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Thinking and Talking about Arts and Culture in Southeast Asia

Weekly Southeast Asia Radar: Why I sing in English; how Cambodian art can survive

ArtsEquator’s Southeast Asia Radar features articles and posts about arts and culture in Southeast Asia, drawn from local and regional websites and publications – aggregated content from outside sources, so we are exposed to a multitude of voices in the region. In the weekly Southeast Asia Radar, we publish a round-up of content that have been scoured and sifted from a range of regional news websites, blogs and media platforms.

Here is this week’s Southeast Asia Radar:

Emila Yusof (left) and Charis Loke are prominent illustrators in the literary scene. Photo via Options
Drawing success: Are Malaysian illustrators in the literary scene getting the credit they deserve?
Options The Edge, Malaysia

Artists have a way of using their imaginations to conjure images that words leave out. For Penang-based illustrator and editor Charis Loke, however, illustrations is about solving visual problems, be it to evoke emotions or map out a visual hierarchy that people can focus on.

It’s not a hyperbole to call the former artist-in-residence at Rimbun Dahan and the Light Grey Art Lab Residency (for which she received a mobility grant from the Prince Claus Fund and ASEF) one of the new vanguards of the local literary scene, which has been steered in new directions that encapsulate the defining anxieties and attitudes of our times.

Harnessing the inherent flexibility of contemporary mediums such as YouTube and Instagram, modern illustrators find ways to elaborate on a rapidly evolving social and economic landscape without succumbing to dull repetition. For example, Loke chronicled the 14th General Election from the campaigning period to polling day through sketches and stories overheard on the ground in a diary format.

[Read more…]

The Bali International Film Festival (Balinale) is teaming up with the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival to launch an exchange program for Indonesian and US filmmakers. (Shutterstock/File)
Balinale announces exchange program for Indonesian filmmakers
Jakarta Post

The annual Bali International Film Festival (Balinale) announced a new exchange program for Indonesian filmmakers on Tuesday.

A part of Balinale’s collaboration with the United States-based Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (MNFF), the American-Indonesian Cultural & Educational Foundation’s (AICEF) Price for Cross-Cultural Filmmaking program is looking for first- or second-time feature-film makers who promote cross-cultural themes in their works, either in the form of a narrative or a documentary.

According to a statement received by The Jakarta Post, the submitted films may feature cross-cultural themes in different genres, including drama or comedy. The narrations could focus on individuals or families who were facing cultural differences in their lives, or documentaries that explore conflicts or unities within a cross-cultural scope outside the filmmaker’s comfort zone.

The submission period of Balinale is open until June 20, while the submission for MNFF is open until May 28.

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The sixth Cambodian Youth Arts Festival takes place at Chaktomuk Conference Hall. YT/Srey Kumneth YT/Srey Kumneth
How to make Cambodian art survive and thrive in the Kingdom
Khmer Times

“However, the support from local people to the classical arts platform is still limited. After the opening of the festival, the number of visitors observed declined. After the opening ceremony of the festival, visitors sometimes covered only about 30 percent of the seats in Chaktomuk Hall. Most of the audience were students who were waiting to perform and teachers who lead each team.

A co-founder of the Bonn Phum, one of the largest arts and cultural celebrations, Rithy Lomorpich, still finds value of the art to Cambodians, either classical or modern art is still limited. Despite of social media discussions showing the interest of local people to the national arts, there is no action taken.

The Bonn Phum organiser still insist on integrating Khmer classical art into the public study curriculum from primary to high school to spread knowledge of Khmer cultural arts more effectively.

“I believe in education. [We need to] train young people to learn [about art] when they are young by including it in our education programme. This does not just mean giving a giving text to read, but engaging and experimenting directly in terms of watching, learning and performing,” Ms Lomorpich said.”

 

Photo: Nyein Su Wai Kyaw Soe | Frontier
Bowing to the Dragon Queen
Frontier Myanmar

WHEN ceramicist Soe Yu Nwe lived in Yangon’s Pazundaung Township, she often visited the nearby Botahtaung Pagoda, where she admired a shrine dedicated to Mya Nan Nwe, a spirit believed to be the reincarnation of “Naga Maedaw”, the dragon (or serpent) queen, who guards the famous pagoda.

“I was inspired by Mya Nan Nwe and this piqued my interest in the Naga Maedaw,” Soe Yu Nwe, 30, told Frontier at Myanm/art gallery in Botahtaung Township in downtown Yangon, where her “Hybridized Beings” exhibition is on show from February 28 to March 15.

