Michelle Loa Kum Cheung’s art is a study of the fragmentation and fabrication of memory and place, real or imagined. To inform her work, she draws on the natural world as a symbol of constant transience and decay. Loa Kum Cheung’s current practice is a response to her own dislocation from her cultural heritage and identity as an Australian with a Chinese Mauritian background. She employs the use of oil, liquid graphite, gold leaf and pyrography in her paintings and drawings, favouring the raw materiality of wood as a base. Referencing contrasting modes of documentation, from old family photos to satellite earth imagery, Loa Kum Cheung aims to fabricate nostalgia for an imagined past and place, both familiar and alien.
To explore this growing internal and geographical dislocation, she is currently working on a series of paintings on wood and drawings with liquid graphite which depict a fusion of Chinese landscape elements from Guilin and her grandparents’ home town of Meizhou and traditional Chinese wallpaper patterns. The borrowing of imagery and popularisation of motifs which have come to represent Chinese culture are an attempt to reconcile her family lineage, her real present and imaginary future. At Stiwdio Maelor, Loa Kum Cheung aims to continue this exploration and develop the works further without the distractions of London where she is now based. She is keen to engage with her landscape-centric practice in a foreign environment where she has never been, while her subject matter exist on different continents.