Family Portrait, 2017
Remember the time you walked into Toys R Us, with the white fluorescent lights making the place seem bigger and more pristine than it should be?
Rows and rows of toys, overwhelming you as your eyes run wildly through the place before you are even physically allowed to roam free (that hand on your shoulder, gently but firmly). Kid in a candy store. You already know where you are gonna be darting towards, the map of the shop at the back of your hands, and even if you don’t, getting lost in here was pure magic.
Years and years of practice and routine — Christmases, birthdays and the occasional celebratory gift for a school grade well-earned. You stand at the entrance of the toy store with your parents like you do at the starting mark of a race — it gets easier. Except as the years go by, you can’t help but realise another reason is slipping into the occasion: your parents are buying you the toys to make themselves feel better.
A toy is now a symbol of guilt and time unspent - a symbol of those nights you spent alone at home tucking yourself into bed, a symbol of those loud voices you hear at midnight and the apologies to you in the morning. Toys now paint a family portrait... and it is not always pretty.
A piece created specially for Kult Gallery’s “Choking Hazard: An Exhibition about Toys” Show, Family Portrait is a mixed media artwork covered entirely in gilded gold. It explores toy as a symbol of reward in society, and the darker side of it — an absent parent’s guilt manifested physically.
Measurement: 117cm x 90cm x 9cm
Material: Liquid gilding gold, plastic toy house on canvas