Syed Fakaruddin

Syed Fakaruddin

Visual artist Syed Fakaruddin is undertaking a 3-month residency at Rimbun Dahan from September to December 2020. During his residency, he is developing a series of works exploring the three layers of landscape painting: background, middleground and foreground. Each layer has a different expression and technique, depending on mood, memory and the residency environment.

About the Artist

Syed Fakaruddin (b. 1989, Malaysia) is a Malaysia-based artist who works mainly in painting, sculpture and installation. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in 2012 majoring in sculpture. Syed Fakaruddin is inclined toward equipping himself as a multi-disciplinary artist by actively challenging himself in various techniques, less-conventional media and thought-provoking ideas which are strongly drawn from his surroundings.

Being receptive to nature, Syed Fakaruddin uses metaphors in his art in an attempt to evoke emotions, offer different perspectives and often challenging his audience’s comprehension in a self-reflective manner. He sees himself as a creative story-teller who soaks up interesting stories based on his own experience, being both the muse and the observer.

Syed Fakaruddin was named as one of the grand winners of the Malaysia Emerging Artist Award 2019 (MEAA) and selected as the finalist for the ‘Bakat Muda Sezaman’ contest organized by the National Visual Arts Gallery. Currently, he is practicing art in Ara Damansara.

Silver Yee & Chloe Tan

Silver Yee & Chloe Tan

Malaysian dance artists Silver Yee and Chloe Tan are in residence at Rimbun Dahan for a month in October-November 2020. Here is what they’re working on:

“Since the MCO, we have been spending way more time behind our screens. Both of us recognized the importance of bringing ourselves back into the present moment by moving. Through exploring different exercises and movement practices, we are hoping to connect ourselves and our body the best we can, giving ourselves the space and time to feel, dance, and explore the most. We are also documenting our daily practices and short movement phrases created, intending to make it as a journal of our process.”

 

About Silver Yee

Silver Yee is a Malaysian contemporary dance artist. She graduated in Cultural Studies and Criticism (MA) from Graduate Institute of Dance, Taipei National University of the Arts. During her MA study in Taiwan, she has performed works for local and international artists, including Remember Not to Say Goodbye by Lucas
Viallefond, But You Didn’t by Jack Kek, Thought and Voice of the Body by Kathyn Tan, Mary Wigman’s ‘Dance of Death II’ reconstructed by Henrietta Horn, and Unspeakable by Su Shu. In 2017, she made her choreography and production debut Kill Your Darlings, with Jason Yap in klpac indicine. In 2020, she collaborated with Kyson Teo and Lim Thou Chun to create a full length site-specific performance piece Where Souls Meet at Kluang. As a dancer and arts administrator, she has toured internationally including Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Scotland.

About Chloe Tan

Chloe picked up dancing after she finished her Degree in International Business and graduated from ASWARA with a Diploma in Dance. Afterwards she worked as a full-time performer in a musical called MUD: Our Story of Kuala Lumpur. After returning from a working holiday in New Zealand, Chloe has been performing with a modern circus group called Psycusix since 2017. She also participated in various projects/productions including Choreolab in Wellington (2018); Dancing in Place at Urbanscapes (2018); In/Out, a devised physical theatre (2019); Kandang (2019); her very first shadow play experience with MasaKini Theatre Company, Wayang: Mak Yong Stories (2019); and Rashomon (2020) as co-movement director and actor.

Tan Dee May

Tan Dee May

Dee May is the founder of Plates, a biannual print publication that uses food as a conversation starter for meatier issues.

Dee May recently launched her third issue, Plates, Vol.3: Water, supported by the INXO Arts Fund Foundation. During her three-month residency at Rimbun Dahan from October to December 2020, she will be working on the foundations of Plates’ upcoming issues (Vol.4 and Vol.5) as well as experimenting with potential side dish projects.

Having transitioned from a pre-Covid workflow—which often included working remotely from various locations, be it on the floor of a longhouse or transcribing in a garden while feeding the mosquitos—to a stay-at-home vacuum, she hopes her time at Rimbun Dahan’s kebun will revive that inertia that has jump-started many of her past stories, inspired by spontaneous conversations and interactions with space, nature and everyday ingredients.

