In Leung Mee Ping’s short video “Don’t Blame the Moon,” children, deliberately picked from a diversity of ethnic and religious backgrounds, are placed in front of statues of deities that are not from their own religion. Each child stares into the camera and states their name and their ambition. “I’m Irshad, I want to be a teacher,” says a small boy wearing a plain white kufi, standing in front of a statue of Buddha.
This video was made by the Hong Kong artist in 2011 and is currently being shown at Art Stage Singapore as part of the Project Stage section. The fair category is dedicated to showcasing both emerging artists and galleries in Asia Pacific. There are 33 projects featured this year, each touted as potential next-big-things of the region.
Leung is represented at Project Stage by AP Contemporary, a new gallery in Hong Kong. Owned by Russian businessman Andrey Pichugin, the gallery is showing established Russian artists like Zorikto Dorzhiev and Olga Tobreluts. But Pichugin wants to focus on the Asian connection with Russia. Bringing Leung to Art Stage and championing her at Project Stage is perhaps a move in that direction.
“Russia is ‘Asian’ as well,” says Pichugin. “Although most of the population lives in the European part of Russia, two-thirds of the physical territory of Russia is on the Asia continent. One of our intentions is to show ‘another Asia’ at the gallery and at art fairs.”
The Asia that we see in Leung’s six-minute film is one of poignant innocence and a confusion of opposing cultures. After each child speaks their line, a shadow mimicking the waning of the moon swallows the image of the child. Then a new child appears, related to a different set of opposing religious symbols. This meditation on ethnic and religious clashes communicated through chubby little kids is particularly appropriate when viewed in multi-racial Singapore where the slogan is “many races, one people.”
Pichugin says of the piece: “I was impressed by the emotions behind ‘Don't Blame the Moon.’ It's very Asian and very international at the same time. We are the same human beings no matter where in the world we live. It is easy to feel this through the children.”
See Leung Mee Ping’s “Don’t Blame the Moon” at Art Stage Singapore, see all details at .www.artstagesingapore.com
The video has also been uploaded to Vimeo, but the resolution is rather low: vimeo.com