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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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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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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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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Tomtandio
CoBo has just published my interview with Indonesian collector Tom Tandio: “Is life about discovering oneself, or is it more about building oneself? If there is an activity which can respond to the evergreen nature/nurture question, that is art collecting.

In the process of grappling with their own identity through art, the best collectors understand that acquiring art is not simply an individualistic pursuit. It is rather about becoming part of an artistic ecosystem, which they can help nurture. Indonesian collector Tom Tandio exemplifies this attitude, modelling an ethic which makes the entire system grow.”

Here is the link to the interview

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charcoal

I have contributed an essay titled “Rules, imagination, and magic powder” to the catalogue of the Drawing Future exhibition at CushCush Gallery in Bali. My words are in the very good company of texts by John Andrews, Mella Jaarsma and Natalie Sprite.

A few words on CushCush Gallery; this is an alternative platform for contemporary art and design in Denpasar. Suriawati Qiu and Jindee Chua have founded the gallery to share art and design with their local creative community, general public, as well as generate conversations with international artists and creative people.

Within the gallery many initiatives, the Charcoal For Children program is a social project that put together 6 working artists and children in 3 sessions, to create collaborative artworks together. As the name suggests, the yearly program focuses on Charcoal as the medium, to foster creativity amongst children. I have been honoured to have given my small contribution in the form of a write-up about creativity to such an exciting project!

Here’s the pdf version of the essay

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Fyerool

My interview with Singaporean artist Fyerool Darma has just been published on CoBo Social. Fyerool works with the forgotten histories of Singapore, drawing from its Malay past. We have recently seen his work at Art Stage Singapore, at the art center Objectifs and in the Singapore Biennale.

Here’s the link to the article

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Jimbo

CoBo Social has published my interview with Indonesian artist and member of MES56 Jim Allen Abel, also known as Jimbo. I interviewed him in Singapore during Art Stage 2017 and he shared about his background and art practice.

Here’s the link to the piece

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