Recently, we had the opportunity to collaborate and meld the fashion and art fields first hand. Our ULTRA designers Tengku Syahmi and Jonathan Liang were invited to team up with local artist supreme Samsudin Wahab aka Budin for Wei Ling Gallery’s latest workout at the Gardens.
Entitled ‘Garden of Hidden Desires’, Wei Ling paired up Malaysian fashion designers with local artists. In the lineup, the designer likes of Sonny San, Michael Ong, Dato’ Tom Abang Saufi, Jonathan Cheng, Alvin Tay and yours truly. And in the artist section, Cheng Yen Phen, Gan Tee Sheng, Justin Lim, Munkao, Faisal Suhif, Dhavinder Singh, IM (Marvin Chen and Izan Tahir) and our Budin.
We were paired up and commissioned to create an art based piece and a ‘wearable art’ based piece that complemented, or enhanced each other in the spirit of the ‘Garden of Hidden Desires’ theme. “Where contradictions exist, beauty next to ugliness, happiness to sadness, puritans…harlots…good…evil”. Fun. Fashion X Art, hand in hand.
Hi Men, so what is this piece all about?
Syahmi: It’s Budin’s and our take on the state of the world as we see it. Budin finds inspiration in social and political issues, or scandal. We took this standpoint and started to question from a futurist perspective. What will happen to the future with the man-made and natural disasters that are part of our daily existence?
This piece is our answer and our hope. The future (the dress) is bright in our eyes, but with the issues (that Budin translates into his painting) in the background, things may not be as bright as we may hope. It’s our statement that it’s the moment to take responsibility and action. Time to make a change for the betterment of the world.
How was it as a designer creating alongside an artist?
Jon: It was fun, and the fact that ideas collided also made it challenging, but we worked around it. I consider myself an artist, so collaborations and understanding that one is a dreamer, or an idealist, or what not, is pretty much what I’ve understood for some time. This made the process of working together easier. But I did gain the knowledge of respecting one another’s works and needs.
Syahmi: At first I thought it would be difficult collaborating with an artist since I had this image in mind of them being strong minded with their opinions and ideas. But this was wrong, and if I had the opportunity to do it again I definitely would!
How was it working with Budin in particular?
Syahmi: Budin has a unique point of view and the way he reacts and translates it through his work is amazing. He was very open minded and took his art and creativity very seriously. We clicked instantly when we were discussing ideas and concepts so our journey in general was smooth. The most important thing I learned from collaborating with Budin is not be selfish and have an open mind. To have the initiative to share and exchange points of views. As well as to compromise.
Jon: I like Budin’s dark humour, and political and comical views. We tried to get more acquainted with each other first as friends before starting to work and pitch out ideas. I’m satisfied with how the collaboration came together.
Were there any favourites amongst the other collaborations?
Syahmi: The works hanging at Wei Ling Gallery are all wonderful pieces, but my favourites would definitely be the ones by Alexandria Yeo and Justin Lim.
Yes, and then no. But, it’s everything you said. Not too direct, inviting me to look closer, and probably takes time. :)
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