A Life Story

Uprooted is a very personal work, inspired by my experience of living alone and studying in Singapore since 2004. The painting narrates my life story as a scholar from the Philippines, and my conflicting feelings of aspiration and nostalgia. In the left, it recounts my life back in my country and my thoughts and ambitions to be in Singapore: to attain a good education, and hopefully, a good future. On the right, it shows my current situation where amidst the busy and hectic Singapore lifestyle, I take time to look back and reminisce of the wonderful memories of my hometown, such as the breezy jeepney ride to school, my favourite Filipino delicacies, and cultural festivities. The two-sided figure in the near-centre represents myself and the distinguishable contrast of both worlds, where my traditional self is gradually being Westernised by materialistic influences.

In addition, the artwork is meant to emphasise the presence of God in my life, being a Catholic. In the painting, I have chosen to symbolise Him with the basket of fish and rice grains, the food for the soul. Even though I have been “uprooted“—taken away from my true home and brought to a new environment—He still continues bless me with His eternal guiding light.

Uprooted showcases one’s inner struggles, a dilemma of being on a different soil. It questions man’s instinctive nature to acclimatise to a new environment, and the sad eventual loss of personal identity.


  • Acrylic on canvas


  • 2008