The title of the series comes from the Malay Annals; it is the description of the beast which Sang Nila Utama, the founder of Singapore, first saw when he stepped onto the island. He thought he had seen a lion. This series explores the relationship of animals and humans as a form of nostalgia, loss and misunderstanding. To the visitor, Singapore may seem like a modern metropolis with a faceless landscape of highways, malls and skyscrapers, without any perils of life on the frontier. It is common to hear Singapore being described as clinical and sterile, but it has an untamable aspect: its wildlife, which is imbued by our imagination, myths, fear and urban stories. Zhao’s visual images also provide an exploration of the cultural representation of individual animals in an urban context today.
About the Artist
Zhao Renhui (b. 1983, Singapore) graduated cum laude from the London College of Communication, and under the auspices of the Institute of Critical Zoologists and The Land Archive has cooperated in solo and group exhibitions in Japan, France, England, South Korea, Indonesia and other countries. His work has received the Deutsche Bank Award for Photography and the Singapore National Arts Council Young Artist Award. In 2012, his work was included in the Noorderlicht exhibition Terra Cognita.