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Sayang

Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee
Azura Lovisa
Birgit Toke Tauka Frietman
Sheridan Tjhung 
Tanaporn Wongsa

Opening on September 1, 2018 | 7pm - late
The greenhouse, 2-4 Melior Place | SE1 3SZ

Navigating contemporary Orientalism and postcolonial identity through a deliberate centering of the Othered body, this exhibition introduces Azura Lovisa’s work to the public through a presentation of her most recent fashion collection, a film and photo campaign in collaboration with Elizabeth G. Lee – born out of the shared interest, as women of Southeast Asian heritage, in subverting the Orientalist gaze – as well as sculpture, collage, books, and material from the family archive presented alongside written accounts by Azura’s mother. As an artist and designer, Azura imagines her fashion collections as chapters within a greater constellation of work, recognizing fashion’s unique particularity and proximity to individual self-construction.

Featuring work by Azura and a team of collaborators – accessories by Tanaporn Wongsa and Birgit Toke Tauka Frietman, set design by Sheridan Tjhung, photography and videography by Elizabeth G. Lee, and lookbook photos by Ana Larruy – the exhibition seeks to inhabit a space in the imagination which is simultaneously familiar, mythical, and pulsing with potentiality, channeling various mediums to flesh out an aesthetic and emotional presence. The exhibition is a testament to extracting our own meanings, locating our own contexts, and learning our own histories via salvaged memory.

‘Sayang’ means sweetheart, darling, to love in Bahasa Melayu.

ABOUT THE COLLECTION

How can we work to decolonize aesthetics? We must step out of the Occidental fantasy and center ourselves in the narrative, challenging perspectives that distort histories and negate the voices of the ‘Other’. This collection makes a performance of identity by occupying the imagined space of Orientalism. With her Malaysian heritage as a starting point, Azura Lovisa reappropriates clichéd cultural symbols and Eurocentric projections – notions crystallized in the idealized, exoticized beauty of colonial-era enthnographic portraiture – and explores the hybridization of ‘native’ and Western ideas and aesthetics. Diversity, displacement, and globalization are recognized as simultaneously destructive and creative forces that shape our collective cultural production.

In pursuit of progress, traditional costume, through which we once projected our cultural inheritance, have been replaced by t-shirts and jeans, suits and shirts, the contemporary uniform from America to Asia. It symbolizes the association of the ethnic traditional with the antiquated, dismissing folk dress as relics of a tribalistic past. Azura Lovisa aims to counter the value judgments that posit traditional culture as the antithesis of modernity.

Azura Lovisa seeks to stimulate new approaches to traditional knowledge and memory by approaching the physical body as a forum for identity politics, centering the ‘Other’ as an absolute perspective shift, and aspires to richer alternative narratives that attest to the fluidity of identities, pushing fashion towards meaningful inquiry and critical thought.

The brand follows an ethos of sustainable and ethical production by seeking to use unique natural fabrics woven by small-scale cottage industries that directly support communities, and encouraging the practice and preservation of traditional craft and ancient knowledge in societies threatened by globalization.

The collection is available on a made-to-order basis; for more information please contact info@azuralovisa.com.
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ABOUT XING

XING is a domain of possibilities shedding light on the trailblazing lives of East and Southeast Asian womxn. Championing the vagabonds, challenging hegemony, and celebrating a oneness through a union of imagery and prose, the launch of XING took form in a collaborative photo book released in July 2017, featuring work of 12 photographers and writers. With the book as the first creative installment of a long-term project, the second chapter of XING will present a series of exhibitions showcasing the work of East and Southeast Asian female artists, beginning with the solo exhibition of Azura Lovisa in September 2018. XING is founded by Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee, an artist based between London and Singapore. Her work is concerned with navigating nuances of the Other, in reference to the now and the historical past. Themes of identity, memory, and femininity weave in and out of her storytelling, working in tandem with tolls of subversion and nostalgia.

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