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Meet The Future of Singapore Arts & Design - NAFA's Best Of Best Show 2016

Typically between April and June each year, various design tertiary institutions in Singapore will hold an annual graduation show for their students to showcase their work as they reach the pinnacle of their hard work.

These students will also for the moment be able to excuse themselves from the late nights spent working on projects and the many expensive trips to art supplies stores and print shops.

NAFA

The oldest tertiary arts institution in SingaporeNanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) also partakes in this yearly affair. Usually held in June, their graduation shows are a spectacle of the many courses offered within the school.

Held at the many galleries and open studios on campus, visitors can marvel at everything from the visual arts and fine arts, fashion design, object and furniture designs, and landscape and interior designs.

A Graduation Show For Top Graduates

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In recent years, NAFA has taken a step further to hold an additional graduation show on top of the main one. With this edition named The Grad Expectations 2016, this is where you can find all the graduates of that year.

This other showcase, titled the Best of Best Show, is an exhibition of a curated selection of the best ideas and works by the graduating diploma and degree cohorts from the School of Art and Design  – works that demonstrate design thinking and artistic creativity at their best.

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This year’s show opened yesterday at the Lim Hak Tai and Ngee Ann Kongsi Galleries in NAFA.

We met up with the graduates of the show to see first hand the new generation who will influence the future of our local creative industries, their works, and also ask what got them being to the ‘best of best’.

Introducing NAFA’s Best Of Best Graduates, 2016

Allen Joshua Velasquez Mungcal – Diploma in Design (Landscape & Architecture)

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My Secret To Being Best of Best

Time management, an open mind-set and a constant search for innovation are the basic characteristics for being “Best of Best”. With school projects given on a daily and weekly basis, managing your time is critical to producing work of quality and to apply your original designer touch to them. A designer with an open mind-set will constantly learn and produce designs that work out of the box. Being innovative, and getting out of your comfort zone will help you acquire knowledge; knowledge that would put you in pace with technology, and efficient in the competitive design environment.

Before the Calamity Prognostic Architecture

About My Final Year Project

The Prognostic Architecture is inspired from animal and insect behaviour that could predict natural disaster. Being born in Philippines, I experience some of the worst natural disasters that Filipinos are constantly exposed to – Typhoons. However, nothing can compare with the strongest typhoon ever recorded in history: typhoon “Haiyan” or also known as “Yolanda” in Philippines.
Thousands perished in the aftermath of the typhoon. I was suddenly reminded of how bees react before natural disasters. They respond to sudden drops in atmospheric pressure brought by the formation of low pressure area, and their presence might create a difference.
This design’s intention is to create an alternate reality where typhoons can be predicted with the help of bees. They react before a typhoon’s landfall, allowing people to prepare for the impending disaster. This architecture design is inspired from the main cause of destruction itself, which are storm surges and strong winds.

Ang Kian Hoe – Diploma in Fine Art

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My Secret To Being Best of Best

I start with what I know, and explore the possibilities to create a work that is different from before.

Crushed Lambo, 122 x 96cm, 2016, OIl on Metal Peice

About My Final Year Project

My final year project is a continuation of the idea of metal as a canvas. I have explored the materiality of metals, from the texture of the surface, to the chemical reactions the surface undergoes to create rust. From there, I interpret the physical appearance of the rust into a particular scenario that comes to my head.
As I paint on the metals, I destroy what I paint, bringing a rawness to the artwork. The process is controlled but natural, resulting in a work of art that is created by chance. Parts are recovered after this process.
The subjects that I’m painting are vehicles of transportation or war. They are set in a post-apocalyptic world. There are elements juxtaposed in each of the pieces to evoke the viewer’s thoughts.

Bryan Chng Jing Siang – Diploma in Design (Landscape & Architecture)

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My Secret To Being Best of Best

Apart from regular lessons, inspiration is something I need, to stay out of the box. I find inspiration in my fellow schoolmates from various majors. They inspired me to do better and encouraged me to exceed my own expectations. 

Being the best of best is not based just my effort alone: my NAFA family contributed to where I am now and I am thankful for them.
The most important advice I can give to my juniors is to keep your NAFA family close, be their inspiration whenever they need it too and you never have to look back.

