Thinking and Talking about Arts and Culture in Southeast Asia

Weekly S.E.A. Radar: Filipino and Chinese Marvel superheroes clash; Singapore’s one-man museum

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ArtsEquator 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. Here’s a round-up of content from this week, scoured and sifted from a range of regional news websites, blogs and media platforms, and brought together in one article for convenient reading.

Actress Nguyen Phuong Tra My plays the lead female role in Vietnamese independent film “The Third Wife”.

Indie hit “The Third Wife” withdrawn from Vietnam cinemas amidst child actress controversy
Tuoi Tre News

The Third Wife, directed by Vietnam’s Ash Mayfair and produced by Tran Thi Bich Ngoc, sets in 19th century rural Vietnam and revolves around a 14-year-old girl who is married into a wealthy family to be the third wife of a powerful landowner.

The film tackles injustice faced by Vietnamese women in the past and other outdated customs such as arranged child marriage, gender prejudice and polygamy.

Making a hit with its international debut in 2016, The Third Wife went on to win many prestigious awards including Best Asian Film at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

The independent film had been commercially shown in 28 countries and territories before debuting in Vietnamese theatres on May 17.

Controversy surrounding the movie arose after it was revealed that actress Nguyen Phuong Tra My, who plays the lead female role, was under 13 years old during filming.

[Read more…]

Photo: @gregpak/Twitter

Filipino and Chinese Marvel superheroes clash in territorial dispute
Yahoo Philippines

Things just got real.

Filmmaker and Marvel comic book writer Greg Pak shared a preview on Friday of War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1 and it all seemed a little too real. In it, Wave, the Filipina superheroine from Cebu, clashes in a territorial dispute with Chinese superheroine Aero.

In the first panel, Pearl Pangan aka Wave, who has water-based powers, can be seen rushing to investigate a disturbance 5,000 miles outside Philippine waters.

“There’s something wrong… something in the water,” she says.

Lei Ling aka Chinese superheroine Aero, who controls air, also rushes to the disturbance. That’s when the two confront one another.

Via Prestige Online Thailand

How Dujdao Vadhanapakorn uses dance to disarm the human psyche
Prestige Online Thailand

Who are you? What do you feel when you lie? What kind of family did you grow up with? The questions in Dujdao Vadhanapakorn’s Humanimal come thick and fast. You watch her latest performance piece in a state of tense anticipation: what is she going to ask next and how is her subject, shut away, zoo animal-like, in a clinical white interrogation room, going to react? Throughout it, she sits at one end of the room with a clipboard in one hand and the other steadying a video camera trained on her subject: a different guest artist each night. Ambient lighting and creeping white noise add to the dystopian mind game vibes.

Playing at Bangkok’s 100 Tonson Gallery this month, Humanimal’s simple yet unnerving lab format draws inspiration from two unlikely sources: Prateep Suthathongthai’s A Little Rich Country, a contemporary art exhibition on show there for the past few months, and Sud- manud, a novel penned by Dujdao’s late grandfather, Likit Vadhanapakorn, in the 1970s.

[Read more…]

Mr Koh, seen here in an undated picture from his youth, has collected nearly one million pieces of cultural value. Photo: Koh Nguang How

Koh Nguang How: Singapore’s one-man museum
BBC

Before every Chinese New Year, Koh Nguang How spends several weeks clearing his mother’s flat.

The 54-year-old is a hoarder, and his collection of more than one million items fills up his flat, his parent’s flat, and a space rented at a nearby industrial unit.

Everywhere you look, Mr Koh is surrounded by epic piles of newspapers, flattened posters and boxes overflowing with tapes.

“Without looking at it carefully it could be mistaken for the junk collected by my neighbours every Friday morning,” he admits.

[Read more…]

Temuan tribe artist Shaq Koyok’s artwork is driven by his sense and passion for activism surrounding orang asli issues nationwide. Photo: Shaq Koyok

Orang asli art exhibition “Gerimis” set to show at George Town Festival 2019
Star 2

The Gerimis art exhibition project, featuring six orang asli artists, has been confirmed for the upcoming George Town Festival in July.

Shaq Koyok, Jefree Salim, Leny Maknoh, Ramlan Koyok, Ronnie Bahari and Vicky Eluq are the contemporary indigenous artists in the line-up.

The exhibit, which will include art, photography, video, installations, traditional craft, literature and a zine launch, will be shown at the Whiteaways Arcade in Penang from July 13-28.

A preview of the Gerimis project was held last December at the Kaka Arts Market at KongsiKL. The project was also one of last year’s recipients of the Krishen Jit-Astro Fund awards for community projects.

[Read more…]

Via Prestige Online Indonesia

Artist Arahmaiani tells us some uncomfortable truths
Prestige Online Indonesia

Performance or happening artists have a way of making us see the dark side of society’s norms. Arahmaiani, whose recent retrospective “The Past Has Not Passed” at Museum MACAN won great acclaim, told Liviani Putri how she has overcome scorn and condemnation to tell us some uncomfortable truths.

Death threats over an “obscene” painting. A month behind bars in a military camp. Self-imposed exile from Indonesia for four years. Such were the struggles of Arahmaiani as a young performance artist. And then came the day when, in a store room at the privately owned Museum MACAN in Kebon Jeruk, she rediscovered a painting she feared had been lost forever or destroyed more than 20 years before.

“Aaron Seeto (MACAN’s Director) told me that my painting Lingga-Yoni was here,” Arahmaiani recalls during an exclusive interview at the museum. “I couldn’t believe it, I thought he was joking. Because it just made me sad to think what had happened in 1994. He invited me to visit the museum and when we went into the room where it was kept and I saw it again after all that time, I was shocked and overwhelmed with joy.”

[Read more…]

The installation in artist Htein Lin’s exhibition “Skirting the Issue” which has cause debate online. Photo: Aung Kyaw Htet / The Irrawaddy

Documenting contemporary art in an era of cultural evolution
The Irrawaddy

YANGON—Silence is Golden is a research-based video magazine exploring contemporary Myanmar art through the political changes of 2015 to 2019. Curator and artist Aung Myat Htay has boldly switched the role of the artist for this project, putting them in front of the viewer to become the subject. By videoing conversations with 10 of the most outstanding members of Myanmar’s contemporary art scene, he aims to use this fresh avenue of engagement to make better connections between artist and viewers, while critically analysing where the scene is at.

“It’s still debatable whether contemporary art in Myanmar has really emerged or developed because national culture and art only accept and support traditional ideas with no international practices,” he said.

“Although there has been an emergence of some international exchanges giving artists opportunities to experience other countries, it is still hard for them to develop themselves without support from institutions or local communities.”

[Read more…]

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