The heart in art

15 May 2017
The Straits Times, Education, Page B10

Sharon Chrysilla Gunawan, Diploma in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing final year student

This month, more than 1,500 graduating students from local arts institutions LaSalle College of the Arts and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts will be holding showcases of their final-year projects and graduating pieces. They will be graduating with degrees and diplomas in a variety of disciplines, ranging from fashion design to art therapy. The various graduation shows will run from this month to June at the schools’ respective campuses. Ng Wei Kai reports on four graduating projects that reflect the passion and creativity of students from these two arts schools.

One project is about helping people with mental issues through art, another is about expression through the avenue of art. Two other projects are linked to fashion, with one seeking to make clothes a better fit for people with disabilities and the other trying to empower women by giving them control over their clothes.

Provoking a response with ‘pocong’ mats
Standing 3m tall and flanked by his vividly coloured “brothers”, the imposing image of a ghost on a prayer mat is the distinctive centrepiece of Mr Muhammad Asyraf Said’s final year project. The 21-year-old, who has a congenital disorder that causes facial disfigurement, is from this year’s graduating class of the Diploma in Fine Art at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa). Each piece in his work consists of a “pocong” (Malay ghost) set on layers of Arabic script. Two of them depict the ghost over a prayer mat. The densely layered script consists of transcribed quotes from people around him, words that stuck in his head because of the unique way the speakers chose to phrase their thoughts.

“To me, this reflects life - little things adding up to one big thing.” Mr Asyraf took about a year to finish the pieces, but his relationship with art has been a constant throughout his life. “Making art is not a conscious decision. It’s just something I have always done,” he said. Taking inspiration from the bold works of American tattoo artist Grime, Mr Asyraf has sought to provoke shock while also keeping his works accessible.

Empowering women to do what they want
At just 19, Ms Sharon Chrysilla Gunawan is no stranger to the corporate world. Having started an accessory brand at age 15 before running her own company at 17, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) student has been immersed in business for much of her teenage life. For sure, she had to overcome no small amount of discrimination. “I have heard a lot of ‘You cannot do this. You’re too young or you’re a girl, you can’t run your own company’,” said Ms Gunawan, who will graduate with a Diploma in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing this September.

Such remarks have served as the motivation behind Ms Gunawan’s latest work, her fashion collection titled “UNDRCVR Heroine”. Building on the concept of “enclothed cognition”, the idea that what you wear shapes how you feel and behave, Ms Gunawan seeks to empower women through the use of comfortable materials and distinctive designs. “When they wear this garment, I want them to feel like they can do anything they want,” she said. Her work features multiple size options and zippers down the length of the pieces, allowing wearers to control how much of their skin to show.

View the full article here.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.


Sharon Chrysilla Gunawan, Diploma in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing final year student

Muhammad Asyraf Said, Diploma in Fine Art final year student