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Visual Communication (MA)

Jing Yi Kuah

Jing Yi is an illustrator from Singapore that seeks to explore how craft-making can be used to communicate profound themes such as grief and loss. Her work captures and preserves the intricacies of life’s stories through illustrations and ceramic art.

She brings her imaginative world to life in her free time, running an online shop selling stationery products inspired by her original characters and illustrations.

An image of a ceramic bowl that has been glazed with a blue glaze.

This project honours my beloved grandmother, a devout Buddhist who dedicates her days to prayer, visits the temple regularly, and faithfully observes a vegetarian diet on the first and fifteenth day of every lunar month.

Though I am not a staunch believer, I have been taught to practice her beliefs and customs out of respect for her. This project documents my journey of gradually identifying, learning and embracing these practices. 

I hope to encourage others to learn about and embrace their cultures and customs, especially those important to family members they care about.

An image of a ceramic bowl and an illustrated book.

"Come and eat" consists of two parts, a ceramic bowl and an illustrated book, and draws inspiration from the relationship between craft and emotion to tell a personal narrative. The bowl and the book are presented together, complementing each other to present a narrative to the audience.

The book incorporates elements of the ceramic bowl, such as its textures, into its illustrations. Additionally, the process of crafting the ceramic bowl is intertwined within the story.

I invite readers to reflect upon their own experiences with grief and loss while engaging with my project, prompting them to think about how heavy emotions like these can be engaged with and further understood through craft-making.

An image of a ceramic bowl
An image of a ceramic bowl
A close up image of a ceramic bowl

Food plays a significant role in Chinese rituals and festivals. I noticed it from how my family shared mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival, came together with huge bowls of raw ingredients for our annual Chinese New Year steamboat, and how we prepared and offered food to our ancestors during the Qingming Festival.

My grandmother also often cooked food for my family, and we would sit around the table, sharing hearty dishes with rice often being the staple food. I created a ceramic bowl the size of a rice bowl using the hand-building technique, which symbolises my honouring and appreciation of my grandmother’s beliefs.

The ceramic bowl was made using clay extracted from the soil in Singapore, which allows for the various colours and textures of the soil components to be seen on the final piece of clay.

An image of an illustrated book.
An image of an illustrated book.
An image of an illustrated book.

Featuring excerpts of conversations I had with my grandmother about her religious practices, the book features a personal narrative of my journey of discovering, understanding and eventually practising my grandmother’s faith.

Weaving in textures of the ceramic bowl into the illustrations, I aim to tell a personal narrative through illustrations and ceramic art, showing how grief and loss can be confronted through craft-making.


Illustrated book