6o Jayson Singh
Jayson Singh studied for his fine art degree at Central Saint Martin’s and now continues to make paintings at his studio based in Battersea.
In his recent work to date, he has been researching his family heritage by making trips to both North India and Malaysia. On this artistic “pilgrimage”, he takes photographs, video, makes drawings, notes and watercolours in situ, in order to retreat back to his home studio and reflect his experiences in oil on canvas.
His trip to Jaipur two years ago saw the artist make paintings of elephants performing in a traditional Hindu festival. Initially for him, this was an opportunity to pay tribute to an event steeped in history and re-enacted for modern times. However, there’s a personal significance as the artist later learnt that his grandmother used to make model elephants and then sell them in Mumbai – this coincidence the artist likes to consider as being a tribute to her gift.
This year’s Open House, sees the artist make paintings in response to a recent visit to Malaysia – his father’s birthplace. Over there, he managed to witness a local restoration project initiated by his uncle, to revamp an aesthetically promising street called ‘Concubine Lane’ in Ipoh city’s Old Town. This involved preserving the characteristic look of the Malaysian town house facades and anything that revealed its heritage.
So, the European inspired external mouldings and friezes were either left alone or restored, windows and shutters reclaimed back to their former glory. The uncle even wanted to keep the layers of newspaper and plaster covered internal walls, because the newsprint that dated back since 1903 was still legible. The plan, rather appropriately, was to turn this building into a museum of construction techniques.
Back home and on reflection, Jayson is reminded of this endeavour of progress in respect of the past, through the efforts to preserve buildings such as Battersea Power Station. He aims to capture this notion of preserving heritage through the medium of painting.