PULSE Awards Annoucement
PULSE Awards: Art for Life - Top 25 Entries
WINNER - Bodybuilders Duet Under Moonlight
Title: Bodybuilders Duet Under Moonlight
Medium: Oil, acrylic, sand, modelling paste, Time Out London magazine clippings on canvas
Artist: Haffendi Anuar (Malaysia)
“As an artist, I often work in layers and would start by developing a ground. When I'm making paintings on board, I would layer newsprint, paper and clippings, creating a black and white ground for painting or collage, as can be seen in Bodybuilders Duet Under Moonlight. This diptych - an explicitly figurative work - echoes the notion of same-sex coupling, a pair of very healthly men performing a song together outside in the night. Two muscular bulging torsos face each other, though each of their figures is cropped and condensed within the edges of the canvas, creating a sense of claustrophobia and restriction. The thickly applied contours are created using plastic squeeze sauce bottles. The paint application process reminisces one of my childhood fast-food favourites – the Ramly burger, an ubiquitous street-food in Malaysia. Dripping layers of toppings and sauces such as mayonnaise and chilli sauce are heavily applied onto halal meat patties using such containers. Notions of indulgent desires and an obsession of one’s body are explored in these works whilst also hinting at my own regimented workouts at the gym.”
MOST PROMISING AWARDEE - Blind you from the truth
Title: Blind you from the truth
Material: Oil on canvas
Artist: Nguyen Dat (Vietnam)
“Sex is considered a part of our daily lives to connect physically with a possible spouse and is perhaps one of the easiest ways to relieve stress. However, given the pandemic, being together for too much time in an enclosed space can also cause negative emotions and blind you from the truth.
So, along with sexual health, it is important for each individual to improve their mental health, as well. The truth is we need people to protect us from the consequences of the pandemic that make us unable to see the true nature of human beings. We need love for and from those close to us and our family in real life, too. It’s not all about sex and pleasure.”
Tears in the dark
Title: Tears in the dark
Medium: Woodcut on mdf board
Artist: Jason Hao (Malaysia)
“This work uses the violent process of woodcuts to express the physical, mental, and psychological harm caused by sexual violence between lovers. The characters in the work show a violent posture. The tears express that they are all in love, but they don't know how to express their emotions.”
Title: FIRE BLANKET
Medium: Fibreglass fire blanket, bleach, old clothes, nylon tent fly, duffel bag shell, polyester curtain, scrap fabric, reflective strip, safety straps
Artist: Ian Tee (Singapore)
“Inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt project, the 'FIRE BLANKET' series expresses a desire for comfort and protection that is rooted in our intimate relationship with textiles. Its title refers to the woven fibre-glass blankets used to extinguish fires. Here, the material is used to support a patchwork quilt made from fragments of unwanted clothes, scrap fabric and industrial safety materials, such as reflective strips. This is a gesture of recharging and strengthening an object often deemed to be soft and feminine, converging the social history of quilting with the compositions of hard-edged geometric abstraction. Just as the AIDS Quilt memorialised the lives lost to AIDS-related causes, the artwork seeks to highlight a sense of urgency and emergency around the condition.”
Feel something? Say something....
Title: Feel something? Say something....
Medium: Charcoal on paper
Artist: Eugene Nandakumar (Malaysia)
“There are men who dislike going to the doctor or feel too embarrassed to seek help. However, they shouldn't be anxious about treatments, especially when they are better than they were in the past. Testicular cancer, for example, is highly curable when detected early.
If you spot anything at any time or if you have any question or any doubt, go and get it checked out. People shouldn't be afraid to demand the treatment that they are entitled to receive.
Waiting has a price.....”
WINNER - JUX+ HUMYN
Title: JUX+ HUMYN
Medium: 3D Print biodegradable PLA
Artist: Jamela Law (Singapore)
"The ‘X’ and ‘Y’ in the title refer to the chromosomes defining human sex. However, we observe the proliferation of an entire spectrum of gender types(+) from these two building blocks. The Mandala traditionally symbolizes a contemplative place visited during meditation. Its circular form contains symbols of one’s inner self, guiding principles and experience.
