My forest is not your garden
A collaboration with Donna Ong during the APT9.
"Among other APT9 artists whose work is inspired by the natural world, several share the common theme of humanity as an integral part of the Earth’s ecosystem, including Singapore’s Donna Ong and Robert Zhao Renhui, Malaysian collective Pangrok Sulap, and Martha Atienza and Nona Garcia, who both work in the Philippines.
The collaborative installation by Ong and Zhao, My forest is not your garden 2015–18, offers the wonder of a museum diorama in the Queensland Art Gallery Watermall. Ong’s evocative arrangements of artificial flora and tropical exotica blend with Zhao’s archival-style display of a collection of authentic and fabricated objects that purportedly relate to Singapore’s natural history.9 Ong takes a critical perspective on how representations of the tropics in science, botany, art, illustration and gardens have influenced human relations with nature. Zhao performs his speculative scientific investigations of relations between humans and animals through the creative framework of the ‘Institute of Critical Zoologists’, playing with forms of knowledge such as the zoological gaze and natural history research projects.10 These artists encourage us to understand that the lens through which we see the natural world has simultaneously reshaped it."
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