9/11 Memorial at QC

Joseph Orovic
September 2, 2010

Stabbing two chopsticks into a bowl of rice can serve as utensil-storage to some – but it is taboo in Far East cultures, where the maneuver symbolizes an end to one’s consumption. To put it shortly: death.

Now take the metaphor a step further, and replace the chopsticks with the World Trade Center and you have Chee Wang Ng’s “Sept. 11th Memorial Installation.”

To western eyes, the two gleaming white towers poking out of a bowl of rice may seem a bit arcane, if not kooky. But Ng said it registers immediately with anyone from Eastern cultures.

“In terms of identity, it’s appropriate for the Asians because we know it,” he said. “It’s such a vernacular thing. They don’t even talk about it – they know. That’s how strong this thing is.”

The work was inspired by the months following 9/11, when Ng refused to look south towards where the towers used to raise high into the city skyline.

“After 9/11, as a New Yorker, you see overwhelming patriotism everywhere,” he said. “I realized that there’s no particular thing that’s Asian. I decided I have to do it, to show that we are part of the fabric too.”

The Malaysia native and Woodside resident said his artwork often explores the dichotomy of the Asian Diaspora life, juxtaposing cultural norms against western habits to create a jarring effect.

Ng’s installation will be on display at Queens College’s Godwin-Ternbach Museum from Sept. 4 to Sept. 15.

Copyright © 2010 Queens Tribune

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