Desmond Mah

b. 1974, Singapore
Lives and works in Perth, Australia

Desmond Mah was born into a Chinese family in Singapore before immigrating to Boorloo, Australia during his teenage years in the 1980s—a challenging period for Asian migrants in Boorloo. He pursued his education in fine arts, earning a BA Hons in Painting from Loughborough University, UK, in 1998 and studying at LaSalle College in Singapore in 1997.

Drawing from his diverse cultural heritage, which spans China, Taiwan’s Kinmen Islands and Singapore, Mah explores themes of cultural hybridity, fluid identity, and the Asian diaspora experiences. Primarily a painter, he tempers acrylic paint to form a line mark-making style that is visually reminiscent of plant roots, thus creating his own personal “migrant language.” Having recently discovered his condition of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in his late forties, Mah incorporates his neurodivergent mind into his practice. While his neurodivergent mind presents challenges in colour mixing, it also directly encourages the bold use of colours.

Mah’s achievements include winning the E.SUN Bank Special Selection Prize (Taiwan, 2022) and the Southern Buoy Studios Portrait Prize (Australia, 2021). He has actively participated in exhibitions, residencies, grants, and commissions. Notable involvements include the Fremantle Arts Centre Studio Program (2023) and two Red Gate Residencies (Beijing, 2018), where he was mentored by the contemporary performance artist, He Yunchang. Additionally, one of Mah’s artworks is part of the private collection of Judith Neilson. As of 2023, Mah has a solo exhibition with Art Seasons in Singapore, and an exhibition with Mossenson Galleries in Borloo, Australia.

BIOGRAPHY INFORMATION FROM THE ARTIST’S WEBSITE, NOVEMBER 2023

Country: Singapore
Social Media: @desmondmah_