NUSANTARA ~ The Seas will sing and the Wind will carry us

An installation of 9 short films by Sherman Ong

Curator: Joanna Lee

“Islands in between…the seas will sing and the wind will carry us” is an allegoric work based on archipelagic Southeast Asia’s maritime past and migratory patterns – historical and modern-day – that have shaped the nature of diasporic identities in the region. Central in the work is an anthology of nine short films from Sherman Ong’s filmography.

Told in documentary-style first person monologues or conversational dialogues, the films relay lives caught between the cracks of interregional histories, geography and social mores. Ong’s practice centres on issues of the human condition within time-place socialscapes, and it is through narratives of the personal that the socio-cultural anatomy of diasporic communities, of transborder and transcultural identities, myth and memory, are implicitly interrogated. That the documentary-style confessions in Ong’s films are fictive enactments (albeit based on a mosaic of real-life accounts) makes a discursive point on the often hazy boundary between fact and fiction in storytelling. Thus juxtaposed in the installation with folklores that have endured through centuries of re-telling, Ong’s stories assume the parity of parables, at once fictional yet truth-seeking.