In Conversations

In this showcase, the Teacher-artists collaborated to use clay as the anchor medium and explore its intriguing interactions with other materials. Continue reading to find out more about their inspirations and process!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

STAR: Some view clay as a traditional art form that is sidelined in contemporary art. Do you think that is the case? Why did you choose clay as the medium?

H, K & C: While we give due respect to the traditionalists and marvel at the potter’s dedication to the art form, we feel the need to learn and explore clay’s potential as a versatile and tactile medium. We hope to add a softer touch to the dominantly heavy and sturdy form in conventional ceramic vessels and sculptures. Working with clay has undoubtedly drawn out the mirthful and spontaneous spirit in us. From rice paper to fabric, we explored various possibilities “interacting” with water-permeable materials during the art-making process.

We feel the need to explore clay’s potential as a versatile and tactile medium.

STAR: Would you encourage fellow art colleagues to collaborate more often? Why so? What did collaboration bring to the artwork that could not be achieved working individually?

H, K & C: Yes, we would encourage collaboration. Not only does collaboration challenge us to think, articulate and shed light on our experiences, it also allows us to share our views and find the optimal solution to our problems. Moreover, it provides a safety net by helping us to catapult our thinking and develop ideas which ensure ongoing growth for each other.

Learning and working with others helps us to explore our identity as both a learner and a teacher, which enhances our capacity to venture beyond our comfort zones and grow. Collaboration also allows us tap on skills of our colleagues and build upon their strengths. We can acquire these skills and practice them in our own fields, so that we can look at things from a new perspective and make improvements that we would not have discovered working individually.

STAR: How has your experience in the classroom informed your work? Conversely, what has the work revealed to you about being a Teacher-artist?

H, K & C: First and foremost, our experience in the classroom has trained us to constantly reflect and improve on our process of art-making. Our minds, used to the rigour of questioning and evaluating in the classroom, are always debating, exploring and challenging every possibility to elevate the artwork. In addition, we have learnt how to manage the tight timeline. During the period when In Conversations was created, all three of us were preoccupied with exams and school duties. We also had travel plans during the December school holidays. The situation trained us to manage time well and stay focused on the task. Last but not least, we had a wonderful, engaging and fun time constructing our artwork. We communicated often and enjoyed the time spent on discussions, sharing of ideas, sketches and searching for creative solutions to overcome our problems.

During the making of In Conversations, we straddle the roles of teacher and artist. As teachers, it is fulfilling to impart knowledge and educate minds. At the same time, it is humbling and exciting to adopt the growth mindset and learn again as an artist.

You can view In Conversations at the SOTA Art Gallery from 4 March to 13 March 2020.

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