Shen Jiaqi: Dioramas of Industry Solo Show

Cuturi Gallery is pleased to present Dioramas of Industry by Shen Jiaqi (b.1989, Singapore), marking her third solo exhibition with the gallery. This new collection of works is created from the amalgamation of narratives, photographs, and historical documentation during Singapore’s industrialisation era in the 1960s and 1970s. It delves into the experiences of women workers within the numerous factories and industries that sprouted from the island during these developmental years.

 

Dioramas of Industry reflects on our individual definitions of work, labour and responsibility, while examining the societal roles of women who worked in these factories. These pieces depict the prevailing aura of ambition and curiosity during this period of modernisation. Referencing photos and interviews from the National Archives of Singapore, the works on display layer various archival images of factory tours, opening ceremonies, and assembly lines with visuals of women workers under the curious stares of visitors and media personnel.

 

As such, the painting titled Bowl by Bowl, the Day Unfolds (2024), exemplifies the routine tedium of the factory assembly line. Creating serve-ware reminiscent of domestic chores, with the products evidencing their labour and presence, this piece serves as a reminder of societal expectations for women workers.

 

Another work, The Dawning Town (2024), an interplay of tranquillity between land, sea, and sky is set in the forested Jurong Islands. The work portrays the first block of public housing flats built for workers’ families, when the societal role of women was shifted from being home-bound to venturing into the workforce. This transition period led to the housing construction in Jurong Island and other undeveloped industrial areas.

 

Dioramas of Industry offers a glimpse into the integration of women’s workforce into their daily lives. Juggling family duties and factory shifts, the cyclical nature of their routines emphasises the repetitive yet finite concept of time. Shen’s fascination with the transition from night to day, marks the rotation of workers which is depicted through the golden hour’s palette, emphasising the impermanence of events and highlighting this transformative period in history.

 

The exhibition will be on view at 61 Aliwal Street, S199937 from 6 July – 3 August 2024.

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