Panagiotis Spiliotis

Panagiotis Spiliotis

Panagiotis Spiliotis (b.1991) is a Greek and Irish trained botanist and plant ecologist based in his hometown of Brussels. After graduating from his Master’s degree in plant taxonomy from the University of Edinburgh in 2015, took some time away from studies to pursue other interests and goals, and develop abilities and skills not often associated with academia, including landscaping, carpentry and sales of high end luxury chocolate.  

After three years of successful employment in different industries, he traveled to Malaysia to undertake a large botanically themed project here in Rimbun Dahan. Other than pure taxonomy and systematics, his main area of interest in his discipline is ex-situ conservation of endangered species, focusing on how botanic gardens and conservation sites can manage, sustain and maximise the positive impact they can have on fighting the ongoing crisis of extinction caused by anthropogenic habitat loss and the destruction of our biotope.

 He is a firm believer that any botanic garden and ex-situ site plays two fundamental roles in any given culture and society, a) a pedagogic one, b) an agent of conservation for endangered species. They have to conserve what is going out, and they have to tell and teach people about it. In Rimbun Dahan you can find approx. 2000 trees, with more than 600 species of plants, many of which are critically endangered and cannot be found in any other location.

During his stay in Rimbun Dahan for the next couple of months as a resident botanist, Pan will be cataloging and recording all the species of plants, figuring out which ones need more attention, help establish the necessary course of action needed to maintain and propagate them, while documenting the whole process in a rich and easy format to be used for education. It’s about giving out the necessary tools and knowledge to make plant conservation a personal responsibility, while showing that not only is it easily done, but is also probably the most effective long term course of action!

 We are all connected to each other, more than ever before, and all it takes is some time and patience to actually make a significant contribution. A bag of soil, a couple of seeds, the preservation of a species. He would like to show that, while using Rimbun Dahan as a great example of the potential this sort of management and philosophy to plant conservation can truly achieve.

Charis Loke

Charis Loke

Charis Loke (b.1991) is a Malaysian illustrator and educator from Penang that will be joining us for April and May. Drawing upon literature and visual culture, she makes pictures that evoke wonder and curiosity, depicting fictional worlds and current issues with a deft combination of traditional and digital media. She is interested in the relationships between word and image as well as how images communicate, enhance, and subvert narratives.

As an illustrator working in imaginative realism, I have long been aware of the lack of Southeast Asian representation in mainstream science fiction and fantasy, despite the richness of the region’s history and myth. And yet: given that so much imagery in SF&F is based on Western symbols and iconography, how can one make genre art without relying on those tropes? How might we use influences from other cultures in an engaged, respectful manner? How does one deal with the danger of falling into an Orientalist mode of seeing, of exoticising foreign, unfamiliar things?

Beginning from October 2018, Charis has grappled with those questions in the form of a project named Kejora: sketches, stories, and characters from where the stars meet the sea and wandering roots run deep. It is fantasy inspired by the confluence of cultures in contemporary Southeast Asia and informed by current issues. Exploring themes like the resonance and dissonance of characters with their communities and what it means to feel at home, Charis will continue to further develop some of those sketches and vignettes into fully realised paintings during her two-month stay here in Rimbun Dahan.

You can find more of her work on her website here.

 

Dipika Mukherjee

Dipika Mukherjee

Dipika Mukherjee (Malaysia) is an author and sociolinguist. Her work, focusing on the politics of modern Asian societies and diaspora, is internationally renown. In the past years, she has given a keynote at the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Conference (Bali, 2017), juried at the Neustadt International Literary Festival (USA, 2018), spoken at the Hearth Festival (Wales, 2018) and the Singapore Writers Festival (Singapore, 2017); she has also given public talks at the University of Stockholm (Sweden, 2018) and the International Institute of Asian Studies (Netherlands, 2017).

I have a very personal stake in telling Malaysian stories, especially those that promote social justice. I believe that the growing intolerance of our world today (in Malaysia, India, and the US) requires voices to advocate for tolerance with stories that span our imperfect, violent world and not merely shine a light on a particular region or nation or race.

Ode to Broken Things, Dipika’s Man Asia Literary Prize-longlisted debut novel, is set against the religious and ethnic conflicts simmering in politics and explores notions of nationalism and citizenship in Malaysia.

During her residency here at Rimbun Dahan, Dipika will be conducting a workshop called A Picture; A Thousand Words. Reviewing ekphrasis (the art of writing about images), this workshop will look at how art has inspired writers in the past by focusing on writing inspired by paintings and imagery. Then participants will review a number of Malaysian visual art on display at the Rimbun Dahan gallery to write poems and short prose. All writing levels welcome.

 

Ruth Marbun

Ruth Marbun

Ruth Marbun (b.1985) is a visual artist based in Jakarta that works much with the depiction of deconstructed figures as a form of her profound interest towards human behavior in connection to the inner self and society as paralleled issue. She embraces details and subtleness from the patterns in life such as imperfection, contradiction, resistance, and honor it as part of growth and process.

