Bugis Street Lawn Chair

Collage on Found Object, Prints


Bugis Street is a neighbourhood in Singapore which was once home to a lively, international trans/queer community from 1950’s-1980s. In the mid-1980s, Bugis Street underwent major urban redevelopment, and is now a complex of shopping malls. This—alongside the harsh Victorian-era laws that criminalize homosexuality still in place today—caused the upheaval and termination of the old Bugis Street. Archival documentations of this place and time is integrated into Batik, one of the region’s traditional textile. It is over-layed with a “Wayang” (shadow puppet) pattern—which, in Singapore, colloquially means “to pretend” or “to act”. In this work, Wayang alludes to the Singaporean government’s denial of an important LBGTQ history, but also a method of survival for the community.

© 2015 Karina Iskandarsjah