New Makers

Ong Si Hui, Shayne Phua, Carmen Ceniga Prado, Fa Wuthigrai Siriphon and Nucharin Wangphongsawasd

The term ‘maker’ embraces notions of the direct involvement of the artist’s hand in creating and giving form to matter. In contrast to the conceptual or dematerialized turn in art, ‘making’ centres the intimate bond between hand, eye, heart, mind and material. Entwined with this approach is the idea of a continuous journey of mastering one’s chosen medium and craft. This slowness, or suspension of time invested in the joy of shaping things with one’s own hands, is an antidote perhaps, to the anonymous, mass-produced items typical of a time-scarce economy. The made object can also be construed as a solid anchor in a time when everything is set adrift: values, culture, relationships, ways of life.

In recent years, approaches and forms more conventionally associated with the sphere of ‘craft’ have entered the contemporary art lexicon. This shift in artmaking and thinking -- with its emphasis on materiality and the sensory, physical attributes of objects -- has broadened the sphere to include works from disciplines previously only tangentially acknowledged by art history, such as design, and the decorative arts. Importantly, this expanded field honours the time-honed skills of the maker, and creates space for considering the practices of creators previously excluded from the ‘canon’, allowing their work to speak equally as culturally signifying objects.

New Makers presents works by five young artists: Shayne Phua, Ong Si Hui, Carmen Ceniga Prado, Fa Wuthigrai Siriphon and Nucharin Wangphongsawasd. In their respective practices, materials or techniques previously abandoned in favour of the machine-made, or the conceptual / dematerialized turn in art, come to the fore, given new relevance by the application of new approaches to making. Blurring the lines between creative disciplines, and the boundaries between art and craft, the works of these new makers challenge the conventions of their respective mediums, and dissolve the borders that divide materials, culture, and history.

Siuli Tan

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