Her mini-solo exhibition with Clear Gallery Japan at Art Jakarta in 2018 questioned how family is portrait as sacred value with picture perfect quality in the heritage of her Indonesian root and the contradictory that it causes, creating a void and distance with the natural being of human and relationships that truthfully come with flaws and mistakes.

“One is A Million” is a mixed media installation that she presented at #Perempuan exhibition in Melbourne on December 2018 as part of a group exhibition featuring emerging contemporary artists from Indonesia. The work is an open proposal to add perspective in the construction of value towards women in modern society, to give credits not only to the quantified achievements but also in the daily act and resistance that are more inclusive for women, who are dealing with different circumstances in life.

Ruth has also been exhibiting in Kyoto, Jogjakarta, Osaka, and recently Sydney at Darren Knight Gallery with Indo Artlink and John Cruthers featuring her recent works in textile medium, where she has been extending possibilities from the limitation as a familiar medium off her fashion background to a new approach and narration in the current art practice.

During her residency at Rimbun Dahan, Ruth will be focusing in documenting her experience of working and living closely with nature, something in contrast to her upbringing as a city inhabitant. She will be recording the process through visual journal and also creative writings, which embodies intuitive observation and attentive interaction towards the environment during the one-month period stay, engaging in a reversed rhythm from her regular practice that relies on momentum and practicality. The course of adaptation is often taken for granted for being wired automatically into the operational system as human, despite its importance as an essential survival virtue that advances us from other species. Ruth considers the state of newness and to look elsewhere is a far-reaching of understanding the element of absence inwards, that will create new possibilities off the mundanity as a result from updating to an extensive context.

Ruth will be our Southeast Asian Arts Residency artist for a month in February. You can check out her Instagram here.

 

Ajim Juxta (Raja Azeem Idzham)

Ajim Juxta (Raja Azeem Idzham)

Ajim Juxta is a pseudonym and a stage name for Raja Azeem Idzham (b. 1983) as a frontman for his band. He came from a family that has a strong art and music background and was enrolled in Architecture school only to find that it is lacking as a channel for him to be artistic. He had delved into various form of arts before focusing on fine arts and exhibiting widely since 2011. Ajim has also won various awards and received residencies since his journey as a full time artist. He was the recipient of Khazanah Nasional and ACME Studio Art Residency Sep- Dis 2017 and Beneficiary for Emerging Artist Incubation Funding 2018 under CENDANA.

As for my practice as a visual artist; music, science fiction and Architecture remain as  interests in developing my ideas and the way they grow organically and they are at times a respond to my surroundings. From drawing, painting and making installations I have find ways to express the ideas of the future in a dystopic manner hence it became the visual language and the tone that define my work.

You can check out more of his works at his Instagram.

Syarifah Nadhirah

Syarifah Nadhirah

Syarifah Nadhirah (b.1993) is a Malaysian based artist, who is constantly unearthing means to present her work in ways that people can relate to. Her interest in Art has spurred since childhood and her background in Architecture only inspired her to delve even more into the comfort of painting and the quest to explore herself as a visual storyteller. Oftentimes she finds herself going against the grain whenever seduced by the world of practice as she was always tinkering with creative projects such as holding workshops at Urbanscapes 2017, Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival 2018 and Bank Negara’s Women in the Arts Bazaar while drafting floor plans. There is always a challenge to break free from the structural disposition and manufactured schemes that she was used to, hence dabbling with experimental ideations only made sense when she practiced Architecture, which also gave birth to her co-founded creative company called Paperweight Studio.

She mainly uses watercolor and ink in her creations, particularly influenced by elements of water and human relationship with nature. Though, in a residency setting at Rimbun Dahan, she looks forward to an extended time alone to immerse herself in focusing on exploring another old form of art which is lino cut printmaking, a manifestation of labour of love and executing a purposeful thought process rather than the final product. Having perpetually lured by the lush green surrounding her neighbourhood, it is not uncommon for her to reflect that in most of her work. But, the need to recount these green forests became more prevalent to her as the ever-changing urban planning takes over vast lands throughout the years. She is mostly, or rather entirely interested in the current ripples of the perilous state that the Orang Asli (Indigenous People) here in Malaysia has to adhere to, of whom are susceptible to deceit and neglect, even from those who run the country. She hopes to engage in a series of dialogues with them and form a reiteration of appreciation for their unwithered spirit and love for their land.

Syarifah Nadhirah will be with us as a Southeast Asian Arts Residency artist for three months starting from February 2019. You can check out her Instagram here and her Behance profile here.

Johanne Lykke

Johanne Lykke

Johanne Lykke is a Danish visual artist living and working in Copenhagen, Denmark. Johanne is with us in February as an Open Residency artist.

