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Mui-Ling Teh

Art and Words from the Heart



One with the Earth

"One with the Earth" by Mui-Ling Teh


*I lost my wooden key necklace on July 12, 2014 – if not at home potentially at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. I am hoping I will have it in my hands again some day, but otherwise here is my tribute to my lost artwork


Where was I when you left this world?
Could not believe the news I heard
I was getting ready for a party
The sky was clear, so bright and sunny

Didn’t think that plans could go so wrong
But life has not been fair all along.
When I learned you passed away
The morning sunshine turned into a sad day.

And now you are one with the earth,
Where new life is given birth.
Will I find your ashes there,
Or am I breathing them in the air?

There is a hole in my heart,
But I’ll mend it through my art.
From this tree you’ve given me
I will carve myself a key.

First half written in September 2011, second half September 2012.


The photo above is a self-portrait; the concept first originated when I noticed one day that my pendant and blazer almost matched in colour, and I was inspired to create an artwork named “The Colour of Wood”. However that idea changed as I recalled a memory flashback.

The artwork was created in the fall of 2009; shortly after wishing a friend of mine a Happy Birthday, I remembered a very sad memory around the same time a few years before. It was my first year in university, and only about a month had passed. I was invited to this girl’s birthday party. I had lots of work to do and I was debating on it; but finally I decided to go as it was the time to get to know people better. So on the day of the party I was getting ready; then suddenly I got a phone call saying that I should come home; my grandfather had just passed away…

My grandfather lived in Japan; and my mother was heading there to attend his funeral, so I went home for the weekend to see her off. I felt ashamed over what I was doing during the last minutes that my grandfather lived; getting ready for a party when I should have been getting work done. From then on I never went to a party during school (with the exception of one which was a bit like an exhibition; or term end celebrations).

The key around my neck was one I carved when I was 17 from a wood print block; which originally belonged to my grandfather. Now his ashes have become a part of the earth, growing into trees; some which later turn into man-made objects like my pendant.



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