About Plates

Plates is not just another cookbook nor is it a glossy food magazine. There are no celebrity chefs, CEO interviews or restaurant reviews. Instead, Plates seeks out the hidden figures and underreported human stories in everyday ingredients. In the current local and global climate, where animosity towards “the other” continues to grow, she believes in the power of food to transcend socially constructed barriers. Her hyperlocal and globally relevant stories speak to niche audiences in various pockets around the world—from Boston to São Paulo, Milan to Singapore, Langkawi to Christchurch.

About Dee May

Dee May is a recipient of multiple awards, including the international Chevening Award (2016); the national INXO Arts Fund Award (2019); the international Can Serrat Writers Residency (Montserrat, Spain, 2020/2021); and The Ideas Festival documentary award (Brisbane, Australia, 2011). She has previously been invited to speak at the Singapore Writers Festival (2019); AMAR Conference (Windsor Castle, UK, 2017); Runway 2.0 Asia Pacific supported by BMW (Kuala Lumpur, 2015). Her next speaking engagement will be at the upcoming Umbra Institute Biennale Food Studies Conference (Perugia, Italy) where she will present her paper on microaggressions in food writing.

IG @platesmagazine @deemaytan
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Tan Lay Heong

Tan Lay Heong


Lay Heong is a visual and performing artist based in Penang. After completing her Associate Degree of Visual Arts from New Era College in 2007 she then pursued her Bachelor of Fine Arts at National Taiwan University of Arts, graduating in 2011. Her practice focuses primarily on installation art and shadow play performance which largely involves reused object and found materials with the goal to promote and encourage the idea of upcycling.

In 2015, Lay Heong co-found Plasticity Theatre Troupe, a contemporary shadow play performance group which uses only reused material to create their puppets and sets (pictured above). The troupe often touches upon socially-related topics such as environmental awareness and human rights issues in their works. The troupe has been touring their works in various place locally and internationally.

One of her latest installation artworks was the solo exhibition A Real Fake Forest (pictured above) which talks about environmental degradation due to human actions and which was featured in George Town Festival 2019, Hin Bus Depot Penang, and BELANG Exhibition 2020 at Penang State Art Gallery.

Joining the Rimbun Dahan residency, Lay Heong intends to expand her efforts in environmental care by merging natural materials around her residency surroundings in a shadow play which talks about to the energy and strength of nature (work in progress pictured below). As we live in turbulent times during this pandemic crisis, we need energy to keep us going and stay strong. Lay Heong believes the wisdom of nature is something we should learn to appreciate and the connection with nature might help us to retrieve the energy of life.

Shiela Samsuri

Shiela Samsuri

Shiela Samsuri, 2020, Wandering Collecting Archiving Unfolding (Unfinished Painting)

Malaysian artist and architect Shiela Samsuri joins us for a month-long residency in August 2020, as part of our Southeast Asian Arts Residency series.

About the Artist

Shiela Samsuri (b. 1989) received her training in architecture. She leads R+, a research unit of GDP Architects, which focuses on ways of living in the changing context of our environment and impact from technology. Shiela is also a visual artist, a parallel trajectory that she believes stems from her postgraduate years understanding the language of lines. Her works have been exhibited at many contemporary art shows such as SH/FT 2019 and a finalist of the Malaysia Emerging Artist Awards 2019. At her best, Shiela is a human being who contemplates aspects such as shadows, sun and skin. She has always thought of projecting them into lyrical poetry, the way the late Sapardi Djoko Damono does, although she can never reach such depth (and she’s okay with it). And so she resorted to writing bullet points, drinking lots of good coffee and curating Spotify playlists. She spent the year 2019 collecting tarmacs around her neighbourhood for introspective reasons, however the year 2020 turns out slightly different than expected…

More info at shielasamsuri.com.

Current Work at Rimbun Dahan

Wandering, Collecting, Archiving, Unfolding

A drawing language exercise where one wanders around Rimbun Dahan, collecting things that have fallen onto the ground, microscoping them to understand their discreet patterns (and sometimes unseen lives), archiving and unfolding them into drawing iterations and narratives.

