In Love by Dyan Hidayat

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Dyan Hidayat is a Year 2 student, majoring in Photography at the School of Arts, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University. Earlier this year he worked on a project titled In Love, a photography series about the performative nature of romantic love.

“The series centers itself through a simulated relationship between me and my collaborator, Nicolas Ow. We were classmates during our freshmen year and In Love is our first collab. Prior to this project, none of us had experiences in romantic relationships. The series juxtaposes almost candid images of romantic love with textual documentation of how we, the performers, felt towards each other during the entire process. The images were made with disposable cameras with the intention of creating a convincing quality of rawness and vulnerability, often times felt while in love.”

Full series here.

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No Real Roots by Quinn Lum Fu Loong

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No Real Roots, a project by photographer Quinn Lum Fu Loong, moves around the process and effects of crown reduction happening around Singapore.

“According to NParks, crown reduction is primarily carried out to reduce the weight of tree crowns and lower the center of gravity of tall trees,” he explains. “This process allows these trees to better withstand strong winds and rain, ultimately, reducing the risk of tree falls in the urban landscape of Singapore. These images demonstrate the swiftness and dedication of the authorities to leave any form of perceivable harm out of the equation in order to maintain the safety of its people. This then brings to question human’s innate need to change and control their environment while nature remains subservient to their demands.”

 

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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.”

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Blooming in-between Pale Partitions by Denise Yap

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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.

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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!

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