture. At the same time, the sculptures evoke larger histories of colonialism, capitalism, and the circulation of consumer goods. For instance, a Ribena juice box – a British soft drink that has been popularized across Asia – gestures toward histories of British colonialism in Malaysia, and the reverberation of colonial legacies within Simon’s family.

Behind the ceramics is a large photographic mural of Simon’s grandmother’s kitchen in Kuching, Malaysia. Within this mural, Simon has digitally collaged material fragments from older family photos. Akin to a still life painting, the everyday objects visible in the photo collage are at once unremarkable yet laden with meaning, speaking to years of use, countless shared meals, and the carework inherent to preparing food.

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