An amalgamation of different textures, shapes, and sensations—much like art, fashion is also a celebration of the five senses and how we engage them. For Tricia, one of the selected candidates from our #NovelWaysOfDressing open call, the starting point for her outfit was the curiosity that Khairullah Rahim’s work stirred within her through the creative use of light and materials. This helped her to pull together the eye-catching ensemble that complimented Rendezvous.
Sharing more about her background in and love for art, Tricia details the process of making a statement through her avant-garde outfit in the video below. In the interview that follows, she also speaks about the different ways she has explored to express art—through the conventional means of traditional mediums, or more unique methods such as fashion and body art.
Rendezvous is an artwork exhibited in the Time Passes exhibition, organised by the Singapore Art Museum. From now till 21st February, you can explore the virtual gallery online, or head down to National Gallery Singapore to view the exhibition in person. To find out more about the ongoing exhibition, visit bit.ly/sam-timepasses.
What was your first impression when you saw Khairullah Rahim’s Rendezvous?
To be perfectly honest, my first reaction was confusion. Even as contemporary sculptures go, the entire setup of the work was quite out of the norm, and it evoked my curiosity to find out more about it. I appreciated the fact that I needed to take a closer look at the artwork and reading the artwork caption to fully tie together its meaning and visuals.
Share with us what prompted you to choose Khairullah Rahim’s work for #NovelWaysOfDressing.
I initially kept in mind all of the existing clothes that I have in my wardrobe while trying to match them to the aesthetics of the different artworks. However, Rendezvous caught my attention as it was visually striking and immediately brought to mind the dress that I wore for the open call, which was why I decided on this look.
How did the different elements inside Rendezvous inspire your dressing?
The biggest inspiration for my outfit was the contrast between the natural elements and the shiny man-made ornaments you can find in the artwork. The contrast itself was interesting, but what added an extra layer of depth to the overall visuals of the artwork was how all the different elements were tied together by being housed in the closed space of the aquarium, all bathed in the same harsh UV light. Similarly, in my outfit, I juxtaposed a feminine floral dress with metal chains and well-worn black boots.
As an art student yourself, how would you define art?
When we study art, we are taught that there is no singular, real, or proper definition of art, especially in our contemporary context. In the past, our artistic ancestors went through all the processes of creating, mastering, and then defying all the rules, definitions, and technicalities of art to get us to present day—where art is an amorphous concept, free for every individual to define for themselves.
Personally, how has art impacted your life?
For me, art has been a key part of the process in learning more about myself and learning how to express my emotions. My art used to come from an overwhelming flow of feelings and thoughts that I couldn’t express in any other way, besides creatively, which was helpful in getting me to where I am now. Even the knowledge that I have created—and I can create—something beautiful for the world to see is incredibly enriching for my soul.
Khairullah Rahim’s work references community spaces and gatherings—how do you think art can bring community together?
I think there’s so much potential for art to spread important messages within society. I’ve seen how the art community internally supports itself through various ways—like coming together to share studio spaces, collaborating on exhibitions, allying in the struggle. In the larger community, it’s been heartening to see people attending shows, and having a shared emotional response to artworks.
Has art been pivotal in shaping your perspective or point of view on a particular topic?
Studying art has been especially pivotal in shaping my perspective on privilege. Art is a powerful medium that can share messages about any underrepresented topic under the sun, especially topics that affect society as a whole. I consider being able to study art a huge privilege, and while I am still figuring out ways to give back to society, I believe that art should be more accessible, and that it is important to support artists who see it that way too.
We understand your tattoos are your own way of creating art—share with us a little more!
Tattoos are very interesting as most of them can be considered a collaboration between the tattoo artist and the designer or conceptualiser of the tattoo. An individual’s choice to decorate the canvas of their skin is an artistic decision, and that goes hand in hand with the artistic and technical skill of the tattoo artist. To me, the process of being tattooed is a celebration of my body, as I’m customising it for self-expression. Having that to look forward to did help in getting through the day-by-day humdrum of 2020.
Tricia was chosen as one of our four candidates from the #NovelWaysOfDressing open call, which we launched at the end of the first phase of this collaboration with the Singapore Art Museum. We invited the public to submit their own sartorial interpretations of the artworks in the Time Passes exhibition—view the other submissions at the links here and here.