Phang Gung Fook was born in London to parents who migrated from the West Indies. Her heritage and upbringing influence her work. Being of mixed heritage her family didn’t fit in with any particular community, immigrant families often felt like outsiders. Consequently, they were a very close family, private and low key. As a result of her upbringing family has always been important. Consciously and subconsciously memories from childhood have influenced her practice.
Family first and solitude still resonate. Memories and family are an endless source of inspiration for her work. Phang Gung Fook is naturally shy and self-contained, her desire for privacy has led her to use humour and ambiguity to tackle stories that are sometimes difficult and painful to paint. She has always used satire, love and positivity to help cope with difficult situations. This is the essence of her practice, her work reflects this spirit.
Phang Gung Fook is telling a story of events that have happened. Her practise is underpinned by the narrative of love and loss. She can only paint if she feels emotionally connected to the subject. Her paintings are often cryptic and the story is not always obvious to the viewer. She is often overwhelmed with melancholy when she is painting. Phang Gung Fook’s work is cathartic. It is both a release and a relief for her emotionally.
She use dogs as a metaphor for people and her emotions, helping to create a cryptic narrative. Although subjects are sometimes deep and personal, the underlying message is the everyday story and experiences we can all relate to. The brilliant, vivid colours in her work is a mask for her to hide her emotions. Phang Gung Fook’s work is sometimes a complex situation portrayed in a naïve cheerful style. The dripping paint adds to the sense of immediacy, disorder, chaos and sadness. The drips and gestures are both accidental and deliberate. It all adds to the drama and raw emotions of her work.