Saturday, April 18, 2009

I need some art

There are 2 artists' work that I so love, I fantasize about one day having their work grace my home. And they are both local Singaporeans.

Manjeet Shergill is a prolific artist, who has a studio in Holland Village where she works from, and conduct the occasional painting workshop. I have thought many times about signing up for one, but never had the guts to. I just will be so in awe of her and her work I will hardly be able to squeeze any paint out of the tube.

I love her Modigiliani-esque shapes, and the honesty and crispness of her subject's presentation. I also love how her work is so 3-dimensional in effect despite being so 2-dimensional in form, you know what I mean?

Shergill's "Village Woman"

(Fact is, I have tried to emulate her work, but as you can see, it is a rather poor and very immature version.)

My "Indian Aunty" :/

The other artist I cannot get enough of is Desmond Sim. He is another prolific artist, who actually started out his artistic career as a poet and playwright. His renderings and interpretations of Peranakan culture is captured so gorgeously it's amazing. From the detail of the ornaments and intricate designs of the sarong kebayas, to the little saucy smirks and nuanced glances of the subjects. It evokes a whole sense of identity that is, really, eroding.

The Peranakans are a dwindling lot, and a rather curious phenomena, simply because you can't be quite sure what makes one a Peranakan. Is it the pidgin language (actually they call it Peranakan patois now) that you speak, or is it the cross-cultured traditions that you keep? 'Coz it's definitely not a race-thing, which essentially makes it hard to define. Mainly Chinese who speak quirky-accented Malay with a smattering of Chinese dialect, the Peranakans are seriously, neither here nor there. And so they decided they would be One. Which is really quite cool. :)

The Peranakan Museum in Singapore is a colourful tribute to this very hodge-podge culture, with fantastical Malay dress infused with Chinese elements and super-superstitious traditions, of a loud exuberant people. Highly interesting, and things so wonderful, that every time you look at it again, you see something new. Just like Desmond Sim's work.

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