Naima Morelli

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cambodiaspaces
In freelance writing there is a time to sow and a time to harvest. In the past couple of months I have written a few articles that have been published all in these last few days. It always a joy to see my words in print, so if you are around Singapore grab a copy of this month’s Art Republik.

You will find a piece on two very interesting art spaces in Phnom Penh, with my interviews to the fantastic Meta Moeng and Erin Gleeson, who are both greatly contributing in animating the local art scene.

Here’s the link to the pdf version of the piece

 

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pich

Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich is part of the show “Viva Arte Viva” by Christine Macel at the Venice Biennale. In this piece for CoBo – part of my report on this year’s Venice Biennale retrace the artistic vision of Pich to better understand how to look at his work in this international avenue.

Here’s the link to the piece

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LaniMaestro

Even though I have been quite critical of this Venice Biennale as a whole, I still love many of the artists who have exhibited both in the show and in the national pavilions. Lani Maestro, representing Philippines together with Manuel Ocampo, is definitely a favourite. I have been mesmerized by her capacity to unleash the evocative power of language through her neon installations. Cobo has published my interview with her, with the title: “Language Subverting Violence: Lani Maestro at Venice Biennale 2017″.

Here’s the link to the interview

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b3

One of the things that makes me happy in life are conversations with people, giving me kernels of wisdom and guidance that I can readily apply to my life and to the projects I’m bringing forward. Some of the people I talk with regularly and exchange opinions and mutual suggestions are my closest friends, Laslo, Roberto, Giovanna. Or family – my dad – though being an apprehensive dad who I know would always advise me for the safest route, or my uncle Uma Gargiulo, who I don’t see nearly as often, but every time we get to talk is a revelation; I end up walking home with a stronger sense of what I’m doing with my work and creative life.

There are all these people, and then there are the teachers. They are a different story from friends and family, because unlike them, they know me much less. Most importantly they don’t really want to enter my world, or are interested to really know my problems in depth. They rather offer their teachings, their world vision, their way of doing things, and give me feedback on how I’m doing on that path. For a chance, I have always considered a very good thing having people who are much less about understanding, thinking, talking, explaining, and much more about acting, doing, executing. You know, what makes for a prolific writer always open to doubt and reconsider the so-called “truth”, sometimes also makes for an indecisive person. To paraphrase writer Ryan Holiday: “If I was good at putting into practice stoic teaching I won’t have the need to study it. People who are already good at it just do it, they don’t need to conceptualise them and write about it.”

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seavenicebiennale2017

Here is my piece for CoBo on the Southeast Asian Pavilions at the Venice Biennale. This piece wasn’t easy to write and I have been quite critical – something I don’t usually like to be. But this Biennale really called for criticism, the way I see it.

Here’s the link to the piece

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SintaTantra

CoBo has just published my interview with British/Indonesian artist Sinta Tantra, who I visited at her studio at the British School in Rome, where she is doing a residency. As always, every interview is a chance to learn something and often times the words of artists resonate powerfully with my own life.

Here is the link to the interview

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a0
Derailing and getting back on track: story of my life. I’m the girl who is most fascinated and enticed by the idea of reinventing herself, of wearing new different clothes, of starting all over again as a blank slate. Thing is we are never a blank slate. And this is good in a way. My core is strong, and like Rogue from the X Men, I can absorb the powers of others, but my own personal power is in fact to absorb other people’s power. A bit of shameless pride: my superpower is imagination and the aesthetic alchemical transformation for things into beauty. It is about seeing the beautiful aspects in joy, pain, everything I decide to give my attentions to – pretty much like Rogue who absorbs the powers and memories of those who she touches.

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edwinjurriens
The magazine of the Asia-Europe Foundation Culture360 has just published my interview with Dutch researcher and lecturer in Indonesian Studies at The University of Melbourne Edwin Jurriëns. Edwin has just published a book with Routledge called “Visual Media in Indonesia”, where he analyses how in Indonesia, in the age of digital communication and global capitalism, people’s mental, social and natural environments are interconnected.

Here is the link to the interview

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banksyhotel

The webmagazine Middle East Monitor has just published my article on the controversial Walled Off Hotel by graffiti artist Banksy with the title: “Playing with sand in a sandstorm: Palestinians on Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel”. I gathered a few opinions on the subject, by three Palestinians involved in different way with art and an art blogger, then drew my conclusions:

“Banksy’s hotel provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the role of art in sensitive contexts, such as the situation in occupied Palestine. What art needs is not to be more witty or ironic. It should neither become didactic nor necessarily take sides. Artists need to have a heart and some empathy; a capacity and willingness to listen. In order to do that, though, they need to break out from the cage that is their own narcissism. This won’t make the art necessarily cooler, but it would make it more meaningful. More human, in fact.”

Here is the link to the piece

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EmiEu

For the next installment of the series “Heroines Behind Galleries”, CoBo has just published my interview with Singapore Tyler Print Institute’s (STPI) director Emi Eu. It was fun to write a profile, capturing the impression of the woman behind the institution. The interview is also part of my reportage on Singapore contemporary art, soon to become a book!

Here is the link to the piece

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laidieuhaI have been a long-time reader of the Singapore-based magazine Art Republik, so it has been above exciting to be a contributor for the latest Crossover Issue. Also, I might be old-fashioned, but as I much as I enjoy writing for online publications, to see my words in print is always a thrilling experience.

The piece is an interview with Vietnamese multimedia artist Lai Dieu Ha who – aside having the coolest name in the world – is also an artist with an extremely interesting and multifaceted practice. Besides, talking with her gave me a small intro to the Vietnamese art scene which I hope to explore more in-depth soon. Next reportage? Who knows!

Here’s the link to Art Republik’s website

laidieuha2

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6
These days life is white-hot, red-hot, glowing, incandescent. This excitement runs all over my body and my mind. It nourishes my spirit. Sometime I feel like those sparkling sticks kids hold in their hands on the first of the year. I feel empowered and harmonious. When I lose balance, I’m able to catch myself and correct course; if I happen to linger there, I try to deal with it with a stoic attitude, meaning, why let yourself be bother by something you can’t change? Or else, I try to convert the energy of rage or indignation into good energy, in the form of animated talks or laughs with friends.

This good energy runs through me while I’m heading towards the coffee shops I work at every morning. This is what was Tiffany for Holly Golightly; except that here they serve real breakfasts. I’m so revitalized getting out of the house in the fresh morning here, coasting the Aurealian walls, walking down the sunlit market of the working-class neighbourhood of Via Del Pigneto, watching kids from many different ethnicities going to school. The hurried or cheerful attitude of the mothers reminds me to the one of my own mother. I recall how was it to go to that terrible and yet so fundamental place which was school. And yet, schoolkids remind me how important is to feel to be on a learning path, and having buddies to share that experience with. I treasure that sensation that I experience elsewhere, walk in the coffee shop, order a cappuccino, and sit to do my work, an independent, solitary but beautiful adventure. Something that I have proudly built from scratches.

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