A Vietnam artist wants you to know this about jackfruit wood

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Why is this material not used in construction more?

jackfruit wood house
This hit installation is on exhibit at the Singapore Biennale 2016 until February. Image credit: Singapore Biennale

Jackfruit has been hailed a miracle crop, a potentially life-saving source of sustenance in case of a climate catastrophe. The wood itself is pest- and disease-resistant, waterproof, and unbending. Yet jackfruit is still an underutilised crop, even in countries where it is endemic such as India and Bangladesh.

Vietnamese multidisciplinary artist Bui Cong Khanh is putting the sinewy strength of jackfruit wood on full display with his hit installation “Lac Chon” (“Dislocate”). The artwork, a full-scale housing model made of jackfruit lumber, attracted more than 4,000 visitors during its exhibition run at the Factory Contemporary Art Center in Ho Chi Minh City in June, Tuoi Tre News reported.

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The artist took inspiration from traditional shelters in Hue, Hoi An and other locales in Vietnam’s central provinces, where jackfruit timber is a ubiquitous construction material in ruong houses. Khanh appropriates techniques from the artisans of the region and combines them with the woodworking and botanical traditions of Fujian, China.

Culture vultures can gape at this piece of art at the 2016 Singapore Biennale, which runs until 26 February at the Singapore Art Museum. Now on its fifth year, the contemporary visual art exhibition brings together 63 artists and art collectives from all over Asia.

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