Who owns our culture?



Paper and wire mesh, plaster

183 x 244 cm


Culture refers to the shared set of beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, practices, traditions and artefacts that characterize a particular group of people. It encompasses the way people live, interact, communicate, and express themselves within their social, ethnic, religious, or geographic communities. Culture is a complex concept that shapes human identity and influences various aspects of society, including art, literature, music, language, religion, social norms, and more.

I have always been curious about how our cultural history is written, how it is narrated – who narrated it, who were those groups of people who created artefacts and wrote old texts, and who does it belong to the people whose history it is a part? Using crumpled papers as a metaphor, I’m referring to various cultures and have made a huge blanket to illustrate how a culture sits as one of the most potent aspects on top of a historical layer. I’ve arranged crumpled paper balls to signify, respect, and recognize our ethnic groups and indigenous people who have sincerely practised and preserved our tangible and intangible culture, materials, tradition, faith and beliefs.

A book by Geoffrey Robertson titled “Who owns history?” inspired me to think about the cultural mobilization and possible reformation of our society through a cultural lens. I’m constantly questioning myself if we can go back in time and write our cultural history as it happened; can we restore what was once a part of our living culture? Can we gather the intellectual written text by our forefathers? Are we capable of reclaiming, repatriating, or resituating our culture and handing it back to the communities who truly owned it?

Part of Project #365rotation