Family Dinner

Family Dinner is a collaboration between the current inmates at the Visual Arts Hub (VAH) at Changi Prison Complex and Kim Whye Kee, an ex-inmate and this year’s “Yellow Ribbon artist-in-residence”.
The artwork takes the reflection of the humble family meal as its point of departure. Whilst, incarcerated, Kim would reflect on the few meals he managed to partake of with his family and regularly longed for the opportunity to eat a simple meal with them. 

In 2007, six months before he was due to be released, his father passed away, dashing his hopes of ever again being able to sit down for a meal as one complete family. His mother and sister remain important pillars in his life and this work is in part a tribute to them as well as an attempt to inspire current inmates to keep ‘home’ close to their hearts and “to harness the thoughts of their family as strength when they embark on their journey of reintegration into society”. 

The installation comprises a dining table with four bowls as representation of an inmate’s longing for an intimate family dinner whilst a lone chair has been placed at the table as a reminder of the reality that the inmate sits isolated from his/her family. Three of the bowls are halved with texts inscribed on the concave side and are installed such that the writings are reflected and readable on the surface of the highly glossed black table. 

Another highlight of this installation are the ceramics bowls, these bowls, made by the inmates at VAH are broken and mended by Kim using putty and gold paint.
Inspired by the Kintsugi philosophy on aesthetics, Family Dinner aims to locate and celebrate the beauty in, and of imperfection. As the artist explains: ” Instead of disguising our prison records, they are highlighted as a daily reminder to not repeat our past mistakes.”

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