“I work with a feminist approach towards abstract painting exploring the idea of the feminine, its materiality and the meeting between feminine and masculine art traditions. Through monumental spray paintings and watercolours I investigate a soft, transparent materiality in painting on paper. With a minimalist use of the spray paint, I challenge its wellknown grafitti aesthetics. In watercolours, I work with immediate, fluidity which, through its scale, aim to question the medium’s associations to its amateur, lower status in the art world as well as a “ladies’ medium”.

As an artist-in-residence at Rimbun Dahan, I wish to expand my western perspective by exploring the Malaysian color traditions and batik techniques. I will be researching connections to the idea of the feminine in South-East Asian visual cultures and hope to find new inspiration during my stay as well as creating a dialogue between eastern and westerns perspective on femininity in art.”

You can check out the artist’s instagram here.

You Belong to Night by Wong Xiang Yi & Rojak Aesthetics by Chuah Shu Ruei, Rimbun Dahan Residency Exhibition 2019

You Belong to Night by Wong Xiang Yi & Rojak Aesthetics by Chuah Shu Ruei, Rimbun Dahan Residency Exhibition 2019

Rimbun Dahan presents You Belong to Night & Rojak Aesthetics, a two-woman show by Rimbun Dahan Yearlong Resident Artist 2018, Wong Xiang Yi and Rimbun Dahan Half-year Resident Artist, Chuah Shu Ruei.

Xiang Yi contemplated her relationship with nature, her tools and practice, questioned the elements in her works as a means to convey her messages to the audience and reinterpret the ‘female gaze’. “The medium or art form that an artist uses should be chosen because it is the best way to convey a message or idea. The best form must make a huge impression on people, but an artist should never fool the audience by creating form with no meaning.” The works in this series entitled You Belong to Night let the audience see the the youthful bodies through the artist’s eyes, in a dreamy and illusory effect.

Shu Ruei accumulated data and input from her collaborative projects with local communities and other artists which resulted in four installations that explored notions such as “the ideas of multiculturalism, interconnection, collective authorship/ownership, ever-changing composition and the relations between centre/periphery and art/craft”. The artist wants the audience to “feel comfortable, included and also to have a sense of belonging to, with and of the artworks” when they come to view the exhibition.

DATES: Sunday 20 January to Sunday 3 February

OPENING HOURS: Weekends 10am – 6pm; Mon to Fri by appointment only (email Xeem Noor at arts@rimbundahan.org)

Admission is FREE. You can find the Facebook event page is here.

At 9 am on 3 February, Angela Hijjas will be conducting a tour of Rimbun Dahan’s grounds and traditional village houses.

 

Dương Mạnh Hùng

Dương Mạnh Hùng

Dương Mạnh Hùng (b.1991) is a self-taught translator, writer, and independent visual culture researcher based in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. Dương has always been fascinated by the discourse of modernities and nationalism in Southeast Asia and how it influences modern arts and literature stemming from the region. His current interests include, but are not limited to: comparative dialogue between Southeast Asian modern arts and literature; translation as a mode of existing and understanding for visual production; Hispanic & Iberian linguistics; and historical and sociopolitical networks between Vietnam and the regions of Southeast Asia and Latin America. Dương is also one of the co-founders of Cultural Community Discourse (CCD), an initiative based in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) that aims to connect local and regional researchers to the Vietnamese public via talks, workshops, and other educational platforms.

During his one-month residency at Rimbun Dahan, Dương wants to explore the concept of ‘landscape’ as depicted in 19th-20th century Malaysian literature and painting and how ‘nationalistic’ natural landscape becomes a mixing space for different forms of modernity in the peninsular.

Clara Chow

Clara Chow

Clara Chow (Singapore) is the author of two short-story collections: Dream Storeys (2016) and Modern Myths (2018). The former was born out of interviews with Singapore architects about their imaginary buildings, while the latter reworks Greek myths in Singaporean settings.

Her work has also been published in the likes of Columbia Journal, Asia Literary Review, Cha, Litro and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS). In 2018, she was awarded Prairie Schooner‘s Jane Geske Award for her story “Siren (Redux) by Haley Tien-Warrior – 25th Anniversary Oral History/DJ Cliffhanger Remix – MUST LISTEN! THE FEELS…Awesome…”.

A former journalist and arts correspondent, she has taught creative writing at Nanyang Technological University and English literature at the Singapore University of Social Studies. She co-founded the online literary and art journal WeAreAWebsite.com in 2015. 

Clara is a writer in our Southeast Asian Arts Residency program of 2018. At Rimbun Dahan, she is working on a joss-paper novel, meant to be burnt after reading. The work will explore taboos associated with book-burning, funeral rituals and Asian superstition.

Links to stories online:

“Bare Bones”

http://columbiajournal.org/fiction-by-clara-chow-bare-bones/

Excerpt from “The Wheel”

https://www.asiancha.com/content/view/3385/692/

Excerpt from “Siren (Redux)…”

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/686564/pdf