Before Your Very Eyes (an entry for ArtScience Prize 2020 by Academy of Sciences Malaysia)

A collaboration project with a marine microbiologist that draws upon social stratification as exemplified through microorganisms interaction where different characteristics of water is used as a way to look at boundaries and social class. This is an entry for ArtScience Prize 2020, currently on-going, organised by Academy of Science Malaysia.

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Some things are better left unsaid.

Anna Tan

Anna Tan

Anna Tan is currently undertaking a residency at Rimbun Dahan from August to September 2020.

About the Author

Anna Tan grew up in Malaysia, the country that is not Singapore. She is the author of two fantasy books, Coexist and Dongeng, and has short stories included in various local and international anthologies.

When not writing, Anna is the treasurer for the Malaysian Writers Society and heads the group in her hometown of Penang. This really means that she nags them into turning up for write-ins and critiques, then wrangles them into submitting for NutMag, an annual zine published by MYWriters Penang. Anna was once a certified and chartered accountant with a big 4 firm but has given up on annoying bean counters in general. She now likes to annoy other wordsmiths by correcting their grammar.

In 2019, Anna completed an MA in Creative Writing: The Novel at Brunel University London. She is interested in Malay/Nusantara and Chinese legends and folklore in exploring the intersection of language, culture, and faith. She can be found tweeting as @natzers and forgetting to update annatsp.com.

 

Current Work-in-Progress at Rimbun Dahan

Anna is currently working on the first (millionth) rewrite of The Weight of Sin, the culmination of the Absolution duology.

The first novel, The Weight of Strength, is a high fantasy retelling of Samson and Delilah set in a magical Malaccan Sultanate-esque world that draws on Nusantara culture, language, and imagery. Terang has fallen, its people have been taken captive. Raja Muda Mikal must prove himself and discover a way to liberate his people, even while he struggles with his own faith in a silent God.

The current WIP, The Weight of Sin, follows the restoration of Terang two years on. Mikal, now Sultan, must fulfil the Perjanjian Garam to restore God’s protection over Terang. He sets out on his pilgrimage to Suci with fear in his heart and death in his soul—and the hope that his sacrifice will save his people. Tulen sets out on a similar pilgrimage, seeking absolution for causing the death of her brother. But the road to Suci is fraught with danger—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Soon, both Mikal and Tulen must decide for themselves: what lengths will they go to in their quests for absolution? The Weight of Sin explores the concept of absolution—and weighs the merits of simply offering sacrifices for atonement versus obedience to the scriptures.

 

Excerpt from The Weight of Sin

Finding a new job is not easy when your ex-boss has circulated your name and crime to all the nearby restaurants. It’s the third morning since I lost my job and I’ve already been rejected by most of the restaurants near my place. I’m also using too much of my money on food. If I’m going to have enough for rent, I’m going to have to turn to drastic measures.

Mak will be so disappointed in me.

I slip into the back of the Temple, ignoring the clamour in my head as the bells toll. If cursed is the hand who kills, then it wouldn’t matter if that same hand also stole, would it? It couldn’t be doubly cursed, could it?

Not here, Tulen, I tell myself. You don’t do anything bad near the Temple nor near the Justice’s Quarters, not where there are dozens of stern-faced women around who know your name and your face and can read your thoughts, no matter how hard you try to mask them.

I concentrate on the Uskup who is droning on ahead, praying to Kudus for the restoration of Terang, while I try to slide shields around my thoughts. Aunty Rahsia taught me this four years ago—the basics of it, at least. She said that it was important for me to learn, especially with the promised strength of my gifts—and then Mak died and Aunty Rahsia got her dream job and disappeared out of our lives, the very way she told Mak off for doing to us. Well, she’s not a blood relative anyway, just Mak’s friend.

It still hurts.

A Justice in front turns around, eyes scanning the crowd and I slam my shields up. I must succeed this time, because her gaze passes over me without pausing. She looks a little puzzled, then turns back to the service.

What did I let slip?

I suppress my thoughts and practice monitoring those of the people around me. The tall, thin man in front of me is wondering if his wife is cheating on him. The lady next to him, whom I assume must be his wife, is trying to calculate if they have enough to pay for their son’s school fees for the next month. The fat lady next to me is thinking about dinner. Hah. Mak Ros, that nosy old bawang, is somewhere on my left, wondering if that degenerate girl is up to no good. My cheeks burn.

