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Artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang gets much of his inspiration from his multi-cultural background and international upbringing. Born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents, Tang has studied in the United States and Canada, where he is a naturalised citizen. These cross-cultural experiences means Tang is no stranger to diverse environments, a concept that is reflected in his The Swimmers series.

The term "fish out water" is often used to describe the mixed emotions that can come with being out of one's depth due to new and unfamiliar circumstances and surroundings. This feeling of culture shock is familiar experience for many and The Swimmers series plays with the idea that we - the fish - are always finding our way through our greater culture and history. The series symbolically explores the ways in which people immerse themselves in cultures from around the world. The detailed drawings that make up this collection reimagine traditional blue and white 18th Century English earthenware and Delftware porcelain plates as undulating swimming pools enjoyed by a pair of swimmers of various ages.

Including a duo was a deliberate decision on Tang's part as it emphasises the idea that we learn traditions and cultural practices from one another; these things are not hard-wired. As they swim and splash in the symbolic patterns, the swimmers appear unaware of the complexities that surround them. From this nonchalant attitude can be inferred either a type of ignorance or a sense of optimism, perfectly encapsulating the mixed emotions we feel as we wade through uncharted territory.

Brendan Lee Satish Tang


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