In celebration of International Women’s Day, this group show features works by female artists. Gwen Pew hears from five participants.
8 Mar 2013: You may know Pamela Ng as the gallery director of Michael Janssen Gallery at Gillman Barracks, but the passionate and ever-bubbly 33-year-old will also be making her curatorial debut with ‘Celebrating Women’, opening on the eve of International Women’s Day (and hosted in association with AWARE, a leading gender equality advocacy group in Singapore). ‘Since I was young, I’ve encountered many women who have been abused. I’ve always wanted to do something to speak out against that and express females in a positive way,’ says Ng. ‘I came up with the idea to do an art exhibition two years ago and tried to stage it then, but couldn’t secure the venue and sponsors, so it just fell apart. This time, everything came together really nicely. I have 12 brilliant artists, who are all committed to their art and create these really beautiful works.’
The American-born, Indonesia-raised and locally-based artist has displayed her illustration-like works in galleries across Indonesia and Singapore – most recently as part of art collective Almanic’s ‘Dustbunnies’ exhibition at the Société Générale Gallery at Alliance Française. Her series for the show is titled ‘Vanitas’, inspired by the word ‘vanity’, which explores how the inner workings of the human body coexist with our outer shells. Her paintings are essentially portraits of women with parts of their insides showing – though not in a particularly grotesque or scientific manner.
Allison M Low
This Singaporean artist, who is about to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sydney, centres her work on the idea that ‘I am held up by the very sticks that you used to beat me down’ as a metaphor for overcoming abuse and rising above the experience. Her previous works often depict struggling, but Ng has encouraged her to focus instead on overcoming those struggles in these new mixed media works, which show classic Asian beauties perched on top of battered, broken furniture.
The 20-year-old is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Lasalle and has exhibited in Singapore and America. She has always been fascinated by human relationships and the stories that intertwine people’s lives; her newest pieces will turn familiar fairy tales on their heads in order to bring across the idea of feminine values and strengths. At the time of print, the artist was planning to display three to five self-made books on a shelf whose pages will consist of a collage of painted materials as well as contents from actual magazines.
Coming from a family where both her mother and grandmother are seamstresses, Suhaimi has chosen to take the traditional skill of embroidery further and use it as an art form, which she often combines with pencil sketches and watercolour on paper or cloth. She hopes to express the idea that while society is fundamentally fragmented, she can literally stitch life back together using thread and needle; her new series will feature pieces in a similar style.
Jamie Marie Lewis
Lewis is a local performance artist who divides her time between here and Melbourne, where she is one quarter of the art group Transparency Collective. She often draws inspiration from her friends and family as well as her own personal struggles, and her current fascination is with staging intimate performances in public settings. On the opening night of this exhibition, she will be creating a piece involving waterproof ink and ice blocks to show how a woman’s tenacity enables her to overcome challenges. A video of her live performance will be made on the night and shown on a screen throughout the rest of the exhibition.