The artist arranged diverse LGBTQ+ characters in the Mandala, each holding multiple marginalised identities to celebrate creation, self-love and sexuality across all genders. The sculpture’s geometric configuration establishes a sacred space to embark on safe, spiritual journeys to explore sexualities. Absent of stigma, it is an anti-hierarchical paradise; a renewed Kamasutra for today’s minds and socio-political contexts."
MOST PROMISING AWARDEE - Pink Hammer
Title: Pink Hammer
Medium: Found object and industrial paint
Artist: Jason Hao (Malaysia)
“In this diverse world, there are multiple genders. Men and women no longer have stereotypical features. The first impression of a man is that he is strong, just like a hammer. Pink is a symbol of femininity. This work "Pink Hammer" expresses that men could have a feminine posture.”
Two Lovers, Scorned
Title: Two Lovers, Scorned
Medium: Expanding foam, balloons, liquid latex, acrylic paint, wire, masking tape
Artist: Guang Hong Siew (Singapore)
“Two Lovers, Scorned depicts two phallic objects almost intertwining with each other. It is inspired by the love between marginalised individuals in the LGBTQIA+ Community and people living with HIV. Adorned in visceral textures that some might find grotesque, Two Lovers, Scorned is ultimately charged with a sense of poetry and beauty- love against the odds, solidarity and comfort in a society that denounces queer love and existence. The world hath no courage like two lovers, scorned”
my love is sensitive
Title: my love is sensitive
Medium: wood, gold, silver and copper leaves, glass beads, electronics (Arduino Uno,
RCWL 0516 microwave radar sensor, WS 2812 RGB LED stripes)
Artist: Bettina Schleier (Singapore)
“The artwork is sensing
your body movement and is transforming it into a colorful light show. It is interacting with you and gives you space for self reflection. Can you identify yourself in that light spectrum? Am I feeling monochrome or colorful? Striped or dotted? Am I shining
in rainbow colors, or do I want to shine at all?
By asking yourself these
questions the artwork becomes a tool for self awareness and reflection about your body, your sexuality and in general your relation to yourself and others. We humans tend to know very little about ourselves which makes us vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation.
To know what you love, what you desire or hate makes you resilient against all kinds of negative impacts.”
Medium: Mix (Bottle, wire, paper, dry wall, clay, resin, prep pill, light)
Artist: Nicolas Bernal (Thailand)
“Preptaca is a sculpture inspired by pre-colonialist art in South America. Its name comes from the combination of "Huitaca" and Prep medicine. Huitaca is the goddess of arts, dance and music, witchcraft, sexual liberation, and the Moon for the Muisca indigenous group in the Andes region. Peptaca aims to look at sexual health as something to cherish and understand that sexual health should have been on our minds from the earliest of times.
Prep, as the only medicine we can take as a prevention for HIV, becomes a symbol of hope, and in my opinion, something that should be from easy access to everyone in need. As a South American gay man living in Thailand, I have been blessed with the chance to demystify sexual health controls and appreciate how advanced Thai society is regarding this topic, compared to my home country Colombia. This sculpture also symbolizes an urge for this matter and the request to international entities to make it a fact for all of South America.”
WINNER - Terra Incognita (Untold)
Title: Terra Incognita (Untold)
Medium: Embroidery on giclée print photography on Arches Velin Museum Rag 315mg
Artist: Helene Le Chatelier (Singapore)
“Given the prevalence of a male gaze on the female body throughout art and social history, and given the omnipresence of brutal sexual considerations regarding the territory of femininity in today’s world, this photograph explores the volatility of human bonds even with oneself, especially when exploring contemporary femininities and sexualities. It can be seen as a call and a statement towards the past generations, an act of mending, like sutures would repair a wounded skin. It can also be seen as an attempt to discover the untold gentleness women owe to themselves by evoking a dreamy landscape, a transitional state where new beginnings can emerge…”
MOST PROMISING AWARDEE - can you give me a memory I can use?
