Once you’ve had your fill of the beaches in Bali and the dynamic, booming nature of Jakarta, the next pitstop on your map should definitely be Yogjakarta. Also commonly referred to as Yogja or Jogja, it is considered by many to be the soul of Indonesia and here is where the rich customs, heritage and arts of Java truly thrives.
Yogja is where past and present collide which means that next to its beautifully preserved historical sites and tradition, you’ll also see a thriving, urban city complete with upscale cafes, shopping malls and (bearable) traffic jams.
My Sunday Afternoon piece is hanging at Galeri Nasional Indonesia (National Gallery Indonesia) as part of their second Sea+ Triennale, ENCOUNTER: Art from Different Lands! The exhibition runs from 18th October to 10th November 2016 – so it is closing soon! (or if you are reading this later, already closed!) Don’t worry though, because I made a 360 walk-though video of the entire exhibition!
42 individual artists and 2 art duos were showing, mostly Indonesian artists. 33 Indonesian, 13 International. I was the only one from Singapore! #SgRepresent
I shall tell the rest of the story with my photos, not very good photos though because my Samsung Note7 was banned on the flight to Jakarta. Samsung compensated me with a shitty Samsung Galaxy J Ace. Most of these photos were taken with my mum’s Note5. Photo quality still shys in comparison to the legendary exploding note7.
Last week, this badass video interview about my practice was published by Khoo Guo Xiang from The Pitching Room! It is the second of their 1:1 Art Documentary series. It covers my practice as an artist and also talks about my recent Second Coming series and how it opened up discussions for me.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6
We are mostly past this question. Our general consensus is that we don’t know. No matter how we tried, we found no way of proving or disproving their existence.
Supreme beings could exist but they don’t necessarily care about us. They might care as much about us as we do the ant colony living in our kitchens.
To be specific – we agreed that we are discussing the Biblical God because we are most familiar with him: For some reason, he does not want to make his existence undoubtedly clear and that is his prerogative.
2. Why doesn’t he make his existence undoubtedly clear?
Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!” John 20:29
We came up with several reasons, these are the most plausible/funny ones:
It is more exciting this way! DUH! It keeps us guessing.
He wants to filter out the faithful/gulible to worship him for eternity. The rest will be discarded and tortured forever! Critical thinkers will question everything and won’t be fun to hang with anyway lol
He is a scientist and we are his experiments. Which begs the question of “What is he testing?”, “Isn’t he all-knowing? He should already know the result. Why bother going through the theatrics?”
“They also never say where he will come back, mah.”
The Second Coming is an imaginative exploration into the question: what if Jesus chose present-day Singapore as the land of his return? Referencing both prophetic and historical scenes recorded in the Bible, Eugene Soh updates the narratives surrounding the life and death of Jesus, whilst presenting his own meditations on the nature of religion and faith.
This exhibition explores the dynamics behind how religion is made meaningful in society. Founded on the understanding that the events in the Bible are not significant in and of themselves; rather, events draw their significance from their representation in the Bible. By re-creating these events photographically, this collection of images engage in re-presentation, commenting on the fluid nature of how these Biblical events and prophecies can be understood. This exhibition further invites audiences to explore the text of the Bible as one that is comprised of multiple versions of histories, viewpoints, and voices, raising the ultimate question about the nature of religion and faith.
I graduated two years ago from an art school here (Nanyang Technological University). Yes, there is an art school here.
You know like, if someone goes to an art school, you think “Oh, he is going to be an Artist”. That wasn’t the case for NTU. Most of the graduates here end up going a non-artistic kind of route, they become designers or something skill based. I wasn’t any different, I was on track to becoming a programmer, a game programmer, in an arts school. So, how that happened, was because of this picture [The Last Supper image].
I am very glad that I had a lot of free time in NTU. Despite what you think and what art students will say, “Oh they have so many projects, oh this, oh that”. The truth is that we have tonnes of fun [Art school is the funnest school. There was a lot of free time because we could always bullshit our way through assignments that didn’t really interest us and still have a chance at an A.. the “Subjective & Contemporary” kind of assignments.] So, I did this piece in year one, outside of school.
Being open to opportunities
This was in collaboration with Campus Magazine, they are not affiliated with any school, their name is actually called “Campus” and they had a center fold page in the magazine.
They asked me, “Hey Eugene, you are a photographer right?” and I’m like “Yup”. “Do you want to fill it up with your work?” I was a freshman and had this attitude of opening my doors to opportunity, I said yes to everything. I said “Yes” and went to browse my portfolio of photography works.
I wasn’t impressed with myself. it was all like pictures of the shadow of the lamp post on the floor, I thought I was so deep! [Laughter] but those were not suitable for the center fold.
Tigerair has resumed direct flights between Singapore and Lijiang for a cheap price of SGD319 (I checked myself)! They sent me and 4 others there last week so we can spread the word! I was sent as a Sports+Travel Magazine writer!
Honestly, I never heard of Lijiang until tiger told me and thought it was going to be a “pass-through-city” to get to more famous places like Shangri-la up north. I’ve never been so wrong.
Lijiang IS the place to visit and not just a pass through. The place is so famous for its beauty, it got my dad excited when I told him I was going. I must have been living under a rock (Singapore).
We traveled early November, it was autumn, temperatures were cold. No snow yet but I brought my puffer jacket anyway. It came in useful.
Here are my top 5 favorite things during this trip.