Negotiation by Dorothy Yip

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Dorothy Yip‘s passion and ambition within photography lies in capturing her love for the human body. Her Final Year Project titled Negotiation is a visual study of lines, curves and contours.

“As someone who has grown up in a relatively conservative environment, I had a lot of difficulty reconciling my liberal perspectives with what I was taught as a child. My interest in nudity and nude photography complicated things. Being naked is something very natural to me; we were all born naked. Repressed, I embarked on this project to try and achieve an understanding between opposing perspectives. I want the human body and our skin to be appreciated for what it is and to show people that nakedness is only humanity’s natural state.”

Blooming in-between Pale Partitions by Denise Yap

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Living in a pastel box

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Denise Yap‘s work revolves around social political issues and draws upon various queer theories and experiences. “I seek to explore the complexity of human desire, queer ephemera and notions of gender by employing the queer perspective as a deconstructive lens, to examine social norms within different spaces and culture. My process usually starts with brainstorming and creating mind-maps of personal observations and thoughts. My thoughts are then rendered into sketches.”

For her final year project, Denise started questioning a common mandarin idiom ‘一样米养百样人’, that many people use frequently. “I understood the gist of it as it literally translates to ‘one kind of rice can feed many people’. It refers to the possibility of diverse personalities within a social group and the multifaceted, uniqueness of a human being. However, the usage of this quote has led me to consider the consequence of this quote, as many use it as a lazy dismissal which disallows further understanding hence, acting as a closure that reaffirms the alienation as valid.

In the Singaporean society, heterosexuality is the only acceptable sexual category despite the complexity of human desires. Therefore, the topic, queer or being queer is a taboo and there are little to no education on sexuality or many spaces to help people understand it. Because of this lack, many misunderstandings and stereotypes are taken as truth/fact. Aspiration for this project grew as I wanted to highlight this aspect through my artwork by creating a space that encourages an awareness with regards to the stigma of being queer in Singapore.

However, In the words of David Birch, who said this of Singapore: ‘The challenge for civil society is to change the perception of being gay as undesirable – the challenge in order to establish any social movement interested in gay issues and promoting and achieving equality for gay people – is first to understand what constitutes gay communities in Singapore’. To further understand what constitutes gay communities in Singapore, I have interviewed and asked various queer people to write letters about anything queer. All of the replies I have are based on their queer journeys or experiences. Although these stories stem from personal matters, they are still very much influenced by public notions.

I started to consider private spaces and how public notions can exist within it. Blooming in-between Pale Partitions is a recreation of a bedroom, that attempts to examine bedrooms through the perspective of the queer community in Singapore, more specifically how the political, social and cultural confluences shape experiences. Adopting José Esteban Muñoz’s definition of proving and reading queerness ‘is by suturing it to the concept of ephemera. Think of ephemera as trace, the remains, the things that are left, hanging in the air like a rumor.’ I explore queer ephemera in my artwork through objects that act as remains. These queer traces are reactions to the consequences of heteronormativity that can take form in pressures, expectations and stereotypes. The bedroom consists of a wardrobe, bed and desk which are manipulated slightly to retain its conventional form and contain composed objects to create a narrative. There are common themed narratives present throughout this bedroom that addresses and reflects the experience of being queer in Singapore (alienation, conformity and the like.) with regards to homosexuality, and our relationship to the state’s laws and policies.”

Part of Denise’s installation will be shown at the Lasalle graduation show at ICA Gallery on May 18 at 7pm.

Images © Denise Yap. Proofread by Tiffany Ann Dass.

Banner Shuffle: Juliana Tan

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Our May banner is bursting with a zingy colour and flavour spectrum courtesy of Juliana Tan. Lip-smacking!

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.

 

Spotted! Justin Lim

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In The Absence

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Hopes of Tomorrow

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When All Is Left Behind

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We All Have Our Place In Time

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The Drift Project

Justin Lim graduated with a Diploma in Fine Arts and is currently pursuing his BA (Hons) at LASALLE College of the Arts, in partnership with Goldsmiths University of London.

Creating images of mortality, the passage of time and the longing to hold on to things that are ephemeral and transitory in nature, Justin devises his drawings through photography. “I treat each work as a theatre set, orchestrating different lightings, composition, rehearsing the objects and ambience. I then try to capture the ideal, which is momentary and translate it into my own language of drawing. Quiet and devoid of imperfection, my works create a new and different experience for the viewer. Going beyond photographic realism, I intentionally heighten awareness of the subject, bringing focus and attention to the objects I have selected for the viewer to note. The intention to produce a deepened sense of mortality forces the viewer to realise beauty that is most fragile.”

Each series is perfectly arranged and celebrates the quiet moments of mortality. Beautiful.

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