This blog post is part of the Random Sampling Singapore project. The Project aims to sample 100 places on the island of Singapore over a one year period in order to gain an unbiased and holistic view of the city state.
One Sunday morning in October 2021 I asked my daughter what to do. She wanted to have her own coordinate from my project, so I let her choose a number. She chose #70, which was in east Singapore in Kallang.
My daughter Anna is 8 years old and that’s her description of the day:
“It was a lovely morning and my family and I were walking along a sidewalk next to a river. When I looked down onto our path, I could see a lot of rubbish and rocks. On my left side through the fence we could see some cars and trucks that have parked along the road of a building. I was looking down to the ground trying to find a few things to sample. We found some crumpled bricks and my mum told me that you can draw with them and make paint with them. So we took them as a sample and decided that we will smash them all into powder and make paint out of them so that mum and I can use it for art.”
Back at home we went on a field, away from where we could annoy somebody with noise and smashed the bricks with a hammer into powder. Every family member was quite exhausted after this first step of paint-making, so the following step happened only weeks later. In the following steps my daughter sieved the powder with always finer strainers until we mixed the pigment with water and filtered it through a tee filter. I mixed gum arabic as binder to the pigment-water paste and our DYI red ochre color was ready to go. This kind of color is used along since the early Homo sapiens, as long as 40 000 years ago. Archaeology revealed cave paintings, early grinders and even prehistoric binders could have been proven with extremely sophisticated analysis. How it feels to paint with a paint made of this gifts from earth and made with your own hand my daughter experienced that day. I prepared two sheets of mountain hemp paper over night and asked her to pour it on.
I wanted to creat something that illustrates the character of this paint. Bricks are made of burnt clay. Silica, Aluminium compounds and the coloring agent Iron Oxide and Magnesia are decomposing under certain conditions. In our case we helped by smashing them with a hammer. This loose powder can be used as a pigment. To make a paint out of it we used a gum, a natural binder. The painting shows my imagination how the color is behaving on a micro level.