University Of Melbourne
Current scholarship has productively analysed the impact of organised religion upon consciously religious artistic practice. From votive images to religiously-inflected narratives, impressive work has been done on the social and material culture of faith. Less attention has been given to the impact of religious practices upon secular society. In places like Singapore, where clear links between ethnicity and nationality do not exist, historical migratory patterns have allowed diverse rituals and imagery generally associated with specific religions to naturalise as part of the local culture and society. In the declination of religion from action or image, however, the discussion of these forms is often dismissed as simply part of the local traditions. This paper takes a promiscuous and polytheistic view of religion, borrowing primarily from Buddhist and Christian thought toward an understanding of works by Lee Wen (b. 1957-d. 2019) and Suzann Victor (b. 1959-). It considers institutionalised faith as scholarly perspectives that inform and become part of these artists worldviews without necessarily inducting the artists into any congregation. Finally, it considers illumination: what does it mean to see and encounter the spiritual and to what extent are these visual pathways productive in our reception of these artists’ work?
Biography: To come