A'shua Imran (b. 1986) is a Singaporean visual artist who works predominately with painting, performance, photography & installations. He began his studies at LASALLE College of the Arts (Singapore) and received a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art (Goldsmiths, UK) in 2014. He has participated in several exhibitions and presented his works in Singapore, The Netherlands, Thailand, Israel, Egypt, U.K. South Africa and Spain.
Currently, Imran is the artistic director of MURAL LINGO, a Singapore-registered social enterprise engaged in the arts, education and publishing. He founded the independent platform in 2014 with the primary focus on creating opportunities for artists to engage in and practice mural painting in their community.
He regularly offers talks and workshops in educational & cultural institutions, and is currently traveling Europe and South Africa on an artist-in-residence program.
2014 | Bachelor of Fine Arts, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore - Goldsmiths College, UK
2015 - 2017 | Founder & Director, MURAL LINGO, Singapore
2013 - 2014 | Braille transcriber & Illustrator, Association of the Visually Handicapped, Singapore
2017 | "Le Rouge Window", The Room Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2017 | "BECOMING", Post-residency exhibition at Bag Factory Studio, Johannesburg, South Africa
2017 | "Performance Art Resource Orchestrator", Intersections Gallery, Singapore
2017 | "Expressions of Hope", Group exhibition, Hotel Vagabond, Singapore
2016 | "Antenna Galaxy-UFO Project", Neon Lights Festival, Font Canning, Singapore
2016 | "Antithesis", Affordable Art Fair, Singapore
2016 | "QI", Group Exhibition, Telok Kurau Gallery, Singapore
2016 | "DEBRIEF" Exhibition, Canvas Creative Space, Singapore
2016 | "Toride City Urban Development Through Walls", Toride, Japan
2015 | "There is no Box", Pinacotheque de Paris Museum , Singapore
2015 | "Passive Aggressive Bonds", Harbouring New Truth, Singapore
2015 | "Yellow Experiment", Canvas Creative Space, Singapore
2015 | "Easy come easy go", Latent Space Gallery, Haw Par Villa, Singapore
2015 | "CHEMISTRY", Affordable Art Fair, Singapore
2014 | "100th Feature exhibition", Affordable Art Fair, Singapore
2012| "Now! Serendipity", KERS Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2011 | "Squares invasion 50 x 50" , INSTINC Gallery, Singapore
2011 | "Found Objects", Praxis Space, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore
2011 | "A cartographic desire", Praxis Space, Lasalle College of the Arts, SG
2010 | "Photography Foundation show", Praxis Space, Lasalle College of the Arts
Awards & grants:
2017 | Overseas Sponsorship Programme, 'Art Residency at Johannesburg, South Africa', Yayasan Mendaki, Singapore
2017 | Noise x Matchbox Grant - National Arts Council, 'A Migrant Mural', NUS, Singapore
2016 | Marketing and Development Grant, NAC, 'ANTITHESIS' Project at Affordable Art Fair, Singapore
2014 | Matchbox Project Grant, NAC, Performance workshop at School of the Deaf, Singapore
2010 | Mural of the Year Award, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore
Artist talks, workshops & collaborations:
2017 | "Visiting Artist Talk" | Wits School of the Arts - Johannesburg, South Africa
2017 | "Blind Drawing Workshop" | North-West University - Potchefstroom, South Africa
2017 | "Johannesburg, South Africa - Pre-residency Artist Talk", Hotel Vagabond, Singapore
2016 | "Live drawings of Yoga", The Sanctuary, Koh Phan Gan, Thailand
2016 | "CHRISTIAN DADA", Supporting Artist Hajimi Kinoko for Rope Art Installation, Orchard, Singapore
2016 | "Artist Talk + workshop - Performance collaborations", Coleg Sir Gar School of the Art, Carmarthen, Wales, U.K.
2016 | "ALEXANDRIA", Performance collaboration, Rezodanse Studio, Alexandria, Egypt
2016 | "Jerusalem Hills",Performance collaboration Jerusalem, Israel
2015 | "Workshop on geometric automatism", Affordable Art Fair Autumn - Singapore,
2015 | "Workshop on automatism drawing & painting", Pinocotheque de Paris Museum, Singapore
2017 | Bag Factory Arts, (Visiting Artist Program - 3 Months) Johannesburg, South Africa
2017 | 'A Migrant Mural', Collaborative mural with Migrant Workers, National University Singapore
2015 | "Tapestry of life" community mosaic mural, Support Artist to Delia Prvacki, at Marina South Pier MRT, Singapore
2014 | Ludian Earthquake (August 2014), Honorary Consultant , Yunnan China,
2014 | Silent March Project, Performance workshops for School for the Deaf, Singapore
Selected bibliography & catalogues
2014 | Affordable Art Fair, 100th feature exhibition, fair catalogue pg 17, 2012 Serendipity Duo Show, KERS Gallery, Amsterdam
2011 | INSTINC, Square’s Invasion Exhibition catalogue, pg 3, In’Lakech (Painting), Singapore
At first glance, it would be easy for some to overlook the layered complexities which multi-disciplinary Singaporean artist, A’shua Imran brings to his body of paintings, titled La Rouge. This deceptively simple collection of red painted canvases bound with rope do not only appear to ask similar questions of the medium of painting as Modern Masters the likes of Rothko did, but also provide the viewer with snapshots into Imran's chance encounter with a community of ‘shibari’ artists - rope bondage practitioners.
As alluded to earlier, these works do draw correlations to many of the Modernist "restrictions" the medium of painting provides. The flatly painted red canvases wrapped with rope certainly open themselves to readings which could point in these directions. The initial usage of the dominant colour red commonly attributed to love are expanded upon to include emotions such as passion and human desire. This expansion comes about from the artist’s keen observations of the intuitive relationship between ‘shibari’ partners. These works now take on a richer, more dynamic conceptual framework.
It’s at this point where Imran's penchant towards disruption reveals itself. It's an element he often uses in his performances, where he instructs his collaborating performers to disrupt the nature of a space. In his La Rouge paintings, the expectations and nature of the painted canvas are disrupted once again; this time with the addition of rope which encases each canvas in a web-like weaving.
However, beyond serving as a purely aesthetic devise, Imran's treatment of each rope mimics that of the treatment of ropes used in some ‘shibari’ performances. A long and tedious process involving the boiling of ropes in hot water, drying, stretching, oiling & burning off excess hairs. By doing this, A’shua Imran imparts elements of sensuality usually reserved for and shared by some ‘shibari’ practitioners and transfers them onto the inanimate canvas. He subverts our initial readings of both canvas and rope, reintroducing both, not as red canvas bound by rope, but instead as red canvas freed of the expectation of the medium via the addition of the rope.
Written by: Nolan Stevens (Curator, Johannesburg, South Africa)
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