Meet the individuals who are blessing the art scene in the region each with their own purpose, style and stories, picturing the world through brushes, lenses and mediums.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
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"Allegory of Desire"


Painter, Indonesia

Born in a family of traditional performers, it’s no surprise that Citra Sasmita has her hand in art. Although her interest was clear since young, her late father didn’t approve of it and she ended up majoring in Physics in university. “My dream as an artist grew again when I joined the theatre troupe on campus and then became a short story illustrator for a local newspaper. It was then I learned intensively about art and decided to become active in participating art exhibitions,” she explains.

Where do you get inspiration from?

It used to come from books that I read when I worked as an illustrator. I also like to observe everything in my daily life — society, local markets, the minorities and especially women’s issues, gender equality and stories that are considered simple but casuistic.

Describe your artistic aesthetic.

I turn visuals into vocabulary, to make it a visual language. I see visuals as having similar contexts as literature, just in different forms. There’s no certain phenomenon I want to express.

What’s the message you want people to take from your art?

My pieces usually carry messages about women in patriarchal culture. They make people question their position in society, their relationship with nature or make them reach out to me to ask about the meaning of my artwork.

Is there something/an idea that you’ve always wanted to create but haven’t yet?

My ideas come to me like a water fountain — they are constantly flowing and appear as they come.

Is there a common theme in all your art?

Women issues is my embryo that can be developed into broader like humanity, ecofeminism, politics of identity that I’m still working on now.

Do you have a favourite piece you’ve done so far?

I love them all, my relationship with my artwork is quite unique. If I don’t pack them to deliver them somewhere, they would make me go somewhere. We fulfill each other.

What are your views on the art community?

In my humble opinion it’s like you can go far if you walk alone, but together you can go further.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as an artist?

The scariest thing that an artist faces is the stagnancy even during productive times. But once they get through it, they will discover something great.

Art is important because…?

It makes you contemplate.

What are your views on the representation of women in art?

Honestly, I’m a little bit disturbed by the term ‘women artists’. An artist is someone who masters art or dedicates their lives into making art and I think there is no connection with gender or identity. [Gender neutrality] is what I would like to see in the art scene, although the collections in art museums are still dominated by male artists and there is still not much participation of women artists.

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Under The Skin: Women are often the star in Citra’s art 

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Citra Sasmita  (@citrasasmita_work)
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Metamorphosis (The Flowers of Carnage)

“An artist is someone who masters art or dedicates their lives into making art ... there is no connection with gender or identity.” 
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"Anderer is a film series that surrounds the question of ‘What is a rebel?’"


Filmmaker, Singapore

Clare Chong loves telling people about her dreams. “I dream almost every night sometimes they’re purely fantastical, but a lot of the times they are also real situations that happen much later on in my life, deja vu if you must,” she explains. Her nightmares (usually about worms) also inspire her work.

What goes into your artwork?

When it is something narrative, it is always a personal story, an emotion I am trying to express, a situation I am unhappy about or want to challenge and question.

Describe your artistic aesthetic.

I’m very drawn to acrylic paint, plastic, aluminium and cling wrap. There is something very suffocating about thes materials and that always motivates me to reveal what’s underneath.

What’s the biggest difference between film and photography?

The no brainer answer is that film moves, and a photographs are still. To me, film is magic. I can do anything I want with it, I can be whoever I want, and I can tell every story I can think of. It is so addictive; it is a drug that I can never stop using.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to make but haven’t yet?

I really want to make a feature film one day. I am also really hoping to be able to have my own exhibition.

Do you have a favourite piece you’ve done so far?

My favourite piece of work is Toogie’s Trip to Bukuokuka, a project where I collected my friends’ dreams. It was also a very painful film to make because I was 18, trying to make a surrealist film in Singapore, and worked odd jobs to save money for it.

What are your views on the art community?

It can always be better, maybe more integrated and supportive. But for now, I am happy with where we are at, and I’m so glad to be part of the conversation.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as an artist?

My biggest challenge is to come up with great stories. To tell myself stop doubting, just do it. Sometimes, that is very hard when the stakes gets bigger.

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Clare Chong  (@cllre)
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Anderer 2: Mother Nature Does Not Care
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Hyper Instrumentalism

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A Waking, Clare's latest film

“To me, film is magic. I can do anything I want with it, I can be whoever I want, and I can tell every story I can think of. It is so addictive; it is a drug I can never stop using.”
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"A motivational tiger art print"


Mixed Media Artist, Malaysia

Joanne Loo describes herself as a left-handed creative and she means that literally. “I’m a proud lefty and I find happiness when creating drawings, prints and patterns!” Her creations are often bright and bold, and incorporates a touch of Malaysia in the most unique way. Bedtime stories, family anecdotes and stories from Enid Blyton books told by her parents inspired her to start writing as a young child. She then started illustrating pictures to accompany those stories and that was when her love for art really bloomed. She now gets to do her favourite thing everyday for a living.

What goes into your artwork?

My creative process involves squishing different meaningful things together to see what happens. I let my heart (and gut) take me on a journey that is equal parts fun and bumpy. I’ve only recently began to try and rein all that in to create more effective art.

Describe your artistic aesthetic.

Familiar motifs in unexpected settings. Bold colours and pastel shades put together to create surprising palettes. I mostly use traditional media; seeing imperfections and marks of the artist is something important in the work I do.

What was the inspiration behind the Tiga Rasa Sayang vase series?

Tiga Rasa Sayang is a quirky nod to our local passion for eating. I challenged myself to build and paint on vases made out of papier-mâché clay and regular paper clay. Several elements on the vases are also inspired by Peranakan Straits Porcelain which I grew up with.

What are your views on the art community?

The art community is thriving with possibilities. There are just so many creatives out there doing their thing, sharing their work and supporting each other, which is a wonderful thing to see. Businesses, brands and the general public are also seeing art as a way to connect with each other while adding value to themselves.

Thoughts about women in art?

Being a female artist myself, I’ve never had any repercussions as a creator — I personally feel that Malaysia is (thankfully) a tolerant and encouraging environment for artists regardless of gender. Because of this, I don’t see gender as a hurdle to art-making, neither do I see it as something that should define the artist or their work.

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Tropical Toucans

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Jom Minum, Tiga Rasa Sayang

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Joanne Loo  (@looyingjia)
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An acrylic illustration of a terrarium
By Aina Nur Sarah.