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Dialogue With JACKLYN SOO

Jacquelyn is a versatile artist, accomplished in visual arts and music. She started her creative works as a Fine Art student in 1997, later obtaining her Degree (Hons) in Fine Art in 2005- 2006 at LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts where she was given a scholarship and travel grant to Hong Kong to pursue her artistic development. Jacklyn has also participated in numerous exhibitions in Singapore and internationally.

Jacquelyn has recently launched her self-published book of poems and drawings. She is the current Director and Curator for a newly-founded Art Society promoting the voices of Contemporary Young Artists in Singapore through varied platforms.

1. What spurred you to form SCYA?

During my degree course, I had noticed a lack of research and continuation of support for Contemporary Art in Singapore into the turn of the century. Singapore was focusing on other types of artistic endeavours such as design, architecture and films.

My immediate reaction to this was to build a database and portfolio of more than 100 young artists in Singapore that deserved as much attention as renowned designers and writers in Singapore. I was already in contact with more then 50 artists, and the rest was found through open calls and advertisement. Some artists could not meet the dateline of the submissions while some others did not have the quality that we wanted in the database. Hence the number of artists featured on our website was shortlisted to 23, which will be increased to 60 in 2011.

2. As a artist in this pragmatic society, how would you describe where Singapore’s art scene is at right now? Do you have any suggestions to improve the situation?

Singapore ‘s art scene is still in the same state as it was when I was a student in the 90’s. Funding is still given out but once a while it gets cut, censorship remains prevalent, art community is still dealing with the same issue of loss of history, absence of unity, sparring politics and lack of appreciation for their works.

Several factors that have changed is that Singapore is more globally-recognised than before. Art fairs have increased in number and galleries are more open about representing Singaporean Artworks than before. Also in recent days, young artists are dealing with different levels of social and psychological understanding of self, others, country and current issues and have imbued these concepts in exploring a larger range of inter-disciplinary art forms.

3. What are the challenges that you face as an artist, and as the curator of SCYA? What would you say is the most difficult thing you have faced so far in your career?

As an Artist, my biggest challenge is procrastination on some of the more surreal, abstract and experimental thoughts, concepts, visuals I have that I would like to work on for fear of criticisms and rejections

Being a Curator in SCYA and having learnt of the preferences of the audiences and clients, I have to sacrifice some works, even mine. I hope SCYA will be able to afford a small space somewhere and that I will be able to hire an administrator and project manager to deal with administrative works for me so I can focus more on the actual creation of curation, work on writing about the artists and meeting more artists, viewing more artworks everyday.

4. On a completely different note, if you could only rescue one possession of yours if your house were to catch fire (touch wood), what would that item be? Any special reasons why?

I think I would rescue one item each from my collection of books, films, music and jewellery.

I would rescue the book: Kazuo Ohno’s World: from without & within because Kazuo is a legendary butoh artist who brings out the beauty of the body through the Japanese technique for dance.

I would rescue the film: The work of director Jonathan Glazer. I like Jonathan Glazer for his bold concept of sub-culture in modern living, of interesting mediums in art direction and of subtle vintage lighting, which makes the whole experience of watching his films or music video classic, timeless and enduring.

I have too many music favourites and listen to all kinds of genre from hardcore to folk. I would rescue the current album from Au Revoir Simone, The Bird of Music since I’m listening to it now and if a fire does break out, I will grab my laptop with the music still playing on it while calling out to my brother and mother to move out of the house while imagining I’m an actress in Jonathan’s Glazer’s music video.

I would rescue my pocket watch because time is always chaotic and if I don’t keep track of it, I may lose my sanity. My Father gave me his pocket watch when I was small and still fairly unsure of the world.

5. Lastly, what do you hope to accomplish in 2011?

I hope to clean up SCYA in 2011, to find out who the sincere helping hands in SCYA are. They are the people who would not use SCYA for their personal gains and recognition in the art world but people who believe in running SCYA in both research and in business.

SCYA aside, I hope to work slowly on showing a series of paintings and video/music works for a solo exhibition in 2012 which will be simply about human expressions.

Gracia Ventus

SCYA website: www.contemporaryart.sg
SCYA blog: www.scyaproject.wordpress.com

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