McNally School
of Fine Arts

Fausta Tan Yu Meng

Fausta Tan Yu Meng

MA Asian Art Histories
2022 — 2023

Fausta graduated with a Bachelor in Arts in Social Anthropology and Political Science from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the National Institute of Education, Singapore. He is currently a History and Social Studies teacher in a secondary school. Fausta's interests and appreciation for history has nurtured his passion to want to learn more about Asian art histories. He hopes to broaden his knowledge and experience in this area by furthering his research areas and contributing extensively to the field.

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Thesis abstract

THE RIVER RUNS THROUGH: Investigating the role and influence of the Singapore River in the works of Cheo Chai-Hiang and Debbie Ding to evoke memories and shape identity

The thesis explores the use of Singapore’s historical icon, the Singapore River, to evoke memories and shape identity in the artworks of Singaporean artists Cheo Chai-Hiang and Debbie Ding.

The author examines how the artists have applied Henri Lefebvre’s theories on space and Merlin Coverley’s research on psychogeography in their creative designs to engage audiences and tap on their memories to create new or imagined ones to shape identity for the future.

This paper also explores the practice of psychogeoforensics, a neologism to define a practice of investigation in order to document and map fragments of Singapore’s lost past in the hopes that the preservation of these artefacts would be a source of historical objectivity, culture and knowledge. In pursuing their intended objectives, the artists have created a tabula rasa for their viewers to confront and think about issues such as personal and national identity, as well as social concerns affecting memories and identity.