2015 - 2019
Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
My grandmother was a dragon. A token of authority, dignity, honour and success, those born into the year of the dragon are considered highly lucky. She was mother to eight, grandmother to eighteen, great-grandmother to ten and counting — and a sufferer of late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Forget Me Not (2015-2019) portrays my experience over consequent trips to visit my maternal grandmother, Kong Fung Tsze, in Sandakan, Malaysia; a process of trying to understand more of who I am, while watching her lose her independence and sense of self.
The project was completed over seven visits during the last five years of her life. The images move between the stillness of my grandmother in her room and the continuations of life outside the room. The same moments appear again, photographed years apart, with subtle changes, intricately interwoven in a lyrical, dreamlike narrative.
Although it’s impossible to fully comprehend what people with Alzheimer’s experience, this is my visual interpretation of the disorientating, challenging and repetitive nature of the condition, and the feelings that arise from watching the slow decline of a life of someone you cherish.
The series includes my portrait "Kong Fung Tsze" (cover image), which has been named a finalist in the 2019 William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize to be exhibited at Monash Gallery of Art in Melbourne, Australia throughout October and November.
In loving memory of my grandmother, Kong Fung Tsze, 1928-2019.