School of Fine Art Sculpture & Environmental Art

Aurelie Chan Hon Sen (She/Her)

My practice is an exploration of cultures, belonging, displacement, and diaspora, and an expression of my personal history. I investigate the notion of place-making and the re-conceptualisation and malleability of culture; the complexity of preserving cultural identity across generations that encounter national and linguistic divides, and constructing identity in today’s shifting world. The development of my work depends on exchanges of personal stories, discussions, and documentation of experiences. I work with sculpture, installation, writing, sound, video, and illustration.

I use food and language as systems of shared meanings and cultural signifiers to connect people and places. My work focuses on the philosophical underpinning of food and its engagement with the sense of smell that has the power to trigger memories and allows to build a sense of place. My interest lies in learning the practices, values, and recipes that nourish my cultural identity through the process of doing and making together. I view this wholesome and embodied knowledge as intangible archive. I navigate the ways my medium holds space for the inherent language hybridity and diversity of my environment. The space of ambiguity and opacity created through lack of translation and personal visuals is an attempt to reverse the colonial gaze.

Anamnesis (2022)
Have A Seat (i) (2022)
Have A Seat (ii) | Zine (2022)
Home In A Foreign Place? (2020)

Anamnesis (2022)

Media: An installation of readymade, altered, crafted and built objects, an Arduino Programme (duration: 66 secs, on loop) and a soundtrack (duration: 2 mins 12 secs, on loop).

The presence of absence and the absence of presence.

A recollection of moments at my grandparents’ home through objects, foods, sounds and smells.

Have A Seat (i) (2022)

Medium: Plaster of Paris, rice flour, ground turmeric, ground paprika, ground coriander, crushed eggshells

Dimensions: 510 x 510 mm

Have A Seat (ii) | Zine (2022)

Medium: Printed zine accompanied with a cover letter and questionnaire.

Dimensions: folded – 420 x 420 mm; opened – 841 x 841 mm

The purpose of this zine is to show you how you can build a table at the park or in a garden to create a place for collectivity and for coming together. It welcomes people of all ages and abilities to join this wholesome adventure and experience a sense of community. Inviting people to join in the labour of creating a functional object is a practical strategy for collective empowerment, responsibility and belongingness.

The recipe for this table uses natural ingredients in order to be tender to our planet and to be more familiarised with what nature has to offer. The ingredients have proven to be strong in other constructions and will provide for a resistant table. However, the environment in which it is set may affect its durability, and it is not intended to be everlasting. For that reason, it is a practical, flexible and cheap recipe that can be reproduced many times. At the end of the day, this journey asks for enthusiasm to experiment more than expertise, and for perseverance more than strength.

This recipe acts a guide in your own work of collective building and encourages you to learn as you do. Trust your senses and engage with one another to make your own and collective judgement. Follow your intuition and ingenuity, and discover the artist and maker in yourself/selves.

Home In A Foreign Place? (2020)

Medium: spices, food, cooking, Zoom, iPhone Voice Memos, mobile phone

Duration: 00:55

Date: 24 Oct 2020 – 03 Nov 2020

Location: Glasgow and Mauritius

Through my work I explored the themes of belonging and displacement. I see the juxtaposition of the two nouns almost as a result of each other. Here, I initially associate belonging to the concept of place — the idea of having a sense of belongingness to a place; interpreting that place being home — ‘where we naturally belong’; using the concept of place to understand culture; exploring the significance of culture in building one’s identity. However displacement challenges the idea of belonging, as having lived in different places and cultures arises the question of where do I belong? Yet displacement also gives the opportunity to belonging to many different places as influences from all places have shaped my identity. But present circumstances have forced to be displaced from the place I have the strongest sense of belonging to, that being home where I originally belong. The overlapping sounds and accelerated pace of the clips playing are an attempt to portray the conflicting ideas.