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About My Final Year Project

Piece of Eden – For families that chose cremation, the proposed design, located at one of Singapore’s southern points, Lazarus Island, offers families a symbolic way to scatter human cremains. This is done with dignity, with Creation as witness to the act and in lieu of a place in a cemetery. The use of human cremains to revitalize coral reefs sustains the home of more than 250 species of marine animals that make the surrounding reefs of Lazarus Island their home. The empty biodegradable urn will be left behind at designated woodland spots to provide needed nutrients for plants to thrive.

While returning one’s soul to where men first came, ashes of the mortal parts rejuvenate the declining environment of Lazarus Island.

For dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return.
-Genesis 3:19

Danny Yong Rong Da – Diploma in Graphic Communication

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My Secret To Being Best of Best

I seldom follow the rules and I colour outside the lines. I am very emotionally attached to every single piece of artwork I create and I will let emotions lead me in the execution, rather than use logic. In this way, I am able to stay true to what I believe in and present a genuine artwork that is able to connect with the people around me. Taking risks is also very important and no matter how proud I am of what I manage to achieve, I still feel a sense of uncertainty. There is always an amount of uncertainty in my heart and I do not perceive that as a weakness, because without this uncertainty, I will get lost in my own ego and ignorance.

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About My Final Year Project

It hopes to raise awareness of LGBT discrimination.

My key message is for others to understand that the power of acceptance lies within ourselves and everyone must be treated the same. Do we choose to look inside the frame, accept the person for who she is or do we choose to look at the frame, and discriminate people based on their differences and hurt them with words.

The artwork symbolically strips the subject of the roles this person plays, and portrays them as real and proud, despite being vulnerable.

Kam Ming-Hui, Joycelyn – Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Fashion and Marketing

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My Secret To Being Best of Best

The courage to stay true to your own vision, being open to criticisms and critical about feedback.

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About My Final Year Project

As a direct response to today’s throwaway culture we have grown so attuned to, the collection Order In Disorder explores the manner in which consumption is imbued into the human condition.

Inspired by the artwork Untitled (I shop therefore I am) by Barbara Kruger, the collection establishes the existence of a parallel between Kruger’s practice of appropriating and altering existing images to create new meanings, and how philosopher Roland Barthes describes fashion to be “an order made into a disorder”. Representative of how fashion is perceived to be ever-changing, despite the constant reproductions and inspirations from histories and past fashions, new styles are merely repeated assemblages, crucial in the creation of a misplaced sense of innovation.

Order In Disorder is a conscious effort towards thoughtful design. A quiet contemplation of the processes behind the system of fashion as we know today, the collection is a calculated proposition to return to one’s roots – a re-evaluation of how and why we consume the way we do.

Joshua Marc Lee – Diploma in Illustration Design with Animation Marc-StudentPhoto

My Secret To Being Best of Best

Strongly believe in what you do and the story you want to tell, and being unapologetic in doing so.

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About My Final Year Project

69 Days Later is a satirical project that mocks the nature of overly-sexualised media in today’s culture. It aims to open up conversation about it through quirky illustrations and a sarcastic story about Dr Harry Dick, a doctor who is trying to find a cure for the disease ‘S. Exomania’, caused by exposure to such media.

Loau Lu Yi – Diploma in Design (Furniture and Spatial)

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My Secret To Being Best of Best

With a heart full of faith, and a tenacious spirit. 

“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.” – Muhammad Ali

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About My Final Year Project

Moovit is a mobile office pantry that aims to encourage an active ¬office environment by creating more opportunities for workers to move about.

Activated by pushing, pulling and rotating motions, Moovit redefines office pantry space by encouraging interaction between the furniture and the users. The element of fun is induced through these actions, thereby helping to facilitate the workplace in becoming more lively.

Muhammad Nhawfal Bin Juma’at – Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Fine Art

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My Secret To Being Best of Best

Maybe it was because I had a 2-years (2012 to 2014) hiatus from being in art school or being surrounded by artistic influences. I had to do my National Service, where I adopted skills like good time management, important decision-making, working under pressure and most importantly, the drive to complete my task.

Although these sorts of rigid skills contrasts with the creative and free-flowing nature of an art student/practitioner, I believe it was one of the reasons why I managed to deliver.

