Black Paradox by Zestro Leow





Ceramist artist Zestro Leow is currently showing his work at a new exhibition Dawn of Youth at Kato Art Duo, Raffles Hotel Arcade #01-26. The exhibition presents the work of young emerging artists from Japan and Singapore and runs until 3 November.

Speaking about his current practice, Zestro says he attempts to challenge the idea of the function of an object when its physical feature of functionality has been made obsolete. “To express this concept, I chose to create a series of sculptures influenced by Shinto Shrines. Shinto (the way of god) is a Japanese religion dating from the 8th century and incorporating the worship of ancestors and nature spirits and a belief in sacred powers in both animate and inanimate things. Shinto Shrines are consecrated structures which main purpose is to house Gods and Sprits of divinities.

As a believer of Shinto, these spirits represent a place of worship and provide a source of spiritual vitality and regard them as spiritual home. On the other hand, for non-believers, these Shinto shrines are merely ‘decorative’ structures with no concrete function and are only representation of the religion. With this in mind, I began to create shrine-like sculptures with wheel throwing method. Although, wheel throwing in pottery has always been use to create functional vessels, I decided to use this method to create non-functional vessels by sealing the openings and stacking these vessels to form shrine-like sculptures. I hope that through my presentation, I am able to portray the contradiction of an object or structure presenting a pure form or as a form with certain function.”


NAFA Fine Art Diploma Grad Show

You only have till July 5 to catch this year’s Fine Art Diploma Graduation Show, and here’s a first look at two of the projects on display.

Necessary Labour by Syamil Dasuki features 24 wax babies and a 40 minute 3 channel video projection which documents the casting process. The 24 wax babies represent the 48hour work-week (as recommended by MOH) as the process of each cast takes about 2 hours. The multimedia installation that plays on the word, ‘labour’. Labour can refer to productive labour where one expends his energy in either a service or in the production of something; or it could mean a reproductive labour, where a mother is said to be ‘in labour’ when she is about to give birth. This installation brings both ideas together in an ironic juxtaposition.”

This series of portraits entitled MA, reveals a window into Amanda Lim’s relationship with her mother, and portrays a strong need for filial affection.

The NAFA Fine Art Degree Graduation Show runs through 5 July at NAFA Galleries 1 & 2 and Lim Hak Tai Gallery, NAFA Campus 1.


Spotted! Léna Ah-Tune

Léna Ah-Tune (aka Lait) only just graduated with a Fine Arts diploma from LASALLE, and is now pursuing a Visual Communications diploma at Orita Sinclair. Léna is interested in art, illustration, printmaking, painting, animation, crafts and pretty much everything that involves the act of creating.

“As a child, I enjoyed inventing stories and adventures, playing in an imaginary jungle, inventing obstacles and difficulties, trying to get rid of the bad people (the adults). My work tends to be naive and generally colourful: I want the viewer to experience my works through the eyes of a child. I am inspired by the art created by ancient civilizations, by myths and naive beliefs.”

Snakedog is Léna’s alter ego, her companion, her imaginary friend and a stranger. “He is my alter ego because he shares the same doubts and feelings, my companion because he travels in different places, an imaginary friend because he appeared in a dream once. He is also a stranger because I don’t really know him. He’s this indefinable character; mysterious, enigmatic, looking for answers, in search of his identity, just like me.”



Spotted! Hema Lata

Hema Lata is a Fine Art (Sculpture) student at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) who transforms humble paper into art. In 2011, she participated in ‘New Asian Imaginations: (Re) searching the Arts in Southeast Asia’, a symposium held at NAFA, as a sculptor for the performance, ‘Borobudur Re-Visited’ and received the Ngee Ann Kongsi Scholarship for Diploma Studies. Hema is now exploring the idea of the reading experience through sculpture, drawings and visual mind-mapping.

“In my work, I break down paper to build new forms. I work mainly with paper as a medium because of its intriguing qualities that I continue to learn about every time I rework it into something new – be it found paper materials, for instance, books and discarded cardboard in What It’s Like to Get Through Books and Momentary Refuge or ready made paper Iris and Thinking. I am intrigued by the strength and versatility of papers when they are reworked – the two qualities I continue to challenge as I keep working with it. Working with paper also allows me to explore the spectrum between drawing and sculpture. Very often, I find myself writing or drawing on paper before cutting them out to build up forms which challenge the possibility of how the flat pieces of cut-out drawings can be stacked up to form sculptures – in Thinking and The Cat Who Went Bananas.”



OH! Open House: Occupy Tiong Bahru

Singapore’s only art walkabout, OH! Open House, visits Tiong Bahru on 18, 19, 25 and 26 February. This year’s event expects to take 1500 strangers on tour into the heart of Tiong Bahru. Fifteen artists have installed their artworks – spanning a range of sculpture, photography, video, installation, interactive media – in six real life homes in the conserved and postwar apartments.

The tour will be touching on some of the issues there like gentrification, the clash of old and new, Eastern and Western through both the tours and artworks. For example, one of the artists is tackling the Speak Mandarin campaign, which has created a barrier between dialect speaking generation and the young. There will also be unique photo opportunities into private and intimate spaces of Tiong Bahru. Some highlights also include a reconstruction of an artist’s bedroom and life in its entirety using only plastic tape, an interactive light installation that will track 1500 OH! visitors, a site-specific project with Singapore’s first Monkey God temple, a scientific lab located in a bathroom dealing with what else – waste management and a social sculpture to create a new Tiong Bahru food court.

Confirmed artists are Ang Song NianCindy SalimDilys NgGilles MassotGreen ZengIsabelle DesjeuxJying TanLavender ChangMarc Gabriel LohMark WongPatrick StoreyRace KrehelSokkuan TyeStephen Black and Zhao Renhui.

OH! will be open from 4pm till 9pm on 18, 19, 25 and 26 February. The tour starts at Tiong Bahru Community Ctr, 67A Eu Chin Street. $15 tickets are sold at the door, and the last tour leaves at 8pm. Visit the website for details.


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