Liyen Chong’s mixed cultural experiences are a recurring subtext of her practice. Being born in Malaysia to parents of Chinese descent and then immigrating to New Zealand in 1995, Chong has built an eclectic body of work that explores ideas of displacement within social environments.
An earlier project by the artist, A Humid Day, invited us to explore literally hundreds of images sourced from packaging, books, bus tickets, etc. The images form a narrative of events throughout the course of a day. Yet the way Chong twists the meaning of the imagery in these sequences causes the viewer to share a sense of alienation to the environments they represent. Kate Brettkelly-Chalmers, curator of Chong’s most recent incarnation of A Humid Day states that Chong makes use of ‘intriguing mistranslations and slips that occur in the exchange of different languages and means of communication. Like the tricky process of making a perfectly aerated sponge cake, Chong delicately folds these possibilities into our everyday culture of consumerism.’