Title: can you give me a memory I can use?
Medium: Performance for photograph, inkjet print on linen paper, acrylic, adhesive and resin on canvas
Artist: Ezzam Rahman (Singapore)
“can you give me a memory I can use?is a triptych performance for photography artwork that the artist (EzzamRahman) and his working partner performed for the camera. Both the bodies donned in translucent plasticdisposable raincoats, shot in the toilet, drenched under the shower hose, the bodies depict intimate momentsbetween two cis males. Ezzam grew with safe sex slangs–‘put on a raincoat’ was meant to put on a condom duringintercourse hence the bodiesdirectlywore raincoats in these images. Apart from the positivesafe sexmessage,Ezzam decided to perform for the camera because his body and physicality does not fall into the stereotypical ideal body we see in the media. He vulnerably shows his body to represent ‘normal’ bodies that do too desire love, intimacy and attraction just like anyone else. There’s always an unhealthystigma towards plus, fullbodied individuals in society so in this series of works, Ezzam would like to address and represent those issues, maythey be heterosexual nor the LGBTQIA+ individuals, everyone deserved love.”
Title: Breaking Through
Artist: Damian Black (Thailand)
“People with HIV/AIDS struggle with more than just health problems. The pressure from society, fighting with inner demons. It impacts their mental health and brings about feelings of drowning and difficulty breathing.
For me this topic is personal. As a member of LGBTQ+ community, I have met many good people who are judged by society because of their status, which makes them feel unwanted and like damaged goods. Some of them are fighting every day. Others closed up inside. HIV doesn't make anyone less human.”
Unho(m)mely Desires III: (disclosure/disinhibition)
Title: Unho(m)mely Desires III: (disclosure/disinhibition)
Medium: Dye sublimation print on polyester with hot seal, curtain rod and curtain brackets
Artist: Masuri Mazlan (Singapore)
“Desires III: (disclosure/disinhibition), is a play on the words “home" and "homme," which means male in French. By starting with the domestic sphere, the photographic curtain alludes to a specific location within a home unit: the shower. The self-portrait was taken using a self-timer on a film camera staged in a bathroom.
He explores the autobiographical aspect of his life through the obfuscation of the body that is synonymous with identity politics. In response to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's call to "pluralize and specify," the work employs abstraction to demonstrate various modes of existence on the margins. He is able to communicate unauthorized desires and sexuality through an acceptable mode of art: abstraction resists scrutiny and surveillance.”
Title: Home Alone
Artist: Robert Dodge (Thailand)
“These fourimages arefromHome Alonean occasional andongoing photography series about the effects of covid-19 on themental and sexual health of gay men. To date, the series hasfocused on the effects of lockdown isolation on loneliness,depression and sex-based risk taking.
Here we see our four subjects alone and homebound by thethreat of covid and the restrictions of a lockdown. In our firstimage, Kivin simply stares out the window, wondering what will become of him. In the two center images, Nitra checks the gayapps, questioning whether the risk is too much for sex andcompanionship. Ultimately, in the third photo, he capitulates to sadness and isolation. And in the final image, Ark huddles in his bedroom, looking fearfully at what approaches him.
Each of our subjects appears nude, symbolic of the way threats to everyone’s health reduces us all to our basic self. Gone are job titles, wealth and status. A virus, whether it be HIV or covid-19, is nonjudgmental and only seeks a suitable host.And like our subjects, we all emerge from this pandemic, survivors of a series of risks and consequences.”
WINNER - In and Out: Slip Knot
Title: In and Out: Slip Knot
Medium: Black stoneware
Artist: Pim Sudhikam (Thailand)
“In and out: Slip Knot" is a ceramic object in the