Photos from the past

Been a while since I ran about taking photos around this island of ours (probably since my last collective exhibition - "non-collectibles"). This was taken in October 2005 in a lane off Mohammed Sultan Road, where a row of shophouses seem destined to meet its end. I'm not sure why, but the colours, its demeanour and probably its finite form seem to tease "Destiny" to take its final stab. need to go back now and take a look at the shape of destiny. Hopefully it has been restored somehow. Been feeling restless creatively. All the talk about making our nation an Arts Hub. Hahah.. All these notions about hubs seem to be a joke. Somehow the powers that be have no idea what they're talking about. Years of reading the Press and growing up here probably did something to our wire frame. Just this big lethargy in the air. . . Really need to do something to clear the air...


catmasutra Carpe Diem : The Art of Negotiation

The art of negotiation - another painting influenced by Magritte. This was done in Sept 2005 for Catmasutra II. The sky is another element that fascinates me. An image that I remember quite vividly as a child. Lying in the back yard of our house with our resident cat, looking at the clouds traveling across the never-ending sky. On a clear blue day, the sky is about the only thing that seems untainted and that which shelters us all wherever we are. Perhaps it is. We're more connected than we think we are (and i don't mean via technology). The art of negotiation, is perhaps about the way we negotiate with something bigger than ourselves, within ourselves. Haha... watch the sky some day... and also, look at the trees and the skyline when you're traveling in a car or bus... you'll be surprised at what you can see... (yes even in our very urban landscape). And we must save the polar bears and ourselves eventually - stop global warming!


Catmasutra III painting - The Art of Levitation

The idea of levitation, of an apple suspended in mid-air, of an angel serving up doses of happiness, is an idea too tempting to refuse as a concept for the annual Catmasutra exhibition. Imagine taking a wrong turn and you find yourself walking down a dark alley. The stone slabs you're walking on echo the sound of your heart, and you realize it's the only thing you can hear. Your shadow grows long and short, skips and shimmers from leftover rain as you walk past tall street lights... You're running away from something, you need a place to rest, to forget. It's a dark alley and there, around the corner, there's a light from an open doorway. You are drawn towards it, away from the darkness. You approach the bar counter, a cat (of the Russian Blue breed) greets you with a permanent grin and asks you what you would like to have. You say "happiness", and without hesitation, the blue cat serves you a cocktail as if it's the most common drink in the world. You take a sip, and the apple levitates... (What's with the apple anyway, you may ask; Well, apples often appear as a mystical and forbidden fruit, or the "original" sin depicting the fall from Eden. In other isntances, the apple has also been used as a symbol of love and sexuality [often attributed to depiction of Venus in secular art]. The apple here is cut into half, and hence its ability to levitate, from sin to love... hahaha connections, connections...)

There’s a duality in everything - from the reality that we’re in and the way we think about things, between our spirituality and reality, our emotions and reality - a tiny gap where live wires meet, creating sparks that bridge the two worlds. This gap opens up the world of myth and fairy tales and gives reality its distinct colors and flavors (depending on how you look at things) haha and the blue cat pours you another drink...

The art of levitation dwells in that little gap, probably got stored away somewhere in my sub-consciousness when I picked up Mr Vertigo some years back. A strange little book (by my account although it's really a regular-size novel). Perhaps, the cover art attracted me as much as the title. It’s a story of a ‘pus-brained’ boy who was persuaded (or tricked) by a quasi-religious master from Budapest to learn how to fly. Came across an interview with the writer, and it reminded me why I like this book.

It talks about “the contrast between what you might call the mythical and the everyday, how they combine and live side by side in the same world” and most adequately put by Peter Brook, a theatre director whom the writer admires, "Without the everyday you can't be touched, and without the myth you can't be amazed". What he strives for is the closeness of the everyday and the distance of myth… Haha I think I’m high enough now to levitate (perhaps I should pour myself a whiskey and coke)... keke


Halo's Angel and Art of Levitation

Some old pics I found of my fat cat, Halo. Here's where you see Halo amazed at my attempt in the art of levitation. Of course, she's not that impressed. She probabaly thought that I'm high on something... hahah

Now, you know where I get my inspiration for one of my paintings "Art of Levitation". Hahaha... Actually Halo will frown on bad habits like getting high... Unlike Angel, who I believe, will even take to vodka orange if he has the opportunity. Most paintings actually portray the personality of Angel and the likeness of Halo. Hahaha... And hence Halo and the irrepressible spirit of Angel!


Mind Probe

Auditory : 71%. Visual : 28%. Left Brain : 36%. Right Brain: 63%
Interesting analysis from a site my "very balanced" designer sent me at mindmedia.com. I supposedly display a slight right-hemisphere dominance with a moderate preference for auditory processing, an unusual and somewhat paradoxical combination of characteristics - haha... "You prefer the abstract and are a theoretician at heart while retaining the ability to be practical. You find the symbolism in a great deal of what you encounter and are something of a 'mystic'". You answer 20 multiple-choice questions, and viola!. Not bad actually - a rather sophisticated personality analysis. Anyway, check it out and you can probe your own personality inside out! Did this abstract painting way back in 2003 (You can view more abstract paintings here). I'm letting this piece go at $700. It's 61 by 91 cm and comes with a nice dark wood frame...


Catmasutra Time Travel - Apple on The inside

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Came across this quote by Danish Philosopher Soren Kierkeggard, and it captured me for a while, stopped the tracks of the present from becoming the future, so to speak. Started searching the phrase and I ended up with a number of quotes regarding time and the future. Ever wondered what’ll happen if you receive a notice that says: “Tomorrow has been cancelled. The day after tomorrow has been postponed and will now occur on the following day." And suddenly you have an extended Present that refuses to flow into Tomorrow (Think Groundhog day) and if we live without expectations, then there's no future, only an endless present (François Jacob).

"Although the future will never happen, it is already here: no matter how fast you run after it, the future will run just as fast. It is always around the next corner. If you pause to catch your breath, the future will pause too, waiting for you, just around the corner, out of sight. But how can it know you so well, when you don't know it? “

Or according to The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, the Future is defined as “that period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true, and our happiness assured.” Or as a riddle by Joseph Cornish, what does not exist and never has existed, yet is our most precious possession, because it is all we have left?

Perhaps a quote by the Mexican Poet, Octavio Paz is apt at this time, "The supreme value is not the future but the present. The future is a deceitful time that always says to us, 'Not Yet,' and thus denies us... Whoever builds a house for future happiness builds a prison for the present."

Apple on the Inside is from the second Catmasutra painting exhibition and where time collapses into a single point of inactivity, caught "in-between" time- it's right there, just an apple on the inside...