A collection of speculative artifacts inspired by the works of Dutch Sinologist J.J.M De Groot who published the earliest known and most comprehensive western document on the Lan Fang Republic in 1885.
…The artist as historian
While historical fact and fiction have often been uncomfortable bedfellows, Choy’s contribution to the story of the Lan Fang Republic was generally pragmatic, which both added to the project’s believability and contributed to some of the confusion felt by viewers. Where does the real end and the imagined begin? Is history an acceptable subject matter for an artist?
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“Artist Choy Ka Fai has breathed new life into the obscure history of a tiny Chinese republic in West Borneo… His inspired multimedia installation, Lan Fang Chronicles 2012, conjures the real and imagined past of the short-lived Lan Fang Republic.” - Huang Li Jie.
“If history could be taught this way, a lot more people would be interested in their local history. …By approaching Lan Fang as an artist and reconstructing knowledge out of memoirs, records, interviews and suppositions, he [Choy Ka Fai] encourages us to imagine, thus bringing to life what he calls the Chronicles of Disappearance, of the Lan Fang’s Republic’s history.” Cheah Ui-Hoon, Business Times, 22 May 2012.