Published 01 June 2020
Interview with First Nations curators Kathleen Ash-Milby (Portland Art Museum), Maia Nuku (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Nigel Borell (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki).
The artist lived with local people in Singapore to find imagery from populist Hong Kong cinema resulting in the exhibition Mien.
A brief history of 20th Century art movements in Singapore and the state of art and art debate in the 1990s. In terms of how non-Singaporeans view and understand current art, the politically motivated performance art of Tang Da Wu and Amanda Heng in 1991-2 appears very similar to performance art in other countries but due to different cultural background it can be misread and those elements which are different are often ignored.
Published December 1993
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.
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.
Vietnam has a long and diverse cultural history with strong sculptural traditions of Dong Son and Cham ethnic groups. At various times artists went to Europe to study and French art was a strong influence. In the north a socialist realist mode flowered in the 60s and 'formalism' was repudiated. Printmaking and political posters were strong during the war. Now painting flourishes; in Hanoi 'the village' is an inspiration, in Saigon various western styles are seen.
Why has Yogyakarta produced a school of surrealist painters and what do they paint about? Life perhaps offers strange encounters, especially in the meeting of eastern and western elements,but the clue is in traditional attitudes to the ghostly or uncanny. These are transposed into scenes of modern life which are richly varied and powerful. They include one of Indonesia's only woman artists, Lucia Hartini.
There are very few specialised printmakers in Vietnam, partly because of the expense of materials and equipment. Woodcuts, a traditional form, with the use of multiple coloured plates, are in demand but are now rare, engraving in both metal and plaster is growing, lithography dates from the anti-French resistance, and silkscreen was used for socialist posters in the 70s. Graphic arts are moving into the world of advertising where the money is.
Traditional Philipino woven textiles are still made today, keeping alive an ancient regional art form which is poorly documented in museums and not well recognised. All the varied types of weaving are described and illustrated. The patterns, iconography and styles are now seen in modern interior design and in fashion and help to maintain something essentially Philipino in a society which has taken on the trappings of world culture.
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.
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.
David Castle's jewellery has been influenced by over 15 journeys to Indonesia since 1972, particularly the islands between Darwin and Bali. He finds the ceremonial activities of the Balinese attractive and this is evident in his body adornment pieces. He was an artist in residence in Kuala Lumpur in 1991 creating links with the University of Tasmania in his home base Launceston where his current exhibition Journeys was held.
Malaysian artist Fauzan B Haji Omar has worked in collage and mixed media since the eighties when Malaysa was freeing itself of British influence. For some time he used strips of torn canvas heavily encrusted with paint, followed by work which draws inspiration from rotting jungle vegetation, reflecting the changing landscape where the natural world gives way first to rubber plantations and now to golf courses and industrial estates.
The artist as a gay Asian male who migrated to Tasmania to escape persecution in Hong Kong, has "copped it swee" a lot of the time. Undeterred he has produced work which addresses this theme and worked quietly towards reform of the laws against homosexuality in Tasmania.