1. Eucalyptus, 2021, Digital photograph 2. Corymbia ficifolia, 2021, Digital photograph 3. Red Bottlebrush (Melaleuca citrina), 2021, Digital photograph

Ambi Devy

A reflective interaction between the plants and trees of Paddington and Woollahra in flower arrangements by Ambiga Devy (Sydney, Australia) mirrored/interpreted in Modern Chinese Art by Ch’ng Kiah Kiean (Penang, Malaysia), done via a WhatsApp conversation spanning 9 months. 

An art project that came about through the wanderings of the streets of Woollahra and Paddington in Sydney, by a woman displaced from her home country and friends trying to find a common, comforting factor to start a new life in a new country. This was reflected in the foraging of just 3 branches/stems of flowers or leaves from the waysides and streets of the area, which were then arranged simplistically. The plant/tree was then researched in terms of botany and myths/cultural stories and this would create a link in her thought processes during her journey to accept and adapt to the needs of the two countries into which she is now immersed in.

Photographs of the arrangements were taken on her breakfast table which she had brought with her from Malaysia, in the only position in her tiny terrace where the sun’s rays could stream through. Meanwhile, without her knowledge, in Malaysia, the WhatsApp images were picked up by a friend, Ch’ng Kiah Kiean, who interpreted and painted them using a Chinese and Western approach to art. These artworks and photographs paint the journey that these two artists took.

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