Aaaand this is why you don’t eavesdrop on people.

The Uskup mentions Suci and I perk up. He’s praying for Kudus to confirm the appointment of a new Uskup Agung. I frown. Hasn’t he been praying for that for the last six months? I mean, the old one has been dead for almost a year. I know because he died two months after Telus did, just when he was supposed to come to Impian.

When the Uskup starts on Sultan Mikal and the Bayangan Raja, I take that as my cue to leave. It means he’s about to end the service and I don’t want to be caught hanging around by more bawangs who may or may not remember Mak and ask me what I’m up to these days.

Nothing good.

I shut the thought down and slip out of the Temple. My feet take me to the market, partially because I’m hungry, partially because I don’t know where else to go. The crowd in the market is perfect for hiding me, and it’s not where I’d be likely to find a Justice. I work through lifting my shields again, so that no one can read me. I don’t bother trying to add a covering projection, because that takes too much energy and concentration.

And you’re not very good at it.

Shunting that thought aside, I work on listening to the thoughts around me, trying to pick an easy mark. It should be easy, right? And Kudus can’t curse me twice, right? All the Paderis I’ve ever talked to say that all sins are alike to Kudus so if I’ve sinned once…

The fat lady from the Temple crosses in front of me. She looks like an easy mark. She’s still distractedly running through recipes in her head—ooh, curry chicken sounds lovely—whilst tallying the amount she has in her purse—she has a lot of money. Now she’s thinking about whether she should get pastries for the brat, whoever that is, as well. I follow her around the market as discreetly as I can, but can’t seem to find an opening. She keeps her bag too close to her, makes too many unpredictable moves.

I spy a likelier target. My second target proves a better choice. I manage to slip a hand in her basket and score a nice sausage bun. She doesn’t even notice.

With a little more confidence—and practice—I walk away from the market that morning with enough food for the next two days. No money though. My fingers are not that nimble, and it seems that Impianans are more careful with their purses than they are with their shopping bags.

This is only a temporary measure, I remind myself. Once I get a new job, I won’t have to steal anymore. I just need to conserve as much money as I can so that I will still have a place to stay. I don’t doubt that Pak Baik will kick me out the moment I’m late in paying, no matter what his name actually means. I mean, look at the name I got stuck with. You don’t expect a murderer to be called pure.

I spend the rest of the day receiving more job rejections. One even has the audacity to chase me out of his restaurant. Maybe I need to consider a change in careers.

Hwa Wei-An

Hwa Wei-An

Photo by Nicholas Chung @nicchunglowWei-An has spent his whole life falling down; it’s a by-product of perpetually thinking he can do more than he actually can, whether that meant trying to spin on his head or backflip before he was ready, or learn how to snowboard on his own. And though he may not be the best at those activities, he’s become quite good at falling. He has, in fact, built his contemporary practice around his love-hate relationship with gravity, and the connections this relationship has with the psychological state of flow.

Out of this practice, Wei-An created The Art of Falling during his first residency at Rimbun Dahan in April 2018. This work has since been performed in Malaysia, Northern Ireland, and South Korea. This period also saw Wei-An begin working on translating the movement language of action sports – freeride mountain biking in particular – into a dance form, during a residency at Dance Nucleus in Singapore, with mentorship by Arco Renz (Belgium).

Currently, Wei-An is building on these two lines of inquiry, to develop a full-length solo that continues to delve into falling, freeriding, and the flow state. (Working title: A Reason for Falling)

He will be working on this solo at Rimbun Dahan throughout the month of July 2020.

Since mid-2017, when Wei-An started working as an independent artist, work has taken him to places such as South Korea, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and most recently, Luxembourg.

On top of his choreographic and performance work, Wei-An organises an annual event called Paradigm Shift in Singapore. First held in 2017, the event brings together street and contemporary dancers in an experimental jam and competition, aimed at discovering creative opportunities that arise when these dance forms interact.

Note: A Reason for Falling is being co-produced by Dance Nucleus (Singapore).

You can follow Wei-An on his Instagram and found out more on his website.

