I Want To Go Home by Wesley Leon Aroozoo

I Want To Go Home Full Book Cover plus Sleeve

Mr. Takamatsu's Wedding Photograph (Photography by Jon Chan)

Mr. Takamatsu at 77 Bank Memorial Shrine (Photography by Jon Chan)

Mr.Takamatsu's View of Onagawa Bay (Photography by Jon Chan)

Mr. Takamatsu Returns from Diving (Photography by Jon Chan)

Wet Suit Out to Dry (Photography by Jon Chan)

Photography © Jon Chan

Stuck to the window of BooksActually is a poster of “I Want to go home”, a new novel by Wesley Leon Aroozoo.

About four years ago, Wesley read an article in the New York Times about Yasuo Takamatsu, a man who lost his wife to the tsunami that hit Onagawa in 2011. Since that fateful day, he has been diving every week in search for her.

“I felt an urge to meet this amazing man. It took me months to locate and reach out to him. Eventually I had the chance to spend time with this lovely man in Onagawa in the summer of 2015. The novel is named after the last SMS that Yasuo Takamatsu received from his wife who saw the impending tsunami. Since then Mr. Takamatsu hopes to fulfil his wife’s last request. I didn’t want his inspiring story to be an article that came and went. I decided to share this man’s story of loss, recovery and determination to reunite with his wife in a novel.”

I Want To Go Home is a dual-language singular book in Japanese and English published by Math Paper Press. Look out for the book launch late September!

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Spotted! Derek Chua

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Lending us a sneak peek into his books at IAF2017, comic artist Derek Chua tells us he self-publishes and diffuses his work through Irrational Comics.

“It started with Roleplayers, a mini-series centered around a group of tabletop roleplay gamers and their misadventures in life. It is comedic story and intended to be a parody as well as a love letter to the niche hobby of pen and paper roleplaying games.

Followig Roleplayers, I released two more titles:  Socute the Corgi,  an all-ages mini-series about the daily adventures of a cute, brave and fun-loving Corgi dog and Kitsune: Assassin For Hire, an ongoing series set in pre-modern Japan about the exploits of a female assassin who is on a personal mission to kill the Shogun.

Derek has also been working on an online comic anthology called PITCH. Read it here. It’s free!

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Ways of Seeing by Elephnt

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(from the press release)

Originally a project to document and understand the architectural elements that facilitate surveillance and clear sight lines in public housing estates, Ways of Seeing  by Elephnt is a collection of images that attempts to capture the aesthetic of look-out points and sight lines in and around such estates in Singapore.

From colour coded void decks whose pillars seemingly repeat infinitely to the peonies, diamonds, moon gates and circles found in stairwells and life lobbies, the architectural motifs found in public housing blocks in Singapore become our Ways of Seeing.

Elephnt is a photographer interested in urban spaces and mundane and taken for granted everyday objects. He took up mobile photography when he got bored during long training runs for marathons. He later bought a camera and started walking around public housing estates and back alleys in Singapore after reading Peter Benz’s On Marginal Spaces: Artefacts Of The Mundane. His photo projects are often the result of many long walks and his encounters with the constant cycle of urban redevelopment in Singapore.

Ways of Seeing is stocked at Booksactually.

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Yesteryears by Sean Cham

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Sean Cham is an undergraduate at Yale-NUS College, with an Urban Studies major and an Arts and Humanities minor. He is also the author of Yesteryears, a photobook showcasing 50 places in Singapore that were culturally and historically significant.

“The series was taken when Singapore celebrated 50 years of independence, and there was an increasing wave of nostalgia across the nation. However, many buildings and places were left abandoned and forgotten amidst the country’s race for progress. Places are vessels of memories for the people; places are where relationships are forged, stories are created, history is made. From hidden palaces to crumbling neighbourhoods, these places are long past its halcyon days as they descend into mere brick and mortar.”

Sean started working on Yesteryears at the end of 2014, and completed the series mid 2015. “I told myself the series needed a closure; leaving the photographs in the deep recesses of the World Wide Web will only lead to its ruins like the buildings the series depict. So early 2016 I decided to pitch my book to the team at BooksActually. Kenny Leck was on board but he told me the book needed something more. So I spent the entirety of 2016 figuring out how best to package the series, consulted practitioners in London, wrote an essay for the book, and early 2017 I had it figured out.”

The process that took Sean nearly three years from start to end will be launched at the Singapore Art Book Fair 2017 which opens tomorrow and runs until 30 April at Gillman Barracks.

 

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The Never-Ending Search for the Edge of the Universe

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Visual Artist Aida – aka Yellow Mushmellow – and architectural graduate Frederick Low have collaborated on a self-published art book titled The Never-Ending Search for the Edge of the Universe. The book, launching on 17 March, is a collection of comic-style illustrations, accompanied by poetic musings about the Universe.

“The book follows a spaceman’s adventures on a never-ending search. It uses fantastical imagery inspired by the ‘experiences of the Universe’ to articulate introspective and very personal themes such as the complexities of human emotion (“very much like the incomprehensible nature of space, the heart travels to places the mind cannot fathom”).  As the spaceman navigates his way through the vast expanse of the Universe, coming to terms with its twists and bumps or even grappling with the possible futility of his explorations, the audience is also brought on his own journey of self-discovery, making his experience with the book a personal, or even cathartic, one.”

For Aida, the decision to embark on this project follows the questions and the infinite “what’s-next?-ness” that she and Frederick were confronted with while dealing with a tragic experience. “As an artist, a lot of my ideas draw from everyday encounters — whether unfortunate, delightful or even mundane — and the drawings in the book are expressions that stem from a desperate attempt at making sense of the workings of the Universe, forces way beyond our mind’s grasp. I’ve always believed that art and poetry are a dreamer’s coping mechanism for the perplexing realities of life, and I hope that its universality and human-ness can be appreciated in a society like Singapore that prides itself on pragmatism.”

The book launches the week of 17 March 2017 online and in selected bookstores.

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