A sketch from Vincent Leow, that was removed after receiving much flak online, led to the artist himself speaking out.
When asked about public reactions, Leow told the media that he was “surprised” by the reactions the piece drew.
The sketch shows the back of a nude human figure possibly sitting astride a chicken, that was made by Leow back in 1989.
Leow said his sketch was to explore the relationship between man and his natural environment, and the way we think about nature and development.
He also added that there was “no specific reason” for the nude portrayal, just that it is usually considered to be humans’ “purest form”.
After a Facebook account calling itself Singaporeans Defending Marriage and Family posted the sketch on their page criticising that it was “promoting bestiality,” it drew much attention from netizens. There was also concern expressed that Leow’s sketch was near the children’s section at Esplanade.
Vincent Leow addressed this and said, “When my own children visit exhibitions with nudity or when they watch difficult scenes on TV, if they ask questions I will explain it to them”.
He continued, “I don’t even have to explain it to them sometimes. It is part of one’s everyday exposure to the world. The children today see so many things that even I don’t know”.
He said that his sketch was made in 1989.
He said that he “did not understand why this small group of people can have this weird and perverse perception of this work… and influence people into thinking this perception”.
Yvonne Tham, CEO-Designate at The Esplanade Co Ltd acknowledged that Esplanade had made an “error of judgement in exercising [their] responsibility to both artist and audience for presenting work in an appropriate space and context”. By the next day, the sketch had been removed from the Esplanade’s Community Wall.
Vincent Leow said that he was still going to continue with his creative processes, without any self-censoring. “As an artist I’m not going to tell myself: I’m not going to do this,” he added.
He continued saying, “I have my own creative process, I do what I do. I don’t know when, but I hope that these people will understand my work better someday”.