Another Day

cooliemeal.jpg
Artist: 
Chong Fah Cheong
Text of label: 

{This is the label for the work as installed in the Singapore National Library, in May 2011.}

Chong Fah Cheong
b. 1946, Singapore

Another Day (The Coolies)
2000
Bronze
150 x 160 x 130 cm
Collection of the artist

Two men, depicted lean and muscular, are sharing a simple meal on a wooden bench and table. One squats unceremoniously on his seat while the other draws up a leg to his chest as he raises the bowl to his lips. This sight, once unremarkable for its ubiquity is today amongst the expanding list of 'endangered' sights in urban Singapore. This sculpture was created for exhibition at the Singapore Tourism Board's pavilion during the Expo 2000 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Artist's statement
Another Day immortalises the coolie - that archetype of the labourer or workman of bygone days. Historically, coolies were bonded workmen who arrived in colonial Singapore to labout under inhospitable conditions. Many were assigned to work at the waterfront where trade was fast and furtious.
Chong's 'coolies' are more 'recent' manual workers who were still in circulation in the 1970s and 1980s, working at the warehouses and bumboats before urban redevelopment transformed the Singapore River.

About the artist
Chong Fah Cheong has produced a number of notable public and corporate sculptures in Singapore, and has actively participated in numerous international sculpture workshops and programs. Chong was an art teacher before becoming a practicing artist. After completing school in Singapore, he went to Penang, Malaysia, where he became a teacher. Later, he returned to Singapore to continue his studies at the University of Singapore where he graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree in 1971. He then studied for a Diploma in Curriculum Studies in Art and Design from the City of Birmingham Polytechnic, United Kingdom.
Chong left teaching to pursue art full time. He began his career carving in wood and soon progressed to carving sculptures in marble, granite and other stone as well as casting in bronze and stainless steel.

{There's another label that gives more background on coolies but I have not been able to transcribe it yet.}

entry: 

More tourist realism. The kids love it, they all want to join the meal.

Location Notes: 

This piece has moved around quite a bit. First saw this at the Esplanade in 2004. Then it moved to the Singapore Art Museum around a year later? Then in 2008 it sojourned at Old Parliament House. As of June 2009 it is back at Singapore Art Museum. And sometime in 2011 it moved to the National Library. As befits a sculpture at the National Library it has a *really* long and informative label..

Pix from Flickr: 
First Placed in Singapore: 
2004
Current Location: 
outside the Singapore Art Museum