In February 2019, the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill was proposed by the Hong Kong government, receiving widespread criticism, leading to the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement. These protests became the marker of several years of change in my life.
Around the same time, I created the Safe installation that featured a black square using Stuart Simple’s Black 2.0. I wanted to evoke both the historical context of Kashmir Malevich’s Black Square painting from 1913 and the more contemporary Anish Kapoor vs. Stuart Semple Vantablack controversy from 2016.
In October 2019, as the Hong Kong situation escalated, I was experiencing a lot of anxiety and concern for friends, family and the general state of the place in which I had called home. I felt helpless and useless watching from afar, unable to think of a way to help or get involved meaningfully.
I had been making studies of the strong, rock-like female figures I had seen at a retrospective of Beatriz González. At the same time, I began painting An Imposition on Order and Chaos, 2019 – gradually morphing from chaotic splatters of discordant colours into solid rock forms. As I delved further into her works and process, her story struck a chord and helped to precipitate the further development of The Black Square series. So, although there is no black square present in this painting, it paved the way for the following works.