I Wander, I Wonder, 2016
Site-specific installation, dimensions variable
Collection of the Artist
Biennale 2013 Commission
In this artwork, Dex Fernandez probes the psyche that lies behind the compulsion to hold on to ‘useless’ objects. It is not uncommon to find Philippine homes abounding with decorative mementos and souvenirs. These are often gifts from family members working overseas, but when disaster strikes, these possessions can imperil their owners’ lives by becoming fire hazards or obstructing exit routes. This prompted the artist to examine how seemingly unnecessary objects become ‘unintended mirrors’ of the self: they subconsciously reflect and reveal what we desire and believe is vital. Such objects are cherished for their emotional worth – their ‘sentimental value’ – which far outweighs their utilitarian function. This site-specific mural comprises of two counterpoint sets. One suite is based on the surviving possessions of people in Tacloban who lived through the deadly typhoon in 2013; the other suite centres on Filipinos in Singapore and depicts the objects they brought with them here.