Gastronomy Domain

Artist: Ooi Sindy
Year: 2022
Prize Category: Consolation
artwork category


Artwork Description

The opulent, European-style furnishings in this room may not be to everyone’s taste but surely all locals will feel glad at the familiar sight of a plastic plate of charkway teow or nasi lemak bungkus in a square of pandan leaf.

The contrast between stereotyped “Western” aesthetics of a wealthy inheritance (deep coloured leather and polished wood, Baroque gilt, animal fur), and the joyul, bright-coloured simplicity of our beloved 3 to 5 ringgit-a-plate gastronomic heritage, is played up to powerful effect. The same attention to detail is given to the inscrutable little faces of the bronze cherubs on the mantelpiece as to the flecks of black jelly on the red-striped straw stuck into the melting ice-cubes in the glass of cincau. We note that the food is on a marble kopitiam marble table, part of our colonial heritage, jammed up rudely against the fireplace. There are some interesting choices and interpretations for the viewer, or consumer, to make here.

However, the artist says simply, “My oil painting is a homage to our local food. I’m used to going to different kind of eateries, from very posh to standard street hawkers. I like to enjoy just what we have as our cuisine. From simple dishes to complicated ones.”

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