Manga Ormolu is one of Brendan Lee Satish Tang’s ceramic series, which amalgamates Ming Dynasty style porcelain with figures from Japanese anime and manga. The set is inspired by French ormolu, where Chinese ceramics were gilded with gold or bronze. Here Ming-style vases are usurped by futuristic robotic prosthetics, representing the ongoing process of globalization (as known as colonialism, nationalism, and capitalism) and of cultural appropriation. Tang criticizes the rate and extent of which globalization is increasing as we pass through various technological revolutions from agricultural, industrial, to now digital. The boundaries which define one’s identity are subjected to constant change, but now at an even faster pace.
Manga Ormolu version 4.0-c by Brendan Tang
The message of traditions taken over by technology and globalization and of cultures hybridizing and merging together reflects his personal history. Tang is born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents – father of Chinese decent and mother of Indian decent and now lives in Canada. Being ethnically-mixed and culturally diverse, he claims that he is used to a hybridized identity. Through Manga Ormolu, he wishes to address the issue of transformations in culture and identity in an amusing and not so serious fashion, while motivating viewers to become aware of globalization and to reflect on the realities of their world.
By Athena Wong