These are the drawings that carry the most stories. – Rischka
With her bright smile and her cheerful sign-off of “HAPPY CNY!” in her reply to STAR’s email, Rischka Syafiqa Putri Jonawi emanates the sort of joy and affability that makes you want to sit down and have lunch with her. Willing to learn and experience more every step of the way, she is eager to discover new methods and concepts to realise her artistic ideas. Her sincere care and concern for her students are evident through both her words and her work. Rather than restrain herself to simply the role of a teacher, she both works alongside and learns from her students as well.
So by embroidering these discarded and forgotten drawings, I’m giving them the attention that they deserve. – Rischka
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
STAR: Could you elaborate on why you chose to embroider, and why you used your students’ drawings?
Rischka: Embroidering is something new to me, to be honest. I am trained in Printmaking. I think my interest in embroidering started in 2018 when I was prepping my 4NT Art students for their Art Portfolio submission. One of them shared that he would like to embroider one of his pieces. I knew nothing about embroidery but his interest in it made me interested too. We kind of learnt to embroider together.
I think the act of embroidering for this work is to give time and effort to the drawings that are usually discarded. These are the drawings that carry the most stories, I feel. For example, I had a boy vandalise the school table with little portraits of masked superheroes. The vandalism is wrong, of course, but he had put in time, effort and thought in them. So by embroidering these discarded and forgotten drawings, I’m giving them the attention that they deserve.
STAR: In your opinion, how has a performative approach contributed to the overall idea of your work as compared to a static piece?
R: I never thought of doing a performative piece when I embarked on this artwork. But the idea of performing, again it gives these drawings the validation that they deserve.
STAR: What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about being a teacher-artist?
R: Something challenging would be being a teacher first. I often struggle between wanting to do something for my craft and having something that I need to teach the students. I guess this present art process is the most rewarding because I take inspiration from my students’ drawings and put it in my own practice.
To see Rischka’s final piece, come down to the SOTA Art Gallery from 6 March – 15 March 2019.