Dimension: 30 by 23cm.
Medium: Acrylic on canvas.
Year completed: 2017.
This is the 1st painting I did since starting to paint. The picture is set in a forest. The grass are still green and set with a backdrop of trees. In the foreground a worn out, rusted bicycle wheel resting against a huge tree trunk. One is quickly drawn to the huge log but is made to shift the focus to the rusted wheel.
Who used to ride that bicycle? And where are the places it has gone with its owner? Where are the rest of the bicycle as we only see one wheel left. Wow, the log is huge. Who cut it down? Why is the log there?
This painting is inspired by the dream Joyce Tan had about Jacqueline and I when we first moved to Hanoi in 2001. Joyce is the wife of my favourite Sunday School teacher, Edward Tan. Edward had been my friend, teacher and mentor since I was a teenager.
About 6 months into my first year in Hanoi, Vietnam, Joyce had a dream about me. She dreamt that I was riding along on a bicycle. Not only was I alone but she was shocked to see that the bicycle that I was riding was chained to a huge tree trunk. I was pulling the log with the bicycle. There was no help around nor was I given a bulldozer to do the work faster and easier. Instead, I was pulling the log inch by inch.
Awakened from the dream, Joyce was worried for me and told Edward about her dream. They did not tell me for fear that I would be discouraged. However, they committed themselves to pray on my behalf. A year later, when I was back in Singapore for a short break, Edward and Joyce shared the dream with me.
Interestingly, every time when I feel alone and the load of working in Vietnam overwhelming, I am encouraged by the dream; that I am in the place God has intended me to be. So I kept going. In 2017, I took a sabbatical. 16 years have passed and I had time to recall this dream.
The picture invites the viewer to come and rest. The log has been moved a far distance from where it was cut down, making a path in the forest in the far right background. The path is bright, suggesting there is yet more road to travel. Red and yellow flowers are blooming in the field leading to the path, suggesting new life, new hope and new adventure awaiting just over the hill.
The bicycle! What is left of it is the rusted wheel, resting on the log.