The artist recently returned from a residency at Seattle in the United States, where she also curated an exhibition of contemporary Southeast Asian ceramics. She has a Masters of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, also in the US, where she developed her skills as a ceramicist. In 2019, Soe Yu Nwe was included on Forbes’ magazine’s “30 under 30” list for Art & Style.

[Read more…]

 

Photo via Khaosod English
Why I Sing in English: An interview with Violette Wautier 
Khaosod English, Thailand

BANGKOK — Singing English language songs, Violette “V” Wautier seems to have hit her stride and found both her niche – and voice.

The 26-year-old is already the most-streamed English-language Thai artist on YouTube. Speaking in a recent interview, Violette – a Thai-Belgian – said she wanted even more people to discover her through singing in the world’s lingua franca.

“I want people to be able to listen to me anywhere in the world,” she said. “Maybe some people who’s not Thai could be listening. … It’s really cool when people come up to you and say, ‘I love your music’ and ‘Your music helped me get through some stuff.’”

Her latest release was an English-language single and the first in two years, “Brassac.” With one verse in French, one of her native languages, Violette sings of a summer romance in a small southern French town with what she called a “Call Me By Your Name” vibe.

[Read more…]

 

Kitty Taniguchi talks about her work as an artist and gallerist, as well as representation of Visayan artists in the Philippine contemporary art scene. Photo by MOHD SARAJAN
‘Some people label me as a feminist, but actually I just paint what I know’
CNN Philippines

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Cristina Sollesta Taniguchi, popularly known as Kitty, first entered the Philippine art scene in the early ‘80s. Despite the hardships of being a female regional artist in an industry which has an inclination towards male and Metro-Manila based creators, the Visayan painter still managed to succeed. Today, her long list of achievements include her three-time participation at the Beijing International Art Biennale from 2005 to 2008, her work’s inclusion at the Worldwide Art-Artavita Gallery at Art Expo in New York in 2017, and a solo exhibition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, among several local and international exhibitions and art residencies.

A long-time painter, sculptor, and the mother of critically-acclaimed artist Maria Taniguchi, she is also the founder of the Mariyah Gallery, a pioneering art space in Dumaguete City during the early ‘90s and one of the newest additions to Art Fair Philippines’ roster of exhibitors.

[Read more…]

 

Photo via The Online Citizen
Viddsee represents Singapore at the Series Mania short film competition once again in France
The Online Citizen, Singapore

Series Mania back for a third season in Lille and Houtes-de-France, showcasing series from the world over from 20 to 28 March.

Aiming to surpass it’s 2019 edition, the series is now represented by 25 countries from Chile and Peru in South America, Niger and Senegal in Africa, as well as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore for Asia.

Representing Singapore is local content platform Viddsee whose original series titled ‘Soul Food’ is in competition for the festival’s Short Forms Series Competition – the only Asian title in the category. This will be the second time that Viddsee has been nominated in this category, following in the footsteps of its entry for last year titled ‘Drive’ by local filmmaker Don Aravind.

Overall, Viddsee is only one of a handful of entries from Asia, and they are hoping to provide a case for more Asian content to be featured in the future.

Soul Food is an 8-part series about a chef, played by Silver Ang, who recreates the final meal for those who want to meet their departed loved ones again. The story was created by Priscilla Goh, a TV writer/editor who has worked with Channel NewsAsia and Discovery Asia, among others.

[Read more…]

A woman from northern Vietnam. Artwork: Huu Danh
A Stamp Design Project Pays Homage to Women Across Vietnam
Urbanist Hanoi

Tu Bac Dzo Nam is a project by graphic designer Huu Danh, who is known for his works on Sai Gon Sau Vai.

The initial decision to mark an annual commemoration day dedicated to women was made in August 1910 at the Second International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, following the proposal made by German feminist activist Clara Zetkin. On March 8, 1917, a demonstration of tens of thousands of women in Petrograd demanding change kickstarted the Russian Revolution and led to the overthrow of the tsar. The date then became the official date for International Women’s Day.

In Vietnam, the day is celebrated as both International Women’s Day and the commemoration day of the Trung Sisters’ rebellion against the country’s first Chinese domination. In the wake of the upcoming International Women’s Day, Tu Bac Dzo Nam captures Vietnamese women from all three regions in a series of beautifully illustrated stamps.

[Read more…]

 

ArtsEquator’s Southeast Asia Radar is compiled every week. All sources and credit belong to the original publishers and writers. Click here for past editions of Southeast Asia Radar.

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