‘Sticker Lady’ Sam Lo’s first solo show marks the end of a chapter
As an urban artist, Samantha Lo’s reputation was largely built around her witty social commentary-laced works in the streets under the moniker SKL0. But these days, the 29-year-old, who was once dubbed Sticker Lady, is talking less about “grandfather roads” and more about things such as, well, parallel universes, quantum physics and meditation.
“I had this awakening at one point of time that made me more curious about the world — that there’s so much more outside, and not just in terms of our city or country,” said Lo.
Hold on a minute. Is this the same person who did all those Press Until Shiok and Anyhow Paste Kena Fine traffic light stickers? Is Lo turning into a New Age softie?
“I don’t know. Maybe?” she said with a laugh. “When people ask me for quotes and stuff, I’d tell them things like ‘Elevate and be the change’ and stuff like that. And they’d be like, ‘Wah, now you’re damn zen. You meditating ah? And I like that, because it’s only when people say these things that I’ve realised I’ve changed.”
PAYING HOMAGE TO LEE KUAN YEW
It does sound like Lo is moving on to the next chapter. It has been some time since the infamous incident surrounding her My Grandfather Road spray-paint graffiti, for which she was charged for mischief and sentenced to 240 hours of community service in 2013. And she is marking the end of this episode in her life with her first solo exhibition, the LIMPEH Show, at the Substation.
It mainly comprises works from her LIMPEH portrait series of the late Lee Kuan Yew, which was actually what she was known for first, before her interventionist stickers and that certain graffiti shot her to fame. The series, a visual pun combining American street-artist Shepard Fairey’s iconic OBEY poster and the Hokkien phrase meaning “your father” (“Obey your father la.”), began in the streets in 2011 as wheatpaste art on A4-sized papers and stickers, which eventually caught the eye of collectors who commissioned her to develop these into collage paintings.
The show marks the end of the series, she said, but of course there is the added layer of significance with this year marking both the nation’s 50th anniversary and the passing of Lee.
“It’s a way of saying goodbye to my old self and paying homage to him,” said Lo, describing the series as a way of documenting her feelings (and those of her friends and family) about Singapore’s founding Prime Minister.