This is an expansion of the Weeds/Rumpai series from 2013, which I made in the time leading up to Malaysia’s 13th General Election. It consists of paintings of weeds from my garden, painted on political party flags collected around Port Dickson, where I live.
The ratio of Barisan Nasional (the coalition that has ruled Malaysia since its formation in 1963) flags and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (opposition party formed in the wake of the Reformasi movement) flags in the series roughly corresponds to the number of those flags found around Port Dickson at the time.
Weeds/Rumpai II features ten new weeds. The series was commissioned for the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, Australia, and is now in the permanent collection of Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA).
Text from QAGOMA:
Sharon Chin works across a variety of media to address environmental and political issues in her native Malaysia. For Weeds/Rumpai 2013, Chin collected the political party flags that were hung on trees, lamp posts and street signs in her home of Port Dickson prior to a national election campaign, and painted over them with images of weeds from her own garden. Chin is interested in the way in which weeds survive and thrive in adverse conditions, and contrasts them as a symbol of the resolute stubbornness of everyday existence against the flag’s association with political power. The weeds have a natural beauty, as well as a sense of the uncontrollable and inevitable that allows her to use them as a powerful metaphor for dissent. She comments: ‘we are the weeds . . . we are in the buildings, the cracks, the fields, the roadsides . . . we are many and not alone’.