Newsletter #8, Jan/Feb 2016: Continuity
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Sushi Ten restaurant

The sushi place was exactly as I remembered it.
I’d go there with my friend Aneesa, a couple of times a week. We weren’t doing so well, or rather, we were being treated badly by the ridiculously expensive and mismanaged Australian art college where she was in the ceramics department, and I was in sculpture. During my final year there, some tutors stopped showing up for classes, and there was talk of shutting the heating off in the studios during winter, to save money.
A lot of students went to Sushi Ten, in Port Phillip Arcade on Elizabeth St. The food was good, and cheap. You could get a proper lunch for under ten dollars, and for an extra dollar, unlimited tea refills from slim silver thermoses placed on every table.
Ten years later, the tea was still good – a clear toast brown, earthy and astringent, like a liquefied autumn day. The thermoses had not changed, and, incredibly, neither had the prices.
The Tofu Don burnt my tongue, the taste so familiar that it was like springing open a latch, and the 25 year-old me leapt across the passed decade into my mouth, making me catch my breath.
Today, Melbourne is the sixth most expensive city in the world. Ten years ago, it was cheaper than New York, which currently ranks a modest 26th. On a perfect summer’s day in November last year, I walked Melbourne’s CBD and thought the pace more manic, the flawless blue sky more crowded with high-rises. There were perhaps more people living homeless on the streets. I met up with an old friend – ambitious, talented – who was wracked with anxiety and debt.
In Sushi Ten, it seemed as if nothing had changed. As ever, there was nothing extraneous; everything was functional, and extremely clean, from the floors to the red chopsticks in their stainless steel canisters. Students sat alone and in groups, their faces bathed in steam rising from pork cutlets over rice.
I kept stealing glances at the husband and wife behind the counter. They weren’t much different – he was calm, she was harried – both looked a little older perhaps. Together, working in the restaurant they’d built and cared for, they had rhythm, and style.
I want to work like that, I thought. A house of service with a path leading out and ultimately back to itself. Steady. Continuous. Everyday. Wearing change like a coat that gets more beautiful with time.
Tofu Don

Latest Updates

(Goh) Sze (Ying) interviews Sharon (Chin) about taking part in APT8 (8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art)

SAT, 20 Feb 2016, 4:00 - 6:00PM
Awe Gallery
21, Jalan 20/13, Taman Paramount, Petaling Jaya
(5mins walk from Taman Paramount LRT)
Google Map

This is a sharing and dialogue session in the form of an interview between Sze and Sharon. 

Come if you (are):

  • an artist/art worker
  • interested in art/the art world
  • wondering what an art biennale is/means/does
  • need professional perspective on the process of taking part in a biennale (what curators are looking for, getting selected, negotiating fees and sales, etc)
  • thinking about power and money in relation to art
  • want to share info about the upcoming Kuala Lumpur Biennale

You’ll get a small picture notebook to scribble in. Please bring a pen/pencil. RSVP by email or on the Facebook event so we know how many to print.
Whisper of the Heart
'When I think about last year, my mind turns to mash - I can't remember if I did a thing five months ago, or two years ago. Why do the days of 2015 seem like a solid block I can't enter, where I can't see myself in time?  One possible reason is that I tried to be at least three different people simultaneously...'
- Things I Did in 2015
Weeds at APT8
'Simplicity is the keynote of many of this year's displays, as artists opt for a single image that tells a multitude of stories. Malaysian artist Sharon Chin has painted silhouettes of weeds over a set of political banners, suggesting that the will of the people will keep reasserting itself, like these ineradicable plants.'

A review of APT8 by John Macdonald in the Sydney Morning Herald summarizes my work nicely in just a couple of sentences.
Hell Dog sketch
I'm back to working on sketches for Zedeck Siew's 'Local Fauna and Flora' stories, which I started at the beginning of last year. Later these will be turned into linocut prints. Yes, it will all eventually become a book. Follow along on Tumblr or Instagram for more (if you desire).
Art stuffed envelope
New to the mailing list? Here lies the vault of past newsletters. 

#1, Dec 2014: The Blank Page
#2, Jan/Feb 2015: The City at 4.30AM
#3 Apr 2015: Dear Janet
#4 May 2015: What I'm Reading
#5 June/July 2015: Eyeball Slaves
#6 Aug/Sept 2015: Art Class
#7 Oct/Nov 2015: Corn Pudding

The Unseen Files

Drawing or writing that I don't post anywhere else online. 
Ghost in my own house sketch
When I was in Brisbane for the opening of APT8, I sketched Melati Suryodarmo doing her 12-hour performance 'I'm a Ghost In My Own House' (2012) because we weren't allowed to take pictures. 
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