By Barry Yeow, members of CANVAS, and youths from Boys’ Town, conceptualised by Global Cultural Alliance
Inspired by the famous novel about a group of pilgrims’ discovery of virtue and cooperation as they embark on an arduous journey to enlightenment, Journey to the West is a series of 20 mixed-media photography artworks co-created by artist Barry Yeow, along with six youths from Boys’ Town, and six members of CANVAS, a support group for former inmate artists trained at Changi Prison Complex’s Visual Arts Hub.
Conceptualised as a physical and metaphorical passage of discovery, the journey kicked off with the youths embarking on a photo trail at Rail Corridor and Jurong Lake Gardens, locations most of them have never visited, to discover and capture new places and less familiar scenes of the environs.
The photographs were printed onto canvases, where the CANVAS artists responded by adding their interpretations based on personal experiences, leading us on yet another journey – one of emotional discovery and reflection.
Juxtaposing landscapes of landscapes in the west region of Singapore with paintings inspired by these sceneries, the art-making process creates a dialogue where the two parties invite each other to see their world through camera lenses and bold, expressive colours and brushstrokes.
Using subject matters that are familiar to the patients and residents from this part of Singapore, but presented with a refreshing twist, Journey to the West brings many surprises to familiar and comforting scenes with a whole new reimagined perspective. The series conveys themes of hope, gratitude and resilience.