When I got accepted to the BA Fine Art programme I was eager to come to school and start working on new body of works. I definitely had a rough idea of what sort of works I wanted to create and also knew that I need to adapt and accept changes.

Going to school was a joy for me, I enjoyed my practice and rarely wasted much time to achieve my daily goals. My lecturers, Erica Lai, Wang Ruobing and Yeo Chee Kiong definitely helped me in understand things that I am unaware of and were also critical about the works I produced. And I am open to criticism and will act on the constructive ones.

I am involved in the Best of Best Show 2016 because of the constant guidance from my lecturers and peers.

Fourth Documenta x

About My Final Year Project

Throughout my study year, my practice has always been about working with the ‘everyday’ and expanding its potential. The ‘everyday’ to me means materials/objects/space/site/nature that we experience daily. We experience the ‘everyday’ daily to a point that we ignore its potential and not recognize it any further, losing sight of the actual being of ‘things’.

There were three bodies of works that I produced in my study year, Subject Documenta (2015), Circles (2015) and Black Boots, Sweat and Rain (2016).

Subject Documenta (2015)

Subject Documenta works are based on the philosophy of bricolage, a technique where works are constructed with various materials that are available at hand. Materials used in Subject Documenta are; Overhead Projector (OHP), Liquid-Crystal Display (LCD) Projector, rocks, plants, rice, coins, books, pamphlets, found images and texts on the internet, paint brush, screws, paper tapes, leaves, tree barks, lenses cap, plastic cup, wooden frame and broken sticks. The process is then documented by a camera and printed out as evidence and documentation.

Circles (2015)

Circles was a project executed while at Loughborough University, the programme’s partner university for seven weeks. With reference to bricolage, the materials used for Circles are mainly various objects that happened to be within the environment, thus using it regardless of its original purpose. Materials that have been used or involved in Circles were masking tape, charcoal stick, charcoal dusts, twine, slates, grass cuttings, leaves, rain and coins.

Circles contained the consistent appearance of a circle as a central figure. The idea that circle is a simple and straightforward shape, appeals to me. Although the shape itself has a strong and symbolic meaning in several cultures and traditions, I am not interested in getting lost in the essence of its form with stories of old. The depiction of its form was merely a celebration of simplicity and its power to silence art.

Nature Shankar – Diploma in Fine Art

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My Secret To Being Best of Best

I treated Roots to Existence as something that would not only help me grow, but continue to grow with me as an individual. In addition, I hugged it on a daily basis. So that must be it.

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About My Final Year Project

Roots to Existence is an artistic documentation of my process of consciously defining my being and tackling my lack of resonating roots as a mix-raced individual in society – in hopes of moving closer to embracing a purposeless existence.

Tan Jie Min – Diploma in Fine Art

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My Secret To Being Best of Best

My secret to be the ‘best of best’ is to be creative and unique in my own way.

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About My Final Year Project

My Theme: TIME MANAGEMENT

In my artwork, there are 8 series of cut out antique books that were inspired by nature and the human condition, and explore a variety of narratives based on personal experiences. I try to explore the relationships between various colour harmonies and surface textures. It is also a way for me to experiment with the range of possibilities allowed through my choice of materials.

My creative and developmental process incorporates an extensive use of digital media and technologies. My ideas begin on paper, but are short lived in that form. Hand drawn images are scanned into the computer and reworked using a combination of digital editing software as well as staging and importing of digital photographs. This progression of image development allows for a multitude of possibilities and image combinations.

Tan Pei Xuan – Diploma in Illustration Design With Animation

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My Secret To Being Best of Best

This year I really pushed myself beyond what I thought I could, but I know for sure I couldn’t have come this far without the help and presence of my friends. We really pushed and motivated each other till the end and I’m really glad that I had the luck meet them and to really come out of my shell.

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About My Final Year Project

My final year project is an animated short film titled ”Re \ Turns”, a story of two girls who were cursed, such that they are not able to be with each other. I made this film as a response to the lack of happy, relatable, not set for death, lesbian characters who still are rarely present in fictional media.

The Best Of Best Show Is Now On!

The show will be running from 14 June to 17 July 2016, and you will be able to find the works of the students above and many others there.

Immerse yourself first hand in their creativity!

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Image Credits: Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts

 

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