Aida Dolrahim, Aiman Hakim, Aisha Ramat, family, ideologies, love, Marriage of Convenience, Nicholas Chai, orthodox society, peers, personal gain, reality, relationship, sexuality, social issues, standard
You are cordially invited to the opening of
A Marriage of Convenience By Aida Dolrahim, Aiman Hakim, Aisha Ramat & Nicholas Chai
The exhibition run from 19th August to 30 August 2009
About the Exhibition:
A Marriage of Convenience’ is aimed to bring about social issues affecting not just Singaporeans, but people in general. It is to set a message, NOT of non-compliance, but more towards having a voice and not simply conforming to a certain ‘standard’ society deems fit. It also allows the viewers to simply escape with the artists projected notions of desire or have an insight towards a more plausible future.
Brief description of project: Wikipedia defines ‘a marriage of convenience ‘(plural marriages of convenience) as a marriage contracted for reasons other than the reasons of relationship, family, or love. Instead, such a marriage is orchestrated for personal gain, to hide ones’ sexuality in cases where being openly gay is punishable or potentially detrimental, or some other sort of strategic purpose. Similarly, ‘A Marriage of Convenience’ looks at the output of a group of artists dealing with issues concerning the idea of oppression, and static conformity, being moulded into something that Singapore’s conservative and orthodox society in general, deems as acceptable, suppressing ones desires, resulting in closeted obsessions. Organized as part of the cultural activities surrounding Indignation 2009, ‘A Marriage of Convenience’ also addresses and explores the notion of ideologies and ideals while questioning their relation and impact to the current reality.
My ongoing works deal with the idea of the representation of ‘an ideal’ with regards to the current reality. Paintings, for me, have always been a break from reality; pushing towards fantasy, a journey that i have not yet fulfilled, a dream that I have yet realised. Paintings on the other hand, also helps an artist narrate a tale, questioning a current reality, issues that are at play, helping one convey his inner thoughts and opinions of topics that needed to be brought to light. My artworks, repeatedly involves the use of iconic representations of ‘a perfect man’, staged in various situations to reflect and bring about issues that have either affected or involved me one way or another. These iconic representations, whether consciously or otherwise, have always been presented to us since childhood, through toys, mass media, even bedtime stories that have been passed down for generations. Using these as my subjects, my paintings deal with issues that have either affected me on a personal level or simply regarding topics that have been dormant or neglected over the years, particularly due to it being taboo or not wanting to deal with the ‘consequences’ if discussed about. The subject of conformity, ideologies and stereotypes dominate my works. With that in mind, i simply believe that conversation and discussions fosters tolerance and understanding, and that is simply what i would like to achieve from my paintings. On the other hand, my artworks act as a visual journal, immortalising new perspectives and lessons that i might have discovered and learned from, through my everyday experiences.
My inspiration derives from any events, occurrences and observations in my life that conjure profound emotion in me that I find the need to share to others. My subjects are mostly figures and gestures. Other than I have a keen interest in figures and human expressions, I also believe that in order for others to relate to humanly emotions and senses, they have to recognize, relate and experience what they are seeing. I jot down any ideas, sketch and photograph any visuals that I find stimulating and utilize them to help me finalize the concept of my work. Simultaneously, I expose myself to changes occurring during work execution and oil or acrylic on canvas helps me to do that because they give me freedom to explore, manipulate and evolve.Currently, I am executing a series of paintings which I will call, ‘The Two Finger Series’. In this work, I seek to redeem and glorify the significance of two fingers whether as symbolism or a statement. Everybody knows the ‘V’ sign as a symbol of peace and some people may recognize it as a symbol for victory and not many knows that it can be taboo and insulting to certain cultures. The ‘V’ sign also symbolizes the womb, vagina, the chalice and the Holy Grail. If you would put the ‘V’ on your mouth with your tongue sticking out, it then transformed to a symbol known as cunnilingus. Without the ‘V’ sign, the two fingers can be used to hold cigarette, to point, to salute, to insult, used as sexual object and many more wonderful, strange and explicit things others can think off. I aim, with this work, to pay a tribute to the two fingers that we have, yet we often undermine, forget or refuse to acknowledge the significance and importance of them in many people’s lives. These two beautiful fingers that are capable of giving gentle love, happiness and pleasure, can also be forceful, offensive and destructive. Peace.
In his ongoing series of work, Nicholas depicts moments whereby the objects of desire are fully engrossed in embrace. He attempts to reveal his subjects’ self-consciousness. They are aware that they are being watched while blissfully engaging with each other and yet paradoxically, they deal with insecurities they have with their own identity and coming to terms with their own sexuality. He crops them in an attempt to relieve his subjects from the discomfort and uncertainty that might come with the viewers’ gaze. The subjects in his paintings are as much figures of loneliness as they are objects of desire. Moments of longing for another are pondered upon. He believes that our mind is most available for fantasy when we are dreaming and yearning. He intends the seductive palettes of red to stir up sensuality that cannot be touched. Hence, all the more desired his subjects become. These works are his attempt to express memories and desires in relation to loneliness. They are personal concerns arising from the issues of self-awareness and the human condition; particularly of childhood, adolescent, sex and love. Nicholas seeks to make his audience more aware of the intimate and mundane nature of the passing of time, the time that we spent with people or alone in seclusion.
Aida Dolrahim‘s works address female identity within the themes of fantasy and folklore through the appropriation of a fictional world. She reinterprets and recontextualizes common themes and symbols structuring the traditional folktale, with emphasis on the darker undertones as well as elements of horror, desire and suppressed eroticism and the violent subtext within children’s stories. In the works produced for this exhibition, she also looks into the irony behind consumerism related to the search for our perfect “happily ever-after”.
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