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Man Fong Bertha Ko

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Artist Statement

The project is an exploration of readymade materials such as teabags, fabrics, wires, laces, yarn and buttons. The series of artwork is a set of 3 head wears under the topic of the following words: Scream, Chaotic, Rebellious, Decay and Hope.
During the self quarantined period, I had the opportunity to explore more materials. I have been resizing and reforming a tea bag and make it as a mask/headwear with materials such as wires and cardboard. Dying fabrics with bleach and coffee, collecting burnt matches, other daily objects such as newspapers, bottle lids, and buttons. They made me reflect on the value of the daily objects around us.
A quote from the movie "Les miserable", 'Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise' inspired me when I feel hopeless with how cruel and sickening our society is, that the sun will still rise and there will still be hope. What would you do when you feel hopeless? Some may cry or even try to hurt themselves. In this project, I recorded my prayers and looked at the audio frequency. I believe the audio frequency is proof of the conversation between me and God. It is private and unique, also praying brings me hope, as I can speak everything to God. I have attached "audio frequency" in every headwear in different ways, twisted with wires or embroider. This series also represents a process of emotions that we were devastated, stood up for ourselves, and eventually found hope. This project stems from my subjective experiences dealing with mental illness and detachment from self/reality. Mental health is a spectrum; it is a unique experience for each sufferer and the symptoms, treatment and diagnosis are never universal. By using self-portraiture and water/distortion as methods, my work steps away from the typical dark imagery surrounding depression and instead investigates a vague sense of self, feelings of isolation, fogginess and a distant melancholy of loss. This detachment from reality also leads to questioning of what is essentially “normal” behavior and characteristics, and why even the slightest deviation from a socially constructed view is defined as abnormal. It challenges the perceptions and stigma around the experience of mental health, encouraging the viewer to look beyond the surface of what it is that they see and believe that they know.

Dear Heavenly Father - Man Fong BERTHA KO

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