Spotted! Crystal Fong

HDBs are all grey and dreary

I want Kopi C

In New York dogs can be carried onto the Subway

The heat is giving me a headache

Made during the mentorship programme at Monster Gallery, Crystal Fong used reduction printing to produce the featured work. “In a reduction print I develop all colors from the same block,” she tells Culturepush. “I must print the entire edition as I work, because the printable area of the single block is reduced with each color pass.”

“This series takes a critical viewpoint of my social and cultural surroundings. I reproduced familiar visual Icons, arranging them into new conceptually layered pieces.

Singapore is said to epitomize multiculturalism. Growing up, we are exposed to different cultures, and though most of the time we try and understand certain people’s racial beliefs, sometimes we just can’t comprehend a certain ethnic group’s way of life. As we pride ourselves for being a united country regardless of race, language or religion, we don’t usually question one’s way of life and just adapt or compromise. So it was a shock to me when my partner who is very westernized – she is Eurasian – started questioning my family’s very Chinese upbringing and values. This caused many arguments between us as we fail to understand each other’s culture. I also started to notice how my partner always stands out in public situations, due to her outspokenness and her different outlook on Singapore social standards. Making this series of works helped me to better understand her views on certain points she has made in the past.

Crystal’s work is on show at the Working Proofs: Young Printmakers League exhibition which runs until 30 June.

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Fairytale Posters by Chynna Ang

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Chynna Ang is one of the 114 students who will be showcasing her Final Year Project at the GSA Singapore Degree Show 2017 opening on 17 June at SOTA Gallery, Level 2.

“The brief was to communicate “not being afraid of failure”, without any words. I used the Three Blind Mice, Three Little Pigs, and Humpty Dumpty, all whom have failed in their fairy tales. The mice had their tails cut off, the pigs had their houses destroyed, and Humpty broke. The idea was to show how they overcame that adversity and succeeded after their failures, embodying the idea of never being afraid to try again.”

The show runs until 23 June. 

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Spotted! Polina Korobova

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Notion of riot, glitter as a weapon, re-introduction of the colour pink, powerful female figures: Russia-born Polina Korobova talks us through her semester at LASALLE, where she is working towards a BA in Fine Arts.

“It all started after watching “The Punk Prayer”, a documentary based on the story of scandalous female collective, Pussy Riot. The documentary made me realize a lot of things, especially the idea of making a statement with your work – that evokes, educates and provokes the audience or your own journey. The documentary not only showed the power of the people’s voice but also the power of an all female collective and how much more chaos a female figure can have especially in a country like Russia. Coming from such conservative and limiting background made me question my limits, as an example my first experience wearing the famous Balaclava was truly terrifying. The entire time I was thinking of what my dad would say and how scared he would be for my work to be shown in Singapore. I was told that there is something controversial about exploring political sensitivities that I faced in Russia and now exploring them in Singapore still being in a sensitive spot – an international student. Wearing a mask for the first time made me so paranoid that I decided to dedicate my work to facing my fears and becoming stronger.

Exploring the notion of femininity and chaos as for me these were the biggest milestones of the documentary itself. Pussy Riot are sworn to anonymity, hence the colourful balaclavas members use to hide their faces, even when giving interviews. “It shows we can be anybody,” says a band member who goes by the name Garadzha, wearing a hot-pink ski mask and matching stockings. After that documentary I implanted the balaclava into my research as a tool to make my appearance more powerful and dangerous.

The balaclava became a subject in my work. First by making them myself from scratch, and afterward by challenging myself to find out where to purchase one in Singapore, which was an experience by itself. I studied how people react when they see it, and I observed how I feel when I wear it. Treating it just like material I decided to experiment with shapes, colours and designs. Working with balaclava felt dangerous and I wanted to explore what else can feel dangerous but also brings empowerment.

Just like balaclava glitter has a certain image attached to it. Glitter is usually associated with girly behavior, shinny and kitsch. Throughout the course of those few months I deeply concentrated on the material by adding, mixing, and covering it. I found out that the idea of the objects if placed differently can confuse the usual perception and portray it the way you want it to be portrayed. Hoping to not only annoy everyone around me with it but also make me and others believe in the power of glitter.

I discovered so many other subject matters that seemed badass to me but are associated with gentle femininity to society. Looking at powerful female movements I started mocking Punk-like behaviour in videos and photos. Creating an illusion of inexistent movement or subculture. Coming up with imaginary, face covered alter-ego became a way to express myself and bring attention to materials and subjects in use.”

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Lest We Forget by Jamie Teo

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Embroidery artist and Arts Manager Jamie Teo tells us that she has an interest in the preservation and documentation of heritage, finding a way to let the past live in the present.

Her latest project, “Lest We Forget, is inspired by the memories of her maternal grandmother. “It highlights the idea of remembrance – lest I forget who you are and lest you forget who you are. Going against the ‘Great Man’ theory, I seek to prove the influence of any and every individual. I am always uncontrollably brought to tears when I speak of my grandmother and by way of making the linoleum plates, I carved out the imprint she has left on me through every passing day. This work seeks to prove the importance of personal histories and to give voice to individual narratives. This is my act of remembrance.”

Lest We Forget was created during a five months mentorship programme under the tutelage of Joseph Chiang of Monster Gallery and will be shown at the Working Proofs: Young Printmakers League exhibition from 16 June to 30 June.

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Banner Shuffle! Trivia Goh

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“This is one of the small pieces from my recent body of works “Kärsämäki’s Secret”. Though the creatures are named, I left them to be untitled for the audience to form their own narratives of what the creature would be called based on its appearance, environment and interaction with a human.” – Trivia Goh.

Works from the Kärsämäki’s Secret collection are available upon request.

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