Esplanade Presents | Visual Arts

Visual Arts


Phan Thao-Nguyen (Vietnam), Sarker Protick (Bangladesh) and Sim Chi Yin (Singapore)
19 Jan – 1 Apr 2018
All day
Jendela (Visual Arts Space)
Artist Talk by Sarker Protick (Bangladesh) for Relics
20 Jan 2018, Sat
2 – 3pm
Jendela (Visual Arts Space)

Artist Talk by Sim Chi Yin (Singapore) for Relics
20 Jan 2018, Sat
3 – 4pm
Jendela (Visual Arts Space)

The works in this exhibition engage with the colonial legacies and independence narratives of the region to draw attention to obscured histories and landscapes, while imagining alternatives to accepted truths.

Sarker Protick has been exploring and photographing regions that witnessed extensive migration of minority populations after the 1947 partition of India and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. His series Exodus focuses on the little documented districts abandoned during that time by Hindu landlords who left East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh), in part due to confiscation of their properties via controversial land acts. These derelict, once monumental feudal buildings have now been taken over by nature and enveloped into the daily life of the villages that surround them.

Inspired by her family history, Sim Chi Yin’s research and photographic project One Day We’ll Understand explores an aspect of the Cold War in Southeast Asia that is rarely spoken of. Seeking out stories behind the 1948-60 guerrilla war against the British in the Federation of Malaya that emerged in part from anti-Japanese resistance during World War II, Sim travelled to China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia to interview and photograph people from her grandfather’s generation, together with their treasured personal effects and the landscapes that they remember.

Phan Thao-Nguyen’s video installation Tropical Siesta and painting series Education of a Poet is set in the Vietnamese countryside and loosely inspired by tales from the 1651 text History of the Kingdom of Tonkin by French Jesuit missionary and father of romanised Vietnamese script, Alexandre de Rhodes. The children in her work are depicted as autodidacts who solemnly perform re-invented narratives with objects from Phan’s richly imaginative visual iconography. Untethered from the strictures of historical legacy, their actions suggest how the authority of received wisdom might be disrupted by the possibilities of free play.

Phan Thao-Nguyen (b. 1987, Vietnam) uses painting, installation, video and performance to explore tropes of social conventions, history and tradition in contemporary society. A graduate in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she has exhibited widely in Asia. A 2016-2017 Rolex Protégée, she was mentored by artist Joan Jonas. Phan is also part of the collective Art Labor, which explores cross-disciplinary practices and develops art projects that benefit the local community.

Sarker Protick (b. 1986, Bangladesh) makes work that explores the possibilities of time, light and sound. His portraits, landscapes and photographic series engage philosophically with the specificities of personal and national histories. His work has been exhibited in London, New York, Paris, Germany, South Korea, and Dubai, among other places. A recipient of the 2015 World Press Photo Award and the 2017 Australian Photobook of the Year grand prize, he is also a faculty member at Pathshala–South Asian Media Institute.

Sim Chi Yin (b. 1978, Singapore) focuses on history, memory and migration through the mediums of photography and new media. A Nobel Peace Prize photographer for 2017, she has exhibited at the Istanbul Biennale, Photoville in New York, Objectifs Singapore and Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art in South Korea, among other venues. She does commissioned work for publications including the New York Times Magazine, Time, and Harpers. A finalist for the 2013 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, she was awarded a Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights fellowship in 2010.

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