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About The Artist
Yaya Sung (b. 1986) is a multidisciplinary artist working and living in Jakarta. She has a fond interest in identity and human rights issues which translated into her works in different mediums including photography, image/photo-based installation, videography, performance, text and design installation. Her work is intimately linked to her identity, nonetheless her art also deals with issues relevant to women living in this generation, exploring ideas of the role of women in family and society. As Chinese Indonesian, Yaya is determined to use fear and trauma as an entry point to understand her identity and the meaning of her existence.

Yaya has presented her works in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. She has recently shown at RMIT University Melbourne, Taipei Cultural Foundation, Bus Projects Melbourne, Rubanah Underground Hub Jakarta, National Gallery of Indonesia, Monash Art Design and Architecture Melbourne and 2019 Indonesian Contemporary Art and Design (ICAD), and ArtJog: Resilience, in Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta. Yaya graduated from the Art and Design pre-master programme course in Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts in the United Kingdom and Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication and Design from University of Pelita Harapan Jakarta.

Birth is Burden, Sleep is Privilege, Death is New Fear | 2020
By Yaya Sung
Mixed Media Photography on Lightbox Installation | AP | 87cm x 68cm

Borderline Engagement is a series created during the 2020 pandemic, a body of work that explores text-based series that combines handwritings, scanned images, objects that are home, and in everyday use such as packaging of baby’s food or medicine, flowers, and pieces of cloth. Some texts are questions (Who Knew Motherhood Rhymes with Loneliness. 2020), statements (Elect More Nurturers, 2020), and manifestos (A Scenario, 2020) that arise naturally since having to balance between being an artist and a mother. Medium for this series are prints on hahnemuhle paper, lightbox installation, and text on canvas.

In the lightbox ones (“Birth is Burden, Sleep is Privilege, Death is the New Fear”, “Self (Us)olation 2020”, “Talking About Motherhood is Political”), Yaya juxtaposes doodles and splashes of paint created with her daughter during the day with portraits of them together and flowers found on the house. The purpose of using lightbox is an attempt to depict how Yaya feels the only time she can thrive and express herself during night time, while everyone in the house is asleep.

Borderline Engagement series engages with Yaya Sung’s experience of being a mother juggling with domestic responsibilities while maintaining her artistic practice in the middle of pandemic. It is Sung’s first time discussing such a personal experience in her research driven practice. The texts voice sentiments of loneliness, exhaustion, hopes and wishes. They express struggles, with love and frustration at the same time, often contradictory and engulfed with guilt.

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