Step Up at Art Stage Singapore
Duration: 22 – 25 January 2015
Venue: Marina Bay Sands, Expo and Convention Center Singapore.
Since its establishment in 2008, Galeri Chandan has always anchored its undertakings to transform Malaysian art into a cultural asset. As a commercial entity, it has not only showcased works by established and emerging artists, but Galeri Chandan has also participated in numerous community art projects as part of its efforts to nurture a conducive ecosystem within the local arts scene. Bagging the Most Promising Asian Gallery at Prudential Eye Awards 2014, Galeri Chandan has to date featured 347 artists throughout 92 exhibitions held in 12 cities around the world.
Sharing the same enthusiasm for the development of the arts, Jada Art was founded in Singapore in 2011 as a platform for emerging Asian artists. Committed to cultivating and building long-lasting relationships, Jada Art discerningly selects the artists it represents and conscientiously nurtures and supports promising artists so they are well exposed in the international art scene. Jada Art currently represents 26 artists from 8 countries.
The theory that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” was at the back of their minds when they first mooted the idea of collaborating. Whilst each may be established galleries from two cities, they share a common passion in celebrating Southeast Asian art.
On this occasion, guided by a shared vision to promote Malaysian talent at Art Stage 2015, the combined synergy of Galeri Chandan and Jada Art prompted “Stepping Out”, which honours the talents of four artists – Marvin Chan, Chong Ai Lei, Chong Siew Ying and Kow Leong Kiang. Each of them has established a firm footing in their careers and the social commentaries in their works are heavily influenced by the diverse culture of their surroundings, celebrating the multi-racial mosaic of Malaysia.
Artists are excellent visual communicators and their powerful works of art not only invite interaction from the viewers, but also sparks an engaging dialogue. In this age of freedom of expression, it is invigorating to see how these artists are able to individually express their observations and successfully transform their thoughts and inspirations into fascinating artworks with insightful narratives.
Marvin Chan (b. 1972) was an award winning art director at a leading advertising company before making the switch to become a full-time artist. The beauty of his works lies in the elaborated narratives presented in multi-layered, multi-medium, two-dimensional pieces; the final presentation of which is a result of technical expertise in the use and mix of mediums, coupled with a precise technique and execution. Fascinatingly, his narratives emerge in every step of the process: he suggests that not everything in life can be laid out meticulously in a specific logical sequence, and in our repeated attempts to make sense of everything in our lives, we add layers of varying perspectives, inevitably adding to the overall complexity. With each layer, Marvin peels the viewer away from the latter’s own perception to reveal his points of view instead.
A graduate from Kuala Lumpur Dasein Academy of Art in 2005, Chong Ai Lei (b. 1985) has kept a consistent focus on individual female figures in a private setting – preoccupied, playful and fully at ease. With an element of voyeurism, Chong Ai Lei’s works invite viewers to discretely observe the woman’s sensuous demeanour languishing in her own space; and straying slightly from the conventional style of portraiture or figurative art, she cleverly captures this age-old tradition of painting and places her subjects in the context of modern day women. Chong Ai Lei was one of the five winners of the Malaysia Emerging Artist Award (MEAA) in 2011, and has since progressed to create more captivating images on canvas. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, and was also featured at the START Art Fair at London’s Saatchi Gallery in June 2014.
Chong Siew Ying (b. 1969) studied Fine Art in France for eight years before returning to Malaysia with her first solo exhibition in 1998. She spent a couple of years in the USA, and continued to travel between Paris and Kuala Lumpur until 2011, when she participated in a large number of group and solo exhibitions across the USA as well as Europe. Her works express both the eastern and western influences simultaneously, through vibrant brush strokes and compositions. A visual poet and a restless travelling soul, her expanded horizons are elegantly articulated through broad themes of nature and human emotions against the backdrop of homeland and belonging. Other than winning the 2002 The Young Contemporary Art Award, National Art Gallery of Malaysia, Chong Siew Ying was also a finalist in the 2005 Sovereign Art Asian Prize in Hong Kong.
Kow Leong Kiang (b.1970) is an established figurative painter. His strength lies in his depiction of human emotions, creative conceptualisation and refined technique. Known for his portraits of female beauties from the rural East Coast Malaysian states of Terengganu and Kelantan, he captures the ethereal beauty and serenity of traditional Malay ladies – the subtlety of their body language, and the nuances of their delicate movements. Lately he has expanded into painting nude figures and portraits of well-known individuals. Kow graduated with a Diploma in Fine Art from the Kuala Lumpur College of Art in 1991.
The union between Galeri Chandan and Jada Art embraces intelligent ideas and shared goals, and celebrates the hard work, success and diversity that comes with it.
What can be achieved together is exponentially greater than what can ever be obtained independently of one another. It is this great synergy that is one of the many catalysts that will undoubtedly shape the progressive art scene of Southeast Asia.