In our urban jungle, what animal are you, artist asks

Fri Oct 2, 2009 8:37am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Ask Singaporean artist David Chan about society and he'll say that it's a jungle out there, with weeping crocodiles, wolves in sheep's clothing and fat, arrogant pigs -- all animals he features in his paintings.

Thirty-year-old Chan's signature realistic depiction of animal-human hybrids has won him much critical and public acclaim since his first solo exhibition five years ago.

Now he's back with more bemusing, and cynical, portraits of society in a new exhibition of 30 paintings and sculptures titled "Hybrid Society - Schizophrenia" which asks: if society was really a jungle and there were only animals, what would you be?

"Animals and humans both have very distinctive personalities, in many cases we're the same species," Chan told Reuters ahead of the exhibition's opening on Friday.

"I want people to look at these paintings, appreciate the humor and the cheekiness but to also take a good, serious look at themselves and those around them."

In Chan's world, the urban species include "Miss Demure," a lip-licking, lascivious leopard whose human body is dressed in a revealing silky blouse. A brown bear dressed as a dandy becomes an icon for New Age metrosexuality and "Miss Sincere" is a crocodile who delicately wipes her tears with a handkerchief.

A warthog, boasting gold tusks, and decked out in a suit and several gold rings, is Chan's "Mr. Humble" while "Mr. Innocent" is a wolf wearing a sheepskin hat.

Chan said the exhibition was partly inspired by a book he was reading on schizophrenia, which got him thinking about the multiple roles most people play in today's society -- spouse, parent, employee, friend.   Continued...

<p>Artist David Chan poses with his two sculptures Chimerative (L) and Centauree in this undated handout photograph. REUTERS/Courtesy of David Chan/Handout</p>