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Margaret Lim

10 Mar 2016

Margaret Lim Image

By Ella Gibson

Margaret Lim’s work is symbolic and whimsical, dreamlike and dark.

She is one of the featured artists being exhibited at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre as part of the upcoming International Women’s Day festival next month.  

Her exhibition is called the Song of Love, and it’s centered on exploring the issues faced by women.

“I think one of the things that I have always been very passionate about is the fact that from time immemorial we have been submitted to a lot of male dominance. I’ve done work on domestic violence as well, so a lot of my images reflect the state of where the woman is coming from,” Ms Lim said.

“If you are conscious enough, you question the boundaries that have been placed on you. If not, you fall into it. I like to be able to do something and have things change because of that. I like making people think.”

Her inspirations range from Guillermo del Toro to Hieronymus Bosch.

“I think it’s just that fantasy, metaphorical kind of mixture that I’m more interested in,” Ms Lim said.

Currently in her fourth year of study at Photography Studies College (PSC), Ms Lim said she used the medium of photography as a conduit within her work.

“Basically I work on symbols, objects that I use and then place them within the work to come up with a metaphor for what I want to say. It’s more suggestive rather than straight out illustrative.”

Her subjects in Song of Love are old toys, relics of childhoods that had been discarded or given to op-shops and now take on new roles as integral parts of her work.

“I know that sometime a while ago someone loved it and nurtured it and carried it and took it to bed with them and told it stories, and now all of a sudden it’s in an op-shop,” Lim said.

“So I gave it a chance to tell another story and gave it another go at life. How can you discard something that was once so loved?”

Ms Lim said that her time at PSC had expanded her horizons and helped her explore her identity as an artist.

“My second year here was the best because all of a sudden something happened for me. I began to explore and that exploration has continued,” she said.

“It’s a great place to find yourself. I found my art and I found my path as to how I want to express it. They encourage you to explore.”

Continuing her exploration in the future, Ms Lim said she’d like to try new mediums such as sculpture and also take her passion for symbolic illustration further with a metaphorical retelling of classic fairytales.

“I don’t want to do it literally, I’d want to use symbolism. I can’t stand the fluffy stuff, so if I decided to illustrate, I’d be illustrating the dark side. But those wouldn’t be for children, although fairytales are actually already very dark.”

While it is clear that Ms Lim intends to challenge perceptions and make people think, it’s also about creating something beautiful.  

“Whether you read too much into it is unimportant to me,” she said.

“It’s pleasing when people just enjoy my work aesthetically. More people will see the message behind it. I don’t like to do ugly work just to get the message across; I still like to create something nice … and still get my message across.”

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