Sirius (Wing Sze) Chan, MA Painting alumni (2018), Wimbledon College of Arts has installed her second solo exhibition 'Dark Matter of a Trichster' at the Stewards High Rock Centre in Hong Kong. Here Sirius shares the details of her exhibition with the Post-Grad Community at UAL.
It began when I got an invitation from Stewards High Rock Centre in August to hold a solo exhibition. Stewards High Rock Centre is a Gospel camp-site that offer life and death education and cross cultural and environmental education programs. They were interested in my last solo exhibition ‘Metamorphosis’ (in Kubrick, Hong Kong) that talks about trees regeneration, animism and cycle of life in last April.
I was thrilled to be invited because it would be my second solo exhibition in Hong Kong after I graduated from UAL last year. And I can’t believe I am having another solo show so quickly, within just a few months.
Stewards High Rock Centre is classified as Class 2 Historical Building in 2010. It was an orphanage in 1952 set up by Miss Mildred Dibden, an independent Christian lady missionary, and later a Christian school. This is a place that is related to childhood, school life and growth. After I found that the centre is also working with organizations and projects to help raise mental health awareness, I discussed with the supervisor and decided to set the theme on something very personal and private, the mental status of myself.
My solo exhibition “The Dark Matter of a Trichster” is based on the my personal experiences of suffering from trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder) which started when I was of a young age.
Dark matter is the mysterious substance that makes up to approximately 84.5% of the matter in the universe that can not be seen nor detected, and scientists can’t figure out what it’s made of. Just like Trichotillomania, the cause and the cure is still unknown. Many cases go unrecognized or unreported. It has been estimated that 0.5-3% of people will experience the condition at some point during life.
Trichotillomania is a body- focused repetitive disorder that bothers me a lot and unlikely to be cured. I didn’t know this was a disease until I Googled my symptoms one day. When I was studying my MA degree in London, I found out there are many people like me through online support groups and resources.
There isn't much information about Trichotillomania in Hong Kong. I still haven’t met anyone who has this hair-pulling disorder but I believe there must be a lot of people out there. To trichsters, the dark matter could be the obsession of touching the hair, or the anxiety and frustration after pulling, or the bullying and snide remarks that come from the school playground.
Though this exhibition, I hope to spread the knowledge of Trichotillomania in the local community in Hong Kong, and to gather sufferers to hold a support group to share and support each other.
The exhibition showcases my sketches, paintings and installations from 2013 to 2019 depicting my uncontrollable urge, ecstasy, obsession, depression, isolation and the trauma of a Trichster. I used to paint many enlarged hair root with white bulbs (a common obsession that most Trichsters share) in my early paintings.
However, I put a pause on this theme when I was studying in UAL since my peers and tutors found it is hard to connect with the subject matter. I aim to use the real hair I pulled out in my new paintings and installation to investigate the state of mind during the pulling. I also set up an archive corner with printed information of Trichtillomania, along with sticky notes I put in the readings and my personal stories related to the information.
This exhibition is a self reflective journal, bringing together a collection of works that document my mental process through exploration of symptoms.
To me, I am dissecting my past, my mind and memories which triggered me to pull a lot of hair during the preparation of the show. This is probably a stage that I need to face before I can move on. Though the confessions of this show, I hope to raise the awareness of the disorder and to help others who are still hiding in the closet.
About the Show
Exhibition is open now until 31 October 2019, 10am to 8pm
Venue: Stewards High Rock Centre, 102 Shatin Tau Village, Sha Tin, N.T., Hong Kong
Connect with Sirius
by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
About Sirius Chan
Born in Hong Kong, Sirius Chan received her master degree of painting from University of the Arts London, Wimbledon College of Arts in 2018. Her works are paintings based on the fantasy of evocative objects and scenes of daily life. Her paintings examine the ways people perceive things and the tendency of projecting one’s memories and emotions on all beings.