Published 01 June 2019
State Library of NSW
The artist lived with local people in Singapore to find imagery from populist Hong Kong cinema resulting in the exhibition Mien.
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.
Published December 1993
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.
The US/Mexico based Border Workshop group worked on a collaborative shopfront installation in 1992 with the Cabramatta community of western Sydney where many Indo-Chinese refugee populations settled in the 70s. A large installation representing a refugee boat and a walk-in temple containing video monitors playing back student interviews with local people.
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.
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.
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.
Thai-Australian Cultural Space was an exhibition at the Bangkok National Gallery in 1993 of works by Montien Boonma, Vichoke Mukdamanee and Kamol Phaosavasdi from Thailand and Joan Grounds and Noelene Lucas from Australia, all of whom had experience of working in countries other than their own. A common theme of the work was our relationship to nature and the spiritual in art and life.
Review of the First Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Sept - Dec 1993. The rationale for selection, search for different voices from each country, enormous diversity, some common threads eg experience of colonisation; politicisation; role of religion in some countries. Dramatic performances by Dadang Christanto (Indonesia) and S. Chandrasekeran (Singapore). Theme of environmental pollution also appears in several works.
Ceramics have a long history in Vietnam and two 13th Century centres Bat Trang and Phu Lang are still active today. Old blue and white porcelain ware used to be in common use in peasant families, but different polychrome styles are now in vogue and fake antiques are common too. In some design colleges non-functional sculptural forms and decorative motifs have replaced functional ware, but there is a healthy expansion of production nationally.
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.
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.
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.