Chang Yoong Chia

Born 1975. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Lives and works Tangkak, Johor, Malaysia
LOTE: Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Cantonese (spoken only)

About

Chang Yoong Chia graduated from the Malaysian Institute of Art in 1996 with a Diploma of Fine Art in Painting.

Chang explores different kinds of materials but with the sensibility of a painter. He focuses on his country of Malaysia - where ethnicity, religion and history are intricately mixed - and stories of individuals living there, and turns them into artworks that tells universal stories. Chang’s works ranging from paintings on canvases, painted animal and plant remains and household objects, stamp collages and embroidery explore wide-ranging topics such as politics, religion, culture and nature. The repeated gestures and complex methods reflect a commitment with craft in which the labour adds another layer of meaning to the work. Placing an importance on the material, he believes that each medium has its own characteristics and symbolism thus new interpretations are conjured when found or mundane objects are transformed in an almost alchemical fashion.

For IOTA24, Yoong Chia completed a residency in May 2024 at the City of Melville to meet with and learn stories of Malaysian migrants. Resulting themes and stories inform the batik sarongs to be exhibited at Yagan Mia – Wireless Hill Park.

Artist Statement

My batik artworks are my personal process of questioning the Malaysian identity. Far from being merely decorative, I hope the images and motifs of batik could be used as narratives to understand the history of this country, offering a glimpses into the hope and joys, trials and tribulations of its people living in this multicultural society.

Therefore, I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to reflect on this question from the ‘outside’. There are many Malaysians who have migrated to Western Australia. Unfettered from one’s original national boundaries, what becomes of one’s personal and cultural identity? I want to understand their stories, how they set down roots, preserve traditions and create new ones.

Using the format of traditional batik sarongs and modern batik paintings, I hope my batik can speak to you as you unlock the hidden meanings of its images and motifs, or find new interpretations for them. Batik is claimed as a national attire in Malaysia, but its use and influence is not limited by man-made borders. It’s fluid and its adaptable. It gives warmth as you wrapped it around your body.

Acknowledgements & Collaborators

Collaborator: Teoh Ming Wah, with help and inspiration from the Malaysian community of Western Australia, Malaysian Community in Perth Facebook group and kind support from the IOTA team. Supported by the City of Melville, Yagan Mia Wireless Hill Park and MyCreative Ventures Group, Malaysia.

Exhibiting at

Wireless Hill Museum

Wireless Hill Museum is situated within Wireless Hill Park in Ardross and hosts regular curated exhibitions, educational talks and learning programs.

Address

Telefunken Drive, Ardross, WA 6153