A Woman's Place at Home: Public Art, Domestic Space, The Body, Gender, Public Art. Singapore Woman Artists
by CHEN Siyi Jocelyn
Previously, the role of woman was confined to daughter, sister, wife and mother. However, this role has since expanded to include worker, or career woman. For Singapore, what this means is that, the modern Singaporean woman spends more time at work than at home, and yet essentially has to manage both work and home.
Through looking at the home in two aspects, as a process and a space where women straddle between the public realm and domestic space, this dissertation seeks to examine how the domestic space at home, with its dynamics, tensions and potentials are expressed visually in art. More importantly, I am interested in how these visual representations are able to inform us about the changing roles of women and how the fixed spaces of home may be negotiated, contested or altered to give women agency.
Although no two experiences are the same, women artists are chosen to be the subject matter as their artworks, both as process and end product have poignantly highlighted the issues women face at large. Also, I have selected artists whose work finds root or speak of ideas about home and domesticity.
The three Singapore women artists chosen are Amanda Heng, Noni Kaur and Donna Ong. By examining the thematic elements in their artworks (the everyday, the importance of ritual and the significance of dreams respectively), as well as correspondingly analyzing the artworks as parallel attempts in architectural representation (the collage, the mandala, the diorama); new connections of space, meanings and identities unfold.