Richard Streitmatter-Tran’s work addresses the diminishing natural habitat of orangutans, as human development nudges this endangered species closer to extinction. Without the trees of their natural environment, they are perched upon stands – holding out against imminent disaster below. Subject to outdoor elements, the sculpted heads serve as a cavity that living animals can inhabit over time. Orang in Malay translates to ‘people’, while hutan means ‘forest’. The discussion of orangs can thus extend to include the Orang Seletar – an indigenous seafaring people whose livelihoods are similarly endangered, with their traditional ways threatened by contemporary demands. This work follows on from Richard’s use of inanimate materials from Southeast Asia during his 2017 residency at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore.
This installation was made possible as a part of the Disini program and the Chan + Hori Gallery and with the assistance of my art assistant, Leonice Marsha Tamilvanan. Some of photos to be credited: Christian Chiam and DISINI.
DISINI @ Gillman Barracks, Singapore
Iron beams, unfired terra cotta clay, air dry clay, coconut fibre, sealant, armature materials and paint