162 x 123 cm Lambda C-type print, edition of 5
80 x 60 cm Lambda C-type print, edition of 10
Exert from Wikipedia
“Originally part of the Malay sultanate of Kedah, Penang was ceded to the British East India Company in 1786 by the Sultan of Kedah, in exchange for military protection from Siamese and Burmese armies who were threatening Kedah…….
Under Colonial rule the island flourished attracting people from far and wide, making Penang truly a melting pot of diverse cultures. Apart from the Malays, Chinese and Indians, there were communities of Armenians, Jews, Siamese, Burmese, Germans, Swiss, Arabs, Achehnese and other Sumatrans. Though many of them no longer impose a presence today, their memory lives on in place names like Burma Road, Rangoon Road, Siam Road, Armenian Street, Acheen Street, Gottlieb Road, Katz Street and the Jewish Cemetery, to name a few.”
The island was referred to as “Bīnláng Xù” in the navigational drawings that were used by Admiral Zheng He of Ming-dynasty China on his expeditions southwards in the 15th century. Early Malays called it Pulau Ka-Satu or "First Island".
My work is of Penang’s built landscape and the symbiotic relationship between old and new. A study of the different static and transient landforms, architecture and traditions. Through exploration and research with assistance from heritage campaigners, local architects, state departments and the people of Penang, the project encapsulates the diverse nature of the island.
It is a critical moment in Penang's history. Recently the capital Georgetown has been named a UNESCO world heritage site, the second bridge is well into construction, the famed coastline is being altered and the jungle slowly recedes. The fate of the island‘s historical and future landscapes is being redefined. For now, the resilience of the past is starkly juxtaposed with the rapid rise of the new. Over 50 years since its independence and a developing city that may be unrecognisable in years to come, the island is in a state of anticipation wondering where the balance will be struck.