This painting took a very long time to do, not just because of the detail but because I had to steal time to paint amidst the madcap life of looking after a toddler, working part-time, frequent doctor visits, being sick and constantly deprived of sleep. With these various commitments and challenges, Tangled was painted because that seemed to be my day-to-day life—immobile, always working for others, always caught by circumstances and having little choice in the time and activities of the day. At the same time, I know a lot of women who have and are sacrificing careers, ambitions and so much of their own time for familial duties. In my experience, this burden for daughters, mothers and grandmothers is not just an Asian cultural thing.
In the world of the painting, imagine a dryad (or tree spirit) who’s chosen to take slumber at the bottom of a tree. Outside the forest, the world of humans, towering skyscrapers and cars creeps ever closer and closer. It may be better just to stay asleep.
Technical stuff: watercolours on canvas paper, A3 size (roughly 12 by 15 inches).
Featured on the front page on 16 November 2011: Dreaming