Naima Morelli

Archive
Singapore

Podcasts have been my constant companions since their inception, so I was thrilled when artist and journalist. Joana Alarcão interviewed for her “Insight of an Eco Artist” podcast.

In the interview I spoke a ton about researching Southeastasian contemporary art, my writing about art in the MENA region and even a little about my graphic novels, so the interview was divided in two parts.

Here is part 1 of the podcast

Read More

In Southeast Asia, several artists are looking deep into local traditions and narratives, giving the mythical and historical figures obscured by colonialism, patriarchy, and consumerism, their rightful place.

Their works challenge Western-centric and patriarchal narratives, opening up new interpretations for the viewers. Each artist is bringing forth a different yet very relevant narrative.

I wrote about four of my favourite artists from the region working on these themes for CoBo Social, but truly I’m thinking to write an entire book on the subject, or at least curate a show! In the meantime, here is a taste of it.

Here is the link to the piece

Read More

Can machines create value? And do objects have meaning if there are no humans around to experience them?

These are the questions that Singapore artist Gerald Leow has been grappling with in the past few months. If you’re based in Singapore, you might have seen his latest work while walking by Marina Bay Sands. Called Perpetual Motion, it’s a series of column-like sculptures with reflective surfaces that appear to be in constant dialogue with the skyscrapers on the bay.

I have to say that Gerald is one of my favourite Singaporean artists, and I have been following his work since 2015. Plural Art Mag has just published my article on his new exhibit:

Here is the link to the piece

Read More

“Before you start painting, you’re a person in flux, multi-dimensional and colourful. You decide what characteristics you want to embody as a painter prior to entering the studio each day, ” says Ruben Pang from his studio in Sardinia, Italy. 

I have interviewed the artist for Plural Art Mag for his new online solo show at Primo Marella Gallery.

Here is the link to the interview

Read More

The Singapore-based webmagazine Plural Art Mag has just published an interview with artist Justin Lee and Teng Jee Hum, one half of the Teng Collection, together with June Ong.

It was beautiful to learn how their synergies came together to create a one-of-a-kind show at The Private Museum in Singapore.

Here is the link to the piece

Read More

It’s always a privilege to be able to interview cultural figures I have been admiring for a long time. Since my first inception to Singapore, I wowed at the green architecture of the firm WOHA.

Thanks to a virtual show at Gajah Gallery, I have found out WOHA’s founder Richard Hassell is also an art lover and collector. He curated the show Complex Humour highlighting works by I GAK Murniasih and Yunizar.

Both artists present humourous works overlaid with much more difficult themes, as well as tribal elements.

Here is the link to the interview

Read More

The Australian webmagazine Artshub has just published my new piece titled “Why Singapore is the new gateway for the Southeast Asian art scene”

I had a steady collaboration with this amazing platform in the past, which started when I was actually living in Melbourne and carried on throughout the different changes of base.

It was interesting to connect my three years of research on the Singapore contemporary art scene with what I could appreciate last month during the Singapore Art Week.

Of course, my piece is very positive because it’s no mystery that I love Singapore and I have a lot of faith in the way things are developing there.

Here is the link to the article

Read More

How to talk about spiritual matters in a highly secularised, hyper-pragmatic society? This was the question artists exhibiting in the show “Pneuma: Of Spirituality in Contemporary Age” at the Stamford Art Centre in Singapore grappled with during the 2020 Singapore Art Week.

The webmagazine Qantara has just published my piece on the show.

Here is the link to the piece

Read More

I had the privilege to write the curatorial essay for the catalog of Neapolitan artist Sergio Fermariello’s new show “Warriors” opening tomorrow, 7 February, at Richard Koh Fine Art in Singapore. The piece is titled: “Hitting God’s Head with a Hammer Until It Breaks” – a poignant metaphor courtesy of genius Fermariello himself.

As a side note, when I first started working with the art scene in Southeast Asia, back in 2012, I could only hope more and more ties would create between my native Italy and that part of the world.

It has been incredible to see how these exchanges unfolded, and even more beautiful to see Italian artists experiencing the Southeast Asian art world, that has been so open and kind to me.

Read More

cover33
Robert Zhao Renhui

A definition of ‘artist’ according to my arts writer friend Donato is a person that is obsessed with something. However, as soon as artists become famous, you see this obsession wearing out or being somehow forced into a structure. Whereas over the years Robert Zhao has developed a team of people collaborating with him, I’d say his obsession is always there. He’s a total nature nerd, and you can feel his genuine obsession with it, paired with a strong conceptual background, which makes him in my opinion and in that of many other art critics, an incredibly powerful artist. Where you’d expect a snobbish, intellectual figure, you meet a very nice and considerate man who is really interested in sharing his passion and his work.

Read More

cover32

Donna Ong

Part of the charm of the forest is that it is supposed to be dangerous and mysterious. In this way you can still appreciate it but in a safe way. It’s an interesting metaphor about what is happening in Singapore. In the first chapter we have already talked about the work of Donna Ong in respect to the idea of tropical nature. We looked at “The Forest Speaks Back” which explored the idea of the tropics, by conveying two different points of view: that of the colonisers, and those of natives. Donna is interested in how the narrative for nature in Singapore has changed and evolved: “I think previously there was a lot of emphasis on the Garden City, so we had tropical nature but made it into a garden. A tamed tropical garden rather than a forest.”

Read More

cover31

Geraldine Kang

Earlier we have introduced the work of Singaporean artist and photographer Geraldine Kang. When I first came to Singapore for a month-long immersion of interviews and visits to art spaces, she was the first one among the artists I had planned to speak with. The intuition was good. Alongside allowing me to deepen my knowledge of her work, she also gave a good insight into the working conditions of the younger generation of Singaporean artists, their peculiar outlook and their experience in the art world. Geraldine was also teaching at LaSalle — we indeed meet in the school café — so she gave me a first hint of awareness of the conditions of the still-students, the yet-to-become-artists.

Read More