Low is single at 33, an age when women in Malaysia are often expected to be married with children. Her mother, Mee, was 33 when she gave birth to her.

ME(E) examines motherhood through the perspectives of Mee and Low’s own experiences as a woman, daughter, and artist. 

This body of work includes a self-portrait and zine that Low created during the pandemic. At the time, she was living with a family friend and felt infantilised as ‘someone’s daughter’. She questioned her role as a woman and daughter in relation to the shame and restriction she felt with her body.

Consisting of videos, images, family archives, notes and interviews, this work is a collage of thoughts, images and items that are helping the artist make sense of it all in her own way.

This year, Mee is 66. 

33 years ago, she was 33 when she gave birth to me.

I might be starting to feel the passage of time, or perhaps I’m finally old enough to understand being a mother. In half of her life experience, we grew up (old) together. Looking back at our old family photos gives me a strange feeling, realising her difficulties of being a mother at the time. Or maybe I’m merely finding meaning in this coincidence to make a project.

I’ve always wanted to express myself through images, maybe starting from myself or my family. But it wasn’t until the pandemic that I began to find my voice. At the time, I strongly felt the inconvenience and restriction of my (female) body, and perhaps shame, growing up in a traditional Malaysian Chinese family. Sometimes, when my mind is cluttered, it’s easier to take photos first and make sense of it later.

Much later, I realised my mom is no longer as strict with me as she was when I was a child. I realised I had grown up.







Piled in a stash, 
each image can be dragged
and clicked to enlarge.

On 10 May 2024, between 12:45am and 01:05am, I did an informal interview with my mom inside my bedroom. I thought she had fallen asleep, but she remembered about the interview and woke up at midnight to check on me.

Halo Halo

Halo Halo

Did you dream of becoming a mother when you were young?

Never thought of that

The series projects old photos belonging to my mother to objects found at home. For as long as I know, my mother has been a working housewife, dedicating her entire life to our family. 

Revisiting her old photos gave me a glimpse of her past life, before I knew her as a mother. She was young, beautiful and loved to dress up to meet friends. I’m reminded that she was also a daughter, once a child.

Chong Seek Mee, 张石美 (Zhang Shi Mei)

RGB 33,33,66
A square of solid colour, 
coded 33 red, 33 green, 66 blue,
which is a dark navy blue.

2023 – 1991 = 33
This year I’m 33 years old,

2024 – 1958 = 66
and my mother is the double of my age, 66 years old.

If 33 + 33 = 66, 
then do two of me equals mom?

How I portray my mum, 2024

I asked my mom to participate in my work in return for a 500MYR fee. I wanted to try out projection in photo, so I projected the mothers in my family in the porch – my grandmother, mother and elder sister.

My mother asked me what she should wear, and if she should comb her hair. I told her she looked fine, and she will be lying down with her back facing camera. But I also realised I didn’t ask her how she wanted to be portrayed.

Click image to read notes

If you didn’t become a mother, what do you think you’d be doing?

Working, I used to work in a restaurant

After you got married, you stopped working?

Not working, but I did later. After having more children, I had to work to support the family.

What kind of work did you do after you got married?

我一开始做打扫嘛然后才卖nasi lemak, 炒粿条,然后又去karaoke打扫,打扫然后又去Tembeling做清洁工
At first I did cleaning jobs, then selling nasi lemak, fried noodles, then cleaning karaoke places, and then did cleaning work in Tembeling.

Mom, how many children do you have?

I have five kids, two boys and three girls.

How do you feel about raising children?

有孩子(笑)做到半死 (大声苦笑)
Having children (laugh) is exhausting (laugh).

So, is it better to have children or not?

Of course, it’s better to have children. When we get old, our children can take care of us.

You were an accidental child, accidental. Your godmother said why have so many children, just two would be enough. Luckily, I gave birth to you, my youngest daughter can take care of me next time.

I had an idea that my mom wore her late mom’s shirt, 
and I wore my mom’s dress for a photo. 

She said she would look so old with her mom’s shirt.
I think we look funny wearing our parents’ clothing.

About Low Pey Sien

Low Pey Sien (b. 1991) is a Malaysian artist from Kuantan, Pahang. She works in photography, film, and graphic media. Her works observe the relationship between space, place, and people.

In 2020, during the lockdown, she spent about two solitary months in a warehouse-turned-arts space, where she began making a visual diary of herself. The self portrait series ‘The Future of (a Work that is Buried in a Hard Disk)’, was exhibited in the Objectifs’ open call for ‘Women in Film and Photography 2023: Bodies’, in Singapore. She further explored her pandemic project in the ‘Artist-in-Residency Program 2023: Starquakes’ at Aomori Contemporary Art Center, Japan, and made ‘No Self, Just Body’ exhibition. She also freelances as curator and producer.


Curator: Celina Loh
Online exhibition design: Mishkath (Mishi) Ahmed Rasheed
Producers: Abdul Shakir, Hana Zamri, Celina Loh
With special thanks to: Hannah Wallis, Muzium Telekom, Saan1

Continuum is the end of the residency exhibition part of Creative Access in New Media Arts, a five-month online residency by In Transit in collaboration with Filamen, supported by the British Council’s Connections Through Culture Grant.

Throughout the residency, the artists explored methods of integrating access and projection into their creative practice.