Published 01 June 2019
State Library of NSW
Efforts to save the ancient city of Hanoi from redevelopment - an Australian businessman raises money and support
There are perennial debates within art circles in Indonesia about applying terms like surrealism to local art. The history and geography of Indonesia mean that theirs is a 'different' kind of modern art which took the form of an art rejecting Dutch colonial rule. Later, in the 80s the influential theorist Dr Soedjoko advocated including traditional art and craft in the fine art canon. He predicted a shift in world focus from Europe and America to the South.
Published December 1993
Artist Noelene Lucas describes the rationale behind the work The Presence of the Centre which she made at Silpakorn University in Bangkok during a residency. It deals with her perception of the landscape of theAustralian Centre as seen from 11,000 metres flying to Thailand, and the fragmentary way we perceive. It is a metaphor for negotiating our position in the world.
As a Director of the School of Fine Art at Silpakorn University, Somporn Rodboon has been instrumental in helping students get an international perspective. She invited Australian women eg Joan Grounds, Noelene Lucas, to be artists-in-residence. Diane Mantzaris arrived in 1992 and made a suite of contentious computer generated prints dealing with the May anti-democracy military crackdown.
The efforts on the part of the author and others to set up a studio for Australian artists, writers, historians and others within the Hanoi College of Fine Arts. Support being sought from the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and the art education institutions in Australia.
The Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre was opened in 1991. It includes an art space managed by the new company CON-tempus which strives to introduce the idea of an art dealership in an art community in which up to now artists have had to handle their own marketing and promotion. The directors hope to foster art collecting, and make artists less commercial in their outlook and more willing to create better and more radical art.
3 major influences. Nguyen Sang (1923-1988) painted in a politically charged and nationalistic mode but always as a personal expression. Bui Xuan Phai (1920 - 1988) painted small streetscapes depicting the soul of old Hanoi, a nostalgic view. Nguyen Tu Nghiem (1922-) was more innovative looking again at ancient village sculpture in pagodas and paradoxically moves closer to a Modernist style.
Hanoi was founded 1000 years ago, and has always been an important centre, culturally and economically. Its Ancient Quarter is a miraculous human-scale blueprint for living and working and much of its original character survives today. The French Quarter built in the 19th Century was a sensitive complement to the old Asian architecture, but today all this is threatened by ugly, insensitive development motivated by greed. Hanoi needs a handsome prince to rescue her!
What is the relationship between the art or craft object and its maker? This question is put from the Philippines in relation to crafts and compares the importance of the origin or culture of the maker in that country to that in Australia. Students of Philippine crafts have applied the 'mapping' method which helps to understand the depth of tradition and their subsequent evolution into urban variants. Writers on the crafts are developing ways of exploring these questions.
The author organised an exhibition of work by Balinese women artists to travel to Australia with a grant from the Australia-Indonesia Institute. She took a year to research and collect work and discovered a great deal about how and why the work was made. Her brief was inclusive - not just painting but craft including the famous woven textiles and temple offerings.
Review of book 'Modern Art in Thailand, 19th and 20th Centuries'
By Apinan Poshyananda
Published by OUP, Singapore, 1992.
An exemplary study of this period tracing traditional practice, regional categories, ethnic divisions, foreign arrivals, and the advent of modernism and westernisation in art and life. The reader gains insight into Buddhism and social structures including kingship in the course of looking at this complex history.
The third edition of ARX, the biennial artists' exchange project between Australian and Asian artists, put much energy into promotion, andtravelling the visiting artists around Australia to give lectures and workshops in an effort to create more opportunities for Asian artists. ARX is constantly shifting its focus and is an evolving event but a continuing interest is cultural nuances and the visual manifestations of these.
Women artists in Malaysia have a lot to deal with - pressures to give priority to family duties over art practice, and oppression of women while the Islamic prescription against representation makes it hard to make political statements. Hamidah Rahman, Shu-Li, Norma Abba, Eng Hwee Chu and Mastura Abdul Rahman are breaking taboos including that of including sexual content in their work. However the price they pay is marginalisation.