Gecko on my shoulder

Gecko on my shoulder is a compilation of my Malaysian experiences during my yearlong Artist’s Residency at Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia in 2010. It is a sensory response to my environment. I stayed in a traditional Malay village house from Perak Rumah Uda Manap, which had been removed and relocated to the Rimbun Dahan compound to be restored. With its unique blend of Chinese decoration and Malay architecture the house held a wealth of cultural heritage and became the perfect catalyst for my art making, exploring the multicultural identity of Malaysia.

Rumah Uda Manap
56 x 142 cm
Ink, silk stitching on cotton

Art with glowing colours

Text by Marianne Erikson -Textile Historian, Head of the Textile collections at the Röhsska Museum of Arts & Crafts and Design, Gothenburg, Sweden between 1974-1999

Nature seems to influence Jessica, wherever she goes in this world:..

Her motifs are, however, not only aesthetic or decorative, they also reveal a concept. That is what makes them so imaginative. They deal with different phases of human relationships. Some phenomena in nature take a long time to grow, sensitive textile art is indeed time-consuming and sincere relationship between persons needs time to build up. All to be handled with care!

Characteristic for Jessica are bright colours, which vibrate through layers of different materials and are accentuated through light and a number of techniques, are characteristic for her. Embroidered simple lines or sketchy, but dramatic stitches, show an expressive movement in her pictures of the ambulating salesmen with their dangling goods on the beaches of Rio or heavily falling rain where she is now. Motifs are emphasized, being worked in series and different scales. Her three-dimensional forms show connection to wearable art and costume design.

Drawing Monk walking

For an observant and aware artist like Jessica the environment of Rimbun Dahan ought to be stimulating. Her residence is an old traditional Malay house, surrounded by a large garden. The multicultural society, where Muslim arabesques and lattice screens meet ancient Chinese symbols and Indian kolam applications are incorporated in Malaysian daily life. Here the skilled handicraft is the base of a fascinating blend. The blue sky holds changing dragon-clouds, bringing cosmic energy to people on the earth. Look up and you will see!

Jessica’s titles are often subtexts. ‘Good things happen in threes’ is among her recent works. The three fertile fig trees, supported by the screen, are individuals, each carrying and ethnic issue. Delicate embroidered lines, like nerves in a leaf, shape shou –the sign of long life, still beloved by the Chinese. The polychrome segmented leaves are influenced by the colourful Indian kolam floor decorations. The third plant with translucent, fluorescent flowers is like an attractive part of Malaysian songket (weaving with gold or silver thread). It is a piece of beauty, but it also points at some global complications. People from different regions and religions live together and have to face the problems of coping with each other. Hopefully they will grow together, glow side by side, like the art of Jessica. Intentionally she uses a combination of rubbings, songket, screen-printing, hand painting, and embroidery to achieve a richness more expressive than in a painting. Being open minded the spiritual fire will be maintained, developed by concentrated work to multiflorous flowering.

134 x 162 cm
Mixed media
20 x 14.5 cm
Watercolour, pencil & gouache on paper