Southeast Asia, Figuratively Speaking. August 28 - Oct.6, 2013
Location: The East Gallery, 334 Dundas Street West, Toronto
(across from Art Gallery of Ontario)
Special Events: Free talk about the changing media landscapes in Canada and Asia
Thursday, August 29, 5.30 pm. RSVP
Closing Party: Thursday, October 3. 5 - 9 pm.
The human figure is at the center of this exhibition of eleven leading contemporary Southeast Asian artists. While some artists focus on themselves, their past or their relationship with others, others reflect on the impact of the tectonic economic, political and cultural changes in their countries.
Living in a rapidly changing society, some artists will take refuge in reflections about their childhood or their country's past, which can sometimes be nostalgic and at other times haunting. Dinh Thi Tham Poong's intricate, vivid and poetic watercolour paintings capture her youthful days growing up as a member of a Vietnamese ethnic minority on the border with China.Cambodian artist Hour Seyha's evocative paintings of children in the countryside are derived from his own personal experience as a child in a refugee camp in Thailand and working illegally outside his native country as a teenager. His fellow countryman Pen Robit uses an enamel paint drip technique to portray the turbulent inner lives of Cambodians affected by their country’s violent recent history.
Other artiststs reflect about themselves and their relationship to others. Using a small singular photo as the building block for larger pieces, Cambodian artist Heng Ravuth constructs an aggregated self-portrait which he then attacks aggressively by scraping and burning away at the image he has built of himself. Oeur Sokuntevy, or Tevy, explores the relationships between the sexes and her role as an independent woman and artist in a changing Cambodia, while Vietnamese artist Nguyen Minh Thanh uses the self-portrait as a vehicle to examine the person and universal concepts of identity, connectedness and an evolving spirituality.The exhibition also includes a self-portrait by Ha Tri Hieu, one of the founding fathers of Vietnamese contemporary art
Lim Khim Katy of Vietnam draws her inspiration from the challenges facing women in modern-day Saigon through her expressionistic, emotive portraits of the urban poor. The paintings of Yan Naing Tun from Burma equally reflect today's society. He uses a monochromatic palette to portray ordinary people at the tea shop, or after work, on the edge of uncertain tomorrows. Winner of 2012 National Dogma portrait competition Ngo Van Sac uses both a wood burning technique, along with carving, painting and collage to capture the unique spirit of aging Vietnamese people as well as young people gathered at the local coffee shop.
The spiritual and dreamlike portraits of Vu Thu Hien from Vietnam are reminiscent of classical Japanese watercolour compositions while Burmese artist Maung Aw paints striking pictures of ethnic minority children in Burma.