Fiona Tan's exploration into cultural and personal identity

Fiona Tan's complex background has continuous influence on her art which is persistingly film and video installations. Born in Indonesia and raised in Australia, she is the daughter of a Chinese-Indonesian father and a Scottish-Australian mother. Tan is now based in Amsterdam, the capital of the Dutch empire that colonized Indonesia for almost three hundred years. The complex history of her identity and the remnants of the colonial past are important factors in her work. The film "News from the Near Future" is a single-screen, 9:30 minutes film created from fragments of old footage from the archives of the Film museum in Amsterdam. In the film, there is a scene of a flooded Dutch town with people punting up the street, which easily reminds us of the horrendous tsunami hitting Sumatra and South Asia in 2004. Tan's newly commissioned work by AGYU are aged portraits of young Asian females displayed on flat LCD monitors. There is a sound element added to this work - would it be just a narrative, or a fabricated history of the artist by the artist herself?

Fiona Tan Solo exhibition
Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, Canada
January - March 2006

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