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:
Tales from the dark side
Bangkok Post, Thailand
While the anti-government protesters are gathering at the Democracy Monument today to call for constitutional amendments and reforms of the monarchy, activist Anon Chawalawan marks the 47th anniversary of the Oct 14, 1973, uprising with an exhibition titled “Collected: Unwritten History By Museum Of The Commoners”.
On view until Nov 25 at Many Cuts Art Space, which is located in the small town of Chachoengsao, it is showcasing a wide range of T-shirts with mottos, artworks and memorabilia that were once used in the red-shirt rallies and student-led flash mobs. The idea is to recount a history that can’t be found in textbooks so that older and younger generations can share experiences together.
“The works on display mostly come from the red shirts and pro-democracy groups. There are two sides in the battle, but we just consider which one is fighting on the logic of how democracy should be in the right way. It’s because another side started from disrupting the way of democracy that ought to carry on. They don’t care about our reasons,” said Arjinjonathan Arjinkit, who operates Many Cuts Art Space.
This platform allows young Filipino artists to thrive amid the pandemic
Manila Bulletin, Philippines
Throughout history art has been used to promote creativity, ignite the imagination, and stir emotion into the hearts of many. It also helps creators and audiences cope with the times, in circumstances that seem too great to comprehend and even endure such as the current pandemic. Suffering, however, is also a source of inspiration for artists—from Edvard Munch illustrating his experience with the Spanish flu to Keith Haring’s artwork on the 1980’s AIDS crisis.
The world now revolves around the Covid-19 pandemic. One cannot emphasize enough how our lives have changed because of the virus. Thousands of people who find themselves in self-isolation resort to art in order to endure and survive the uncertainties. Mental health studies reveal that art reduces feelings of stress and anxiety caused by the current health phenomenon. But more than a source of leisure and entertainment, art is a powerful tool that sparks hope.
In collaboration with multi-genre arts festival Fringe Manila, Pilipinas Shell recently launched Virtual Art Interact, a platform for renowned artists to share their insights on the sector and how to develop their skills. The virtual forum-cum-workshop is part of the petroleum corporation’s long-running National Students Art Competition (NSAC), an ongoing contest aimed to support young artists. Entries are still being accepted until Oct. 11.
From virtual shows to a plating contest, arts fund-raisers roll with Covid-19 times
The Straits Times, Singapore
SINGAPORE – In less than a fortnight, art-lovers will pace the corridors of STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery in groups of five, with a map to guide them through the nooks and crannies of the building in Robertson Quay.
As they move through spaces such as a dark room, wood workshop and artists’ apartments, they will experience “encounters” designed by five of 10 Singapore artists – such as Ian Woo, Yanyun Chen and Zul Mahmod, who are orchestrating a series of activities.
This immersive two-hour experience, titled Encounters and priced at $500 per guest, is a key part of STPI’s fund-raising programme this year. The non-profit organisation’s usual annual gala dinner, where more than 160 guests gather in the gallery for a multi-course meal, was out of the question in the light of the pandemic, and so the organisers racked their brains for a new, novel approach to fund-raising.
Don’t stop art: two major art exhibitions at KL gallery to go on despite CMCO
The Star Online, Malaysia
“Life still has to go on. The show must go on. We cannot let this virus defeat us.”
Those are the words of Fergana Art founder Jaafar Ismail, sending out a clear signal that despite the implementation of the conditional movement control order (MCO) starting today, the gallery’s concurrent double bill exhibition at Publika in KL will still go on as planned.
Under the conditional MCO guidelines, all religious, sports and cultural activities will be prohibited.
“I understand that art and culture is not considered as part of essential services. But we are no different than a normal shop. We are a commercial enterprise and this is a commercial exhibition.
“So we have to open the doors but we will have to manage the visitors and make sure they follow the public health guidelines, ” says Jaafar.
Dance reaches beyond the physical and through the virtual ‘wall’
Jakarta Post, Indonesia
Instead of staying confined within the frame of digital monitors, Indonesian dancers are finding new ways to give freedom to their expression through movement.
Sharing the screen on a video streamed to Instagram Live, dancers Try Anggara in Jakarta and Putri Wartawati in Banten bridged their geographical isolation as they danced through their homes and interacted with each other and their viewers.
In one scene, Putri talks about the importance of following the health protocols as the camera zooms in to the movement of her hands, while Anggara interprets it into a bigger, full-body movement. In another scene, they danced in the kitchen, using dishes and a broom as props.
Streamed as part of the Indonesian Dance Arts Foundation’s “Improvisession”program, the experimental performance in May showed that physical isolation is no limitation.
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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About the author(s)
Nabilah Said is an award-winning playwright, editor and cultural commentator. She is also an artist who works with text across various artforms and formats. Her plays have been staged in Singapore and London, including ANGKAT, which won Best Original Script at the 2020 Life Theatre Awards. Nabilah is the former editor of ArtsEquator.