Secular Perspective

"We need to promote greater tolerance and understanding among the peoples of the world. Nothing can be more dangerous to our efforts to build peace and development than a world divided along religious, ethnic or cultural lines. In each nation, and among all nations, we must work to promote unity based on our shared humanity".

- Kofi Anan, United Nations

Print by Mei Sheong Wong

Artist Statement

Born in Singapore, Mei grew up in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-faith society, while attending Methodist/Christian schools. She studied fine art at l’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts de Paris, while living in France, 1981-86. Mei majored in printmaking at Adelaide College of the Arts, 2010. She completed the Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) at Adelaide Central School of Art, 2014. Her Honours research explored the theme of Revenance, in the mediaeval Scottish ballad Clerk Saunders, through the materiality of print media. ‘Otherness’ is the state of being different from and alien to the identity of the Self. It refers to and identifies the characteristics of ‘the Other’.

The process of ‘othering’ excludes those outside the norm of the social group, a version of ‘the Self’. My work for the Golden Rule exhibition references Otzi – the oldest known natural Chalcolithic human mummy in Europe. Now kept in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy, this 5,300-year-old Tyrolean ‘Ice-man’ was found in the Otzal Alps in 1991. Ongoing research attempts to elucidate more information about Otzi’s life and death. Multiple copper-plates were printed repetitively, to suggest the process of this early human seeking to form his identity, his own version of ‘Self’ and ‘Other’.

To quote F. Scott Fitzgerald in his 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”. In making this work, I reflected on how the past eludes our grasp; the present is ephemeral; yet the future awaits us. Complexity in unity could be a kinder outcome for our society, than division and alienation. Hence the profound significance of this Golden Rule project.