2013. Graphite on paper. Triptych, overall 42 x 150cm
William Farquhar, Resident of Malacca and first Resident and Commandant of Singapore, commissioned close to 500 drawings of local flora and fauna between 1819 and 1823. Chinese artists, using watercolor on European paper, turned out the botanical drawings that were accompanied by the specimen's scientific and/or common names in Malay, English and Jawi. The artist saw in the drawings an inevitable documentation of intercultural tensions and negotiations, in the different aesthetic concerns, criteria and techniques of Chinese and European traditions.
In Tiger, Harimau, Macan, Widjaja makes urban natural history drawings of subjects that are connected to tigers. The otherwise disparate subjects collectively speak of transnational anxieties/tensions. Heineken International is sole owner of Tiger Beer; nationalistic anxieties were aroused at news of the sale of a local brew to foreign interests. The portrait is of Lieutenant-General Yamashita, also known as Tiger of Malaya - a regional/Asiatic military history that persists in controversy, yet to find closure. The last undrawn subject is the tiger that remains in camouflage, inadvertently forgotten or deliberately abandoned in the unrelenting process of displacement and globalisation.
*Macan and Harimau mean tiger in a Javanese dialect and Bahasa Indonesia respectively.
2015 Shortlist, Sovereign Asian Art Prize
2015 Sovereign Asian Art Prize Finalists' Exhibition, Level 18 Alexandra House, Hong Kong
2015 Sovereign Asian Art Prize Finalists' Exhibition, SOHO189 Art Lane, Hong Kong
2014 Singapore, Inc., Lorong 24A Geylang, Singapore (group exhibition)
2014 Drawing Cage, The U Factory, Gillman Barracks, Singapore (solo exhibition)
2015 Tiger, Harimau, Macan-shortlisted for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize 2015, Artitute. 18 Mar 2015. Web.