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

Deborah Augustin

Deborah Augustin

Deborah Germaine Augustin is a writer trained in narrative fiction. During her MFA in creative writing, she discovered an affinity with the lyric essay and has been experimenting with the form ever since. She draws inspiration from Hilton Als, Leslie Jamison and Alexander Chee. Her work engages with migration, otherness, hybrid and postcolonial identity, the fantastic, and Southeast Asian myth.

In 2018, her lyric essay about immigration and racism in the United States was shortlisted for the Chautauqua Janus Prize and the Writers at Work competition in the nonfiction category. In 2019, she was admitted to the Orchids Without Attached Thighs writing workshop.

Since returning to Malaysia from the United States, she has taught creative writing and creative nonfiction at the university level. She has also taught and facilitated creative writing outside of academia.

During her 2-month residency, she will be working on creative nonfiction essays about family, truth, and monstrous femininity.

You can find out more about her works here or follow her on Twitter.

Afi Noor

Afi Noor

Afi Noor (b. 1990) is a poet based in Kuala Lumpur. She has read and performed in Singapore, London, and participated in 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of KCL’s King’s Players. She ran Spill the Ink Poetry Lab, a monthly poetry workshop as part of SpeakCityAsia’s initiative, connecting established local and international writers with budding homegrown poets. Her poems are published in a chapbook called Ten Poems (2012) and featured in Kisah Journal by PUSAKA, Asian Centre Anthology of Malaysian Poetry in English, Rambutan Literary and When I Say Spoken, You Say Word Anthology.

Her current project, She Brings Monsoon aims to explore ways to capture the multifaceted essence of a Kelantanese Malay woman. By taking on the journey to dig through her own personal and shared narratives, rediscovering the vocabulary of the region, and grappling with the twists and turns between tradition and modernity, her poems took on the role to inform undocumented stories of hijabi and Kelantanese. These poems also try to investigate the possibilities – and limitations – constructed within the two languages: English and Kelantanese. These limitations will be further explored through body articulations as a performance poet. Her choice to don the hijab further enforces her artist statement – how much power does this cloth has, and can that power be depatriarchalized through unconventional states of the body?

Afi Noor is here for 2 weeks as a resident writer in our Southeast Asian Arts Residency program. She intends to use the time away from the city and familiar faces at Rimbun Dahan to write new writings related to her personal history. The natural surroundings and the visceral experience of staying in an actual kampung house may help her to be more aware of her senses and body as a Kelantanese Malay woman.

You may find more of her updates at her Instagram or the hashtag #afinoorwrites

 

Works: 

Sambal in Rambutan Literary (2017) https://www.rambutanliterary.com/issue-three-afi-noor—sambal.html

Mother Prepares the Ritual in Rambutan Literary (2017) https://www.rambutanliterary.com/issue-three-afi-noor—mother-prepares-the-ritual.html

 

 

 

Kim Ng

Kim Ng

Kim Ng is an artist and art educator based in Kuala Lumpur.  He works with a variety of media and art forms such as mixed media painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, drawing, and installation work.  Kim Ng did his Diploma in Fine Art from Kuala Lumpur College of Art, and then pursued his Fine Art BA honours degree at London Guildhall University, London.  He further completed his MA in Design and Media Art from the University of Westminster and MA by Project from London Metropolitan University, both in London, UK.  He has exhibited locally and abroad and taking part in the International art workshop in Southeast Asia countries like Taiwan and Thailand, and also local artist’s residency. Kim Ng currently teaches Printmaking and Sculpture at Dasein Academy of Art, and he is also the Head of the Fine Art department.

Working as a multidisciplinary artist, Kim Ng explores his concern on memory, relocation and dislocation, social phenomenon and human conducts through various materials, methods and artistic style. Through collecting information and material from the place we live, Kim Ng works with the direct fact that happens around us through various resources to define who we are and projecting the issues and questions in the course of the visual language that associates with each individual’s experience. His practice reflects the subjective way of seeing and thinking in the process of art-making, building up a vocabulary of feelings through materials and its visual representation.  Kim Ng’s works never settled into one way making, the variation in materials, art forms and methods of making keeps him stimulated and engaged with his art-making.

Kim Ng is here on a 3-month residency under our Southeast Asian Arts Residencies program. You can find out more about his works at his Instagram.

Linh Valerie Pham

Linh Valerie Pham

Linh Valerie Pham is an interdisciplinary storyteller based in Hanoi, Vietnam. She is interested in movement, puppetry, breath, pretty words, ugly words and all things magical. Her aim as an artist is to tell stories in a way that disrupts and destabilizes order. Valerie believes in the power of narrative, the tremendous impact of representation and lipsticks. Her works have been showcased at AgoHub (Hanoi), VCCA (Hanoi), The Factory (HCMC), Soul Live Project (HCMC), Center for Performance Research – CPR (New York), Dixon Place (New York). Valerie is the founder and artistic director of Mat Tran Ensemble – an inclusive performing arts collective. She and her ensemble have received support from SIF. Prince Claus, Frida – the Young Feminist Fund and more.

At Rimbun Dahan, Valerie will continue her development of burn/city – a solo project which comprises of semi-autobiographical accounts, forlorn wishes, and dreams and nightmares. The first phase of the project was completed at A Space for Experimental Arts, Vietnam this July. She is our resident artist in our Southeast Asian Arts Residencies Program.

You can find out more about her and her works at her website and facebook.

 

 

Cheryl Salvador

Cheryl Salvador

Cheryl Salvador is a spoken word artist from the Philippines. She is part of White Wall Poetry, a collective of poets who aim to revolutionize and elevate this artform through writing workshops and open mic events. Some of her pieces were included in chapbooks such as “These Spaces,” “Banyo Chronicles,” and “In or Out.” Together with her group, she used to hold monthly writing workshops for those who want to try spoken word. She also organizes and performs at various events in the Philippines.

There’s poetry in tiny moments. It can be as ordinary as a crack in the sidewalk, as warm as a campfire, as bare as an empty street corner, or as marvelous as a sunset. They become fragments of memories and stories that are dying to be told. This is what I hope to capture as I make it a habit to attune myself to my surroundings, which has been a challenge for someone who lives in a busy city and a digital world where all sorts of distractions are just at the tips of my fingers.

My poetry has seen a lot of changing and evolving – from cheesy lines when I was just starting to write, to the exploration of trauma and healing as life forced me to grow up, and to pieces that speak of gender equality and human rights. At this stage, I’m experimenting with the fusion of prose poems and mobile photography to record split-of-a-second connections I make all around me; these, I realized, allow me to feel grounded in the moment. Spoken word poems accompanied by music as a form of storytelling are also in the pipeline to push myself out of my comfort zone.

The road to improving my craft is never-ending. I’m still finding and getting to know my own voice, who it was and what it wants to be. This residency at Rimbun Dahan is my opportunity to give myself the focus and time it desperately needs to do just that and to produce new works from all the inspirations I would get there.

Cheryl is our Southeast Asian Arts Residency artist this August 2019. You can find more of her work on Instagram.

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.