Artist Dawn Ng Unpacks Nomadic Lifestyle

Singapore artist Dawn Ng has spent the last decade dividing her life between Singapore, New York, London, and Paris. Her nomadic lifestyle has involved packing and unpacking numerous boxes and this is the inspiration behind her latest installation “SIXTEEN,” at Chan Hampe Galleries booth at Art Basel in Hong Kong.

An installation of 16 wooden chests in bright colors that line the circumference of the booth, ranging in size and like Russian dolls, they could all fit into one another. Each of is labeled both outside and inside with an engraved plaque to engage the viewers with the work. Some of the messages are whimsical or candid, while others are a little more philosophical, “If you open this box it will change your life forever.”

“I have packed my life into boxes one too many times to keep track. A box is like a magician’s hat. An entire apartment can disappear into nearly sixteen of them and then reappear in another place. Packing and unpacking boxes are processes freckled with every inflection of emotion. Surprise, joy, sadness, loneliness, excitement, nostalgia, loss, and hope are scattered across objects to be put away and rediscovered some time later among my generation of world citizens, who belong everywhere and nowhere at all,” the artist said.

Much of Ng's work is rooted in dislocation and location, as well as a feelings of "missing” or “remembering.” Her installations, such as “I Fly Like Paper Get High Like Planes” in 2009 and “30 Kinds of Wonderful” often incorporate the whimsical to reflect on personal experiences