Petrina Ng

Heirloom Facsimile


My practice explores the duality of the artefact as simultaneously the archaeological term of a recovered object of cultural significance, as well as the scientific term for an error in perception or representation of information produced by the medium involved.

I am often engaged with the failure and absurdity of attempting to preserve time. I am interested in the creation of legacy and value, and how these things can remain, diminish or be fabricated. The exploration of these ideas hints at a tenuous relationship to our own sense of mortality. My work explores a paradox of memory: by attempting to preserve and monumentalize, we are acknowledging loss.

Objects from my personal or family’s archive, such as photographs, texts, videos and other ephemera, are manipulated and re-contextualized to explore broader questions of history and the archive. Material paradoxes are utilized to embody and imitate relationships of unease and familiarity, as well as an unexpected playfulness.

Heirloom Facsimile is a triptych of tapestry panels that re-materialize a three-page public service document issued by a governmental body of Hong Kong. The content of the document recommends approaches of cancer prevention that are largely foreign to western medicine. From a North American perspective, the poorly translated English also reads similarly to a modern chain letter, further alienating a western reading. The original document was faxed and then scanned before it came into my possession and my re-rendering of the original includes the resulting digital noise from these mechanical processes. I have translated each pixel of this digitized document into a single cross stitch, reimagining each page as a 4x-enlarged embroidery panel. The result is a failed attempt to monumentalize an ephemeral document, whilst emphasizing its questionable social, political and cultural utility and authority when viewed by a foreign audience.



Petrina Ng is currently based in Toronto, Canada. She holds an MFA from the Slade School of Art in London, UK. Her practice includes video, print, installation, and sculptural objects. Most recently, her work was presented in Tod und Sterben, curated by David Lillington, at MAG3 Space in Vienna, Austria.