DETAIL: Clockwork Moon (the cocoon of the present)
Ink and incense-burned drawing on Korean paper, embroidery hoops, light, 2017
Commissioned by Singapore Art Museum, 2017.
This piece was created in response to the NUH community or NUH ‘kampong’ as the children refer to it. A truly supportive community family for children, teens and young adults who have chronic illness.
Their experience of time is often that one can only deal with today - living life in the moment because there is no point worrying about tomorrow today. Many have shared that they cannot look to the future because relapse is a constant worry, and that they battle not only with pain, but also frustration, anger and depression.
One young lady admitted that making future plans feels like testing fate, so her mind just sees a blank when she looks forward. Her family has stopped having expectations of her grades, and while she knows they have done this out of kindness, this cocoon of protection in which she is kept safe can also be a limiting boundary. Her family and friends have been a constant support however and helped her get through difficult times. Now she is in recovery and like many of the young adults who have been through such difficulties, she has gained a maturity and wisdom. As life can be challenging without long term goals or a vision of where it is going, she breaks time into smaller components so that looking forward to the end of the day and starting to think of tomorrow is the equivalent to most of us imagining next year. For those like her who have had treatments which affected their visual appearance or made their hair fall out, this physical transformation seemed to be something that others responded or reacted to, in both good and bad ways. Some patients chose to hide it under a hat, and others felt that they wanted to hold their heads up high.