Creating art projects where the local communities can take part in, help me understand the multi layered relationship between people and their environment. A sort of social experiment, these short projects (often in workshop form) offers great insight for me, the outsider, to discover the commonalities between a particular community, location or environment that I am not familiar with and myself.
My daughter, Teja (she was called Teh-hah in the Philippines!) and I were selected by curator Dayang Yroala, to take part in Namamahay flash artist-in-residency project in Bataan, Philippines. As a mother-daughter duo, we made an art project that reflected the site (the resort we stayed in for 14 days) and worked with the local crafts industry, in this case it was mosaic craftswomen. We picked Casa Lubao as our site and worked with the craftspersons from the mosaic tile workshop to produce bespoke "plates". Each plate depicted a different story as they were meant to symbolised the past, present and future stories of Casa Lubao. The dining room became our space for the plates, where we hosted a dinner party to share all the stories over food. Intertwining
"...utilitarian objects served to link everyday life to the fabric of myth..."
The mission of this workshop was to create a space where people of different ages and background can create together. In Japan, I found its society is divided in terms of gender-based roles. The salary-man and the stay-at-home housewives who look after the children. It is normal practice for the women to assume all household and care-taking duties once she becomes a mother. There is a big need for alternative spaces where mothers can come together with their kids to share and learn, without feeling a burden to others.
With the help of the curators at YCAM, I pulled together a Malaysian food cooking workshop program.
I have observed that “food” as the medium has the power to connect people regardless of age, gender and background. Somehow, an empty stomach, brings us together as humans!
Also, as a Malaysian mother traveling with her daughter on this research to Japan, I felt that connecting relationships were a matter of survival
Padang Jawa neighborhood was originally a village that has been encroached by massive developments. It is now considered an urban fringe with families of low income where many of the kids and youths face daily hardships that come from broken homes and poverty. SERASI workshop program not only provides a platform for creative expression but also provides life skills that may prove useful to children living under these conditions.
We started off with discussions on what kind of video should we make. My group had a keen interest in techno music and wanted to make a music video where they could also perform their dance skills. We proceeded with simple tools familiarity exercises like photo-taking and story-boarding. On the 2nd day, we shot all the scenes needed for the music video. On the 3rd day, one of the group members focused on editing the video and it was presented to all the SERASI participants at the closing of the program.
This was a 1 day workshop for kids between 7-12 years-old to conduct basic data collection from local business-owners within their community.
In small groups, the kids along with one YCAM staff, walked to 2-3 shops to conduct interviews and documentation. After lunch, we re-grouped at YCAM where the kids now had to prepare for a presentation to a public audience at 5 PM. The mission of this workshop is for the child is undertake the tasks of a fieldwork researcher in order to connect with their surrounding community. Through the usage of recording devices like digital cameras and audio recorders, the child is able to separate themselves from the environment by taking on the role of an observer. This will allow for the child to extract what information he/she finds most interesting.
The last part of the workshop, where the child has to present his/her findings to an audience is to build their confidence of communicating their observations. By this strategy of turning the ‘student’(observer) into a ‘teacher’(presenter) reinforces the new knowledge that the child gained throughout his/her participation in this workshop.