Willis Turner Henry
Cina Medan = Medanese Chinese
I am Chinese. I am Indonesian. In Indonesia, I am Chinese. In China, I am Indonesian. I celebrate the Lunar New Year. I eat noodles on my birthday. I speak Hokkien with my hometown friends. I speak a little bit of Mandarin. I don’t speak Bahasa very well. I don’t practice Indonesian traditions. I hardly have any native Indonesian friends. I don’t understand their culture, our culture… I don’t feel a sense of belonging in Indonesia. I live in Medan. Medan is in Indonesia… I have no Indonesian values that I am proud of. My parents never talked about them. All I know is, I am Chinese and I live in Medan. This work is a series of self-portraits, a visual exploration of my feelings as I question my identity.
I address issues of nationality, belonging, and alienation. Incubated from my personal experience as a Chinese Indonesian from Medan, I seek to get deeply immersed in the emotional crisis by involving my physical body, to explore the examination of
the fragment of experiences recorded in a single moment. The role of photography here is not merely documentary but unites with performance to enhance the perception of being lost-in-paradise.
About the Artist
Willis Turner Henry (Indonesia, b.1989), born in Indonesia, started practicing art when she discovered her love in drawing and painting. She then moved to Singapore to pursue her interest in art and graduated with a BFA in Photography and Digital Imaging from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She challenges herself by experimenting with various mediums to explore and deliver her ideas, and believes that ‘art is a method of self-discovery’. She has won numerous awards including Winner of ASEAN-Korea Multimedia Competition: “Future Image” (Seoul, South Korea), Winner of Clifton Art Prize 2011 (Australia), and Personal Favourite Prize by Toshihiro Asai, East West Art Award 2011. Her works have been shown in numerous exhibitions including Pingyao International Photo Festival 2011 (China), Image, Materiality, and Space, Goodman Art Center Gallery (Singapore), and O.O.P.S/Offerings of PerformanceS (Lee Wen: Lucid Dreams in the Reverie of the Real), Singapore Art Museum (Singapore).