Visual Arts

Selfish Boxes by Lai Yu Tong

Organised by: The Substation
  • Date:
    7 - 18 Apr 2021
  • Time:
    12:00pm - 8:00pm daily
    12:00pm - 6:00pm on 18 Apr
  • Venue:
    The Substation Gallery
    The Substation GalleryThe Substation Gallery
  • Language:
  • Admission:


A recent discovery of a tiny bird figurine that measures no more than 2cm long has now been declared the oldest work of art ever found in East Asia, dated to be at least 13,000 years old. The historic discovery proves that people made art in China as early as during the Stone Age, and that they liked bird.

It's 2020 and I am making clay figurines, paintings and drawings of cars because the people of my time, they love cars. I imagine I am a child, innocently trying to draw my parents' car but my strokes are harsh and violent, almost angry. My future, ruined.

And then I think of after the end of this world. Someone or something finds a figurine, a drawing, or a painting somewhere central of Singapore amongst what was once a power station, an art space, and then a carpark. And wonders, why?


Selfish Boxes is an exhibition by Singaporean artist Lai Yu Tong presented at The Substation as part of his year long participation in the Associate Artist Programme 2020/21. The exhibition presents new works that contemplate car culture, death and art in the context of Singapore.

About the artist
Lai Yu Tong is a Singaporean artist who works mainly with images. He makes works about the things he sees, things he buys, things he eats, things he uses, things he throws away, and other things, examining habits of consumption whilst living in a city. He studied at the School of the Arts and LASALLE College of the Arts, both in Singapore.

Selfish Boxes by Lai Yu Tong