Arts Picks: South-east Asian artists reflect on their culture and geography in 3 exhibitions

Indonesian artist Kemalezedine artwork titled Mountain 4 (left) and The Sea of Fire, the Fire by artist Savanhdary VongpoothornSutra. PHOTOS: 39+ ART SPACE

Landscape: Reinvention

Kemalezedine was trained as an artist at the Bandung Institute of Technology. When he moved to Bali in 2012, he found the characteristics of Balinese art – with its exoticised foreign influences – “untenable”, writes curator Santy Saptari. To redress this, his strategy was to deconstruct specific Balinese visual iconography, from street art to landscape, while honouring and acknowledging its complex history, adds Ms Santy.

Recurring motifs are mountains, some depicted as erupting and suggesting a certain volatility.

Savanhdary Vongpoothorn processes her cultural heritage in a more placid way, possibly because of the sadness and loss she has experienced. Forced to flee the communist regime of Lao People’s Democratic Republic when she was eight years old, she and her family found their way to Australia, and in a very different environment and culture.

Vongpoothorn can never go back, but that experience of transmigration remains in a spiritual form in her work, where references to Buddhism, traditional Lao script and family leave indelible marks in her art.

Where: 39+ Art Space, 03-01 Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39 Keppel Road
MRT: Tanjong Pagar
When: Till Oct 30, Tuesdays to Fridays, 11am to 7pm; weekends, noon to 6pm. By appointment only on Mondays and public holidays
Admission: Free

Folds And Creases

Malaysian artist Fadilah Karim’s artwork titled The Fort. She reflects on motherhood in her evocative oil paintings at Gajah Gallery. PHOTO: GAJAH GALLERY

There is a serenity in the work of artist Fadilah Karim that suggests she is in a happy place. She paints domestic scenes in honeyed sepia tones that convey a sense of tranquillity.

Fadilah is one of the rising stars in the Malaysian art world. Fans of the artist may, however, remember the more angst-ridden work of her youth, which helped establish her reputation.

In her solo exhibition Folds And Creases, gone are the ghostly double images, brooding gazes and persistent melancholy. Now a mother with a young daughter, who often appears in her paintings, Fadilah’s works exude a maturity that seems to be reflected by a more refined painting technique as well.

Where: Gajah Gallery, 03-04 Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39 Keppel Road
MRT: Tanjong Pagar
When: Till Sept 18, weekdays, 11am to 7pm; weekends, noon to 6pm
Admission: Free

Across Narrow Waters

An installation by Singapore artist Anthony Chin (left) and works by Malaysia-born Andrea Danker. PHOTOS: ANTHONY CHIN, ANDREA DANKAR

As part of The Substation SeptFest2022, John Tung has curated Across Narrow Waters, a small exhibition that comprises an installation by Singapore artist Anthony Chin and works by Malaysia-born Andrea Danker.

The site-specific installation – comprising two pairs of binoculars – by Chin is located on the rooftop of a building in Tagore Lane, which offers a view of the body of water between Singapore and Malaysia. The artworks by Danker include an acrylic on canvas painting, as well as a site-specific installation comprising individual vinyl stickers of essential items once critical for travelling between Singapore and Malaysia.

Curator Tung writes in a statement: “In providing a humane take on rationalising these expanses of tangible, cognitive and emotional spaces, the artists reiterate an enduring hope in being able to meet midway.”

Where: Supper House, 04-03, 222 Tagore Lane
MRT: Lentor
When: Till Sept 30, noon to 7pm daily
Admission: Free

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