Lao contemporary artist Sivilay Souvannasing presents abstract landscapes at EY Asean Art Outreach program

Currents – A moving landscape exhibition captures artist’s response to the rapid transformation, environmental degradation and growing cultural tensions in Laos

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SINGAPORE, 7 APRIL 2016 – EY opens Currents – A moving landscape by Lao contemporary artist Sivilay Souvannasing at the EY Gallery today. This 21st exhibition of the EY Asean Art Outreach program runs from now to 19 August 2016.

The Currents – A moving landscape comprises 20 abstract oil paintings, which are a manifestation of Sivilay’s deep-seated interest in his country’s rapid urban transformation, environmental degradation and growing cultural tensions. In his paintings, there is a sense of boldness and liberation in the way he spontaneously builds up layers of medium over the canvas and then agitates, strips and removes the paint to reveal what lies beneath. This allows him to explore the dynamics of control and chaos, much like the effects of urbanization and a growing alienation toward the natural environment.

About the artist, Sivilay Souvannasing and his exhibition, Currents – A moving landscape
Sivilay Souvannasing is a Lao contemporary artist recognized for his articulate and unrestrained painterly expression. Living in Laos, where there is rapid change due to the economic and social reform, Sivilay keenly observes and responds to the world around him through his paintings. He challenges and distills the potential of painting as a way to navigate the tension between the resistance and acceptance of change in his country.

Growing up within a farming community in Southern Laos, Sivilay would, from a young age, paint and draw on any surface like walls and furniture, and used materials like clay and wood to create objects. His father recognized his passion and talent, and encouraged him to enroll in the École des Beaux-Arts in Vientiane.

Sivilay received formal training in Fine Arts and graduated at the top of his cohort. At present, Sivilay stands as one of the most recognized Lao contemporary painters of his generation.
In his early career, May Chandavong and Picasso were key influences of his style. In 2010, he produced a notable body of work presented at his Layered brilliance solo exhibition where Lao’s national flower, the Champa, was improvised as a way of composing his paintings into a sea of complex imagery. The flower’s outline and unfolding petals provided a guide for him on the canvas, and within them the paintings gave audiences fragmented glimpses of the everyday life in Laos – distorted scenes from the urban city and the tranquil countryside melded together as his response to the changes to the Lao culture.

Shortly after, Sivilay was invited to explore a new project during an eight-week artist residency with M Gallery in Singapore. This led to a fuller development with his solo exhibition Emotions in 2012, where his experience in Singapore fueled his concerns on urbanization and alienation from the natural environment.

In Currents – A moving landscape, Sivilay turns to a more introspective style, developing a new language to express his ongoing struggles over an altering urban condition and its fragile coexistence with nature. In this latest body of work, Sivilay compulsively builds up layers of medium on the canvas and at times strips them away to reveal hidden textures and patterns.
Through this, Sivilay has created a series of abstract landscapes charged with flowing energy and reverberation.

Sivilay’s works are found in the collections of international private and corporate clients, as well as institutions including the National Gallery Singapore and United Nations Development Program.

Please see Appendix A for a list of the exhibited works in Currents – A moving landscape.

Selected exhibitions
Solo exhibitions
2012    Emotions, M Gallery Singapore
2010    Layered brilliance, M Gallery Singapore

Selected group exhibitions
2015    Art of Asean – Our exhibition, Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Art exhibition at National Institute of Fine Arts, Vientiane
2014    Mosaic: A Lao art collective, M Gallery Vientiane
We are Lao: Contemporary art in Lao Today, Art Trove in collaboration with M Gallery Singapore
            A joint exhibition by Lao and Thai artists, National Institute of Fine Arts, Vientiane
2013    Motives and movements, organized by Embassy of the Republic of Philippines at M Gallery, Vientiane
A traveling group exhibition by Lao and Vietnamese artists held in Hanoi and Vientiane
2012    The lure of Mekong, M Gallery Singapore
Asean art exhibition, South Thailand
2011    Group exhibition, Mask Gallery Vientiane
Crosswinds: An exhibition upon completion of an eight weeks residency in Singapore, M Gallery Singapore
            Voices, M Gallery Singapore
2010    Transition, M Gallery Singapore
Back to Lao history, ITEC Vientiane
            A different outlook: Life Amidst UXO, Cultural Hall Vientiane
2009    Lao contemporary art exhibition, Mask Gallery Vientiane
Contemporary art exhibition, M Gallery, Vientiane, Singapore

2011    Top graduate student prize at National Institute of Fine Arts, Vientiane

National Gallery Singapore
United Nations Development Program, Vientiane

About EY Asean Art Outreach program
This is the 21st exhibition of the EY Asean Art Outreach program. The program was started in October 2007 with the dual objectives of promoting the development of art in the region and contributing back to the community, as part of the organization’s corporate social responsibility program. 20% of the sale proceeds from the exhibitions are donated to three local charities: the Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore), the NCC Research Fund and Club Rainbow (Singapore).

The past 20 exhibitions have raised over S$213,000 for the three local charities through the sale of works of Singaporeans Anthony Chua, Hong Sek Chern, David Chan, Ron Wong, Ho Sou Ping and the late Chua Ek Kay; Vietnamese Hà Mạnh Thắng, Lý Hùng Anh and Phạm Huy Thông; Myanmar Aung Mint, Zaw Win Pe and Nay Myo Say; Malaysians Hoe Say Yong, Chong Siew Ying, Hamir Soib, Ahmad Shukri Mohamed, Umibaizurah Mahir and Kow Leong Kiang; Java-born New Zealander John van der Sterren and Filipino Jon Jaylo and Marina Cruz.

The EY Gallery is located in EY’s office at One Raffles Quay, North Tower, Level 18. The exhibition is open to the public on Tuesdays (12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.) and Wednesdays (5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.), from 7 April to 19 August 2016. Viewing is by appointment only. The public is encouraged to call +65 6535 7777 to make an appointment at least three days before visiting.


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