Ella Wijt

Ella Wijt

Born in Jakarta in 1990, Ella Wijt’s interest in art began at a young age through drawing and painting. She graduated from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago majoring in Contemporary Studies and Painting. Ella enjoys cleaning her home, exploring the garden and working alone in her studio, walking with her thoughts in rather quiet surroundings, in which everything seems normal, nothing stands out, although the space is physically crowded. Ella enjoys a space that reveals itself over time as she is living with it, not seeking attention but longing for intimacy which requires all senses. Her work mainly explores topics on mythology and womanhood expressed through painting, sculpture, installation and photography.

Ella has been working on an installation project called BUMIDUNIA, a series of research and work that she began in 2012. BUMIDUNIA is the mothership of all her works, where she sees it as a collaborative work between her current environment and herself. It is play, it is a question that leads to another question, it is a challenge, and it is mythology. It articulates history and language through its artifacts, which include drawings, modified objects, found materials and images which become her studies about the world in which she lives. It meanders through re-imaginings of objects that may seem familiar to humans but delve into the uncanny. Familiarity shifts and distorts through material transformations, accessing broader psychological recollections in humans. BUMIDUNIA is also the foundation of her childhood dream – a library and home for collected objects where people could imagine, explore and discover the new. This dream would become Rumah Tangga, an artist-ran space and library in Depok, West Java, where she lives and works now.

At Rimbun Dahan, Ella is looking for new questions while exploring the gardens, learning about plants, biodiversity and their relationship with human beings. Ella hopes to create works that communicate with and honour the land, collaborating with what she finds and learns here. Ella is our resident artist in our Southeast Asian Arts Residency program.

You can find more of her works on her website and Instagram.

Nhi Le Phuong

Nhi Le Phuong

Nhi is a visual artist based in Saigon, Vietnam. Her work ranges from performance and installation, explores themes of human instinct, humans relation with space and time through mixed mediums and familiar objects with potentially metaphorical meanings. Discovering new methods of experiencing art for spectators and broadening the spectrum of Performance Arts are her long-term subjects. Nhi aims to create a spiritual and safe art place where the audience can confront their inner selves and egos.

Social structure is determinant of the individuals’ action, people act in a refined and mature human manner, but there is also the “naturally inclined” self, the “deeper” self – a state of being, instead of a state of mind. She believes our bodies are unique “containers” where our souls live and these “containers” will return to the earth eventually. The only thing that belongs to us is our soul and its connection with the world we live in. Her art practice focuses on evoking critical thinking towards one’s true self and redefining values that shape behaviours within the social system.

During her 1-month residency at Rimbun Dahan, Nhi will be working on artworks about human relationship. The time away from her home is an opportunity for her to gain a profound understanding of the role of human connection in modern times.

You can find out more about her works at her Facebook and Instagram.

 

CC Kua

CC Kua

CC Kua (b. 1991, Malaysia) is a Kuala Lumpur based artist who focuses on contemporary drawing or painting. Sometimes, she just walks around. Born in Sungai Petani, Kedah, CC obtained her BA (Hons) in Graphic Design and Illustration, The One Academy (degree conferred by the University of Hertfordshire). She then pursued her MFA from the Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts, Taiwan.

Through her works, she attempts to make people ‘see’; often like a peeping hole, the viewing experience can be quite exciting, intimate or nothing. Most of the time, she is inspired by daily life happenings including her dreams. She creates casual mise-en-scène by laying out characters, shapes, colors, lines… which is merely to please the eyes and sometimes herself ­– the story comes later, or no story at all. However, when she is very sure of a picture or concept, she transfers it from her mind to a surface precisely. CC Kua views society as a big loaf of bread, while the majority is heading towards totality or meta-narrative (the big bread), her passion as an artist is to pick up the bread crumbs (fragments or values that have been left behind). Of course, it is just a metaphor, she doesn’t eat the bread crumbs…

‘I wander, I wonder.
I observe, I execute.
Sometimes, I just observe and record.’

CC Kua will be our Southeast Asian Arts Residency artist for 3 months starting in January. To learn more about her works, visit her website and her Instagram. You can also read these articles written about her and her works :

 

https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/culture/2019/06/14/artist-cc-kua-exhibition-painting-lostgens

https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/people/2016/08/09/artists-work-to-sting-like-a-mosquito-bite