Lith Ng (known as @lithiumsalts in the Internet sphere) is adamant on lifting the rose-tinted glasses and showing the female experience in all its raw uncensored glory. With her confessional art, her works speak to the larger emblematic problems women face every day be it discrimination, objectification and demonization. Below, we talk to the visual artist on defying taboos, feminism and more.
When did you first realize you wanted to go down this artist path?
I've always known that I wanted to be in the creative scene. It changed from fashion designer to performer at one point, but I realized I belonged in the Fine Arts when I was in the first year of art school. I picked an Illustration major initially and for an assignment, I made an installation about a Radiohead song; my lecturer asked me if I was in the wrong department.
How would you describe your artistic style and creative direction? Has it evolved?
Visceral, intimate, and raw. I like to probe the uncomfortable and dreaded aspects of womanhood; I think we as living beings are always evolving, as with my art and self. My subject and artistic style might change from time to time but I will always stay true to the rawness I portray in my works.
Your art has a strong emphasis on sensuality and the female subject. Can you share with us why these themes are important for you to explore?
I have always been weirdly fascinated by the grotesque — when it comes to sensuality and womanhood, we often think about the softness and beauty, never really about the "gross" side of it. The reality of a woman's body and sexuality are highly stigmatised and demonised, and I find the contrast between society's expectations of us versus the realities extremely interesting to explore. And of course, by doing so I like to think I'm breaking the norm and silence surrounding our bodies and sexuality.
You mention on your website that you're looking to experiment with different mediums. What has been your favourite medium to work with thus far and which would you like to get your hands on next?
I don't exactly have a "favourite", though resin sports a huge part in many of my works. I'm mostly just comfortable with the medium. As for my to-learn list, I've always wanted to try metalworking and glassblowing!
In your own words, what do you think the social function of art is?
People expect artists, especially fine artists, to contribute to society by igniting conversations about politics, the environment, current societal issues et cetera but at the same time, they gatekeep the community, allowing only certain groups of people who they deem "qualified" to truly appreciate and understand Art.
Though it is hard, there is this obvious line that’s determined by society almost collectively on what's ‘good’ and what’s ‘bad’ — I feel like the social value of art is to try and blur the lines here, to ignite conversation, and of course, in the long run, inspire some positive change.
I celebrate the vessels that we're born into and the pain we are made to endure. The universal experience that women go through makes us who we are today and I am here for that.
Which part of the creative process is your least and most favorite — why?
Whilst I enjoy making art on my own terms, my least favorite part is still sourcing for materials and having to worry about the cost! I love working with unpredictable materials - resin, ice and the like. I also enjoy the process of waiting and seeing how it all turns out. Pouring resin into molds the night before and rushing to check what becomes of it when I wake up — this may be my favorite part.
In tandem with International Women's Day this month and your own artist manifesto to explore how women are viewed in society, what are some aspects of the lived female experience that you absolutely celebrate and some parts you wish people were more aware of?
I celebrate the vessels that we're born into and the pain we are made to endure. The universal experience that women go through makes us who we are today and I am here for that. I feel like I can never say this enough but women are not made for men's pleasure, we are our own beings and we are so, so capable.
Which project has been the most significant to you and why?
Truth be told, I am not the most active artist [laughs]. My biggest achievement thus far is having my solo exhibition back in 2019. It was the first time I really put myself out there, raw and uncensored.
Do you consider yourself a feminist artist?
I am a feminist everything.
Have you always been comfortable exploring themes in your work that others might still consider "taboo"?
I grew up feeling confused about my being and there was so much shame and guilt throughout my teenage years to young adulthood. I feel like I had this awakening the day I decided to step out of the toxic environment I was so used to. I've been unapologetic about my body and sexuality ever since, as I express through my works.
What are your top 3 pieces of advice for aspiring female artists out there?
I am an aspiring female artist myself and I still remind myself to: be vocal about the things you believe in, the louder the better. We're always learning and unlearning, embrace the process. And finally, never apologise for being vocal in your beliefs.
Lastly, please shout out 3 of your local creative crushes along with their IG handles!
Check out our Instagram Guide on 99 Women-owned businesses to support here.