Published 25 August 2021
Efforts to save the ancient city of Hanoi from redevelopment - an Australian businessman raises money and support
1. Lacquer painting is a very old medium which was adapted by 20thC painters including Nguyen Gia Tri. 2. The most famous exponent of Silk painting was Nguyen Phan Chanh (1892-1984) who painted villagers and country life. 3. After 1925 artists adopted oil paint and after absorbing French influences, by the 90s formed a new Vietnamese identity typified by a group of 3 senior artsits. In 1989 a group show of young artists was a turning point.
Published December 1993
A sketch of the main institutions and galleries, the prizes, sponsors and patrons, as well as a list of the main galleries was a guide to the art scene in Bangkok at the time of writing. Several of the large hotels also had commissioned murals as well as acquiring new works by contemporary Thai artists.
Problems of survival of new art without subsidy have created two groups: The Artists' Village, a loose collective of artists who occupied two buildings scheduled for redevelopment, ending up in the Substation near the National Art Gallery. 5th Passage was allowed to occupy an area in a shopping centre where they made performances on environmental themes and ran very popular school holiday art programs for children.
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 First Asia Pacific Triennial, at the Queensland Art Gallery was not only a large imaginatively curated exhibition from many Asian countries and Australia but a ground-breaking conference Identity, Tradition and Change: in which historians, curators, administrators and artists all had equal billing. Well funded, it was able to bring hundreds of people together to enjoy as well as critique the event, and feedback was sought to inform the future form of the event.
Mastura Abdul Rahman is a Malaysian Islamic woman artist and draws on the tradition of SE Asian woven textiles in the very precise ordering of her compositions which depict the arrangement of traditional Malay houses seen from above. Traditional head and breast cloths are ritual objects of great potency with the power to kill the weaver who makes a mistake in the design. To the initiated the paintings embody some of the same aura.
Thai artists of the 'Buddhist Revival' claim to make Buddhist art just because they use the visual conventions of that tradition. The Tantric mandalas have been widely misappropriated. As soon as you take temple art out of the temple you run into difficulties of definition and authenticity. There is still traditional Buddhist art being made in the temples, but there is a great trade in pseudo-Buddhist art which is cheap and damaging.
A concise history of the beginnings of modernism in Thailand from the 1890s. In the 1970s the current Princess established an alternative space for young Thai artists in which the tensions between art for art's sake and art for religious purposes were evident. Politically correct art about Thai-ness was sponsored by banks in the 80s. Later political instability and environmental problems gave rise to a new kind of work challenging cultural consumerism.
Indonesian printmaking emerged around the time of Independence in 1945. It began to be taught in colleges in Bandung, Yogyakarta and Jakarta and became a way of showing Indonesian art abroad. Prints are now seen in offices, banks, hotels and homes. Indonesian printmakers have participated in international print exhibitions in Norway, Taiwan, and Japan.
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.
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.
Background to the Foundation and its support for the Artlink special issue on South East Asia. The personal interest on the part of benefactors Gordon and Marilyn Darling in the traditional cultures of South East Asia. Their mission to start the first national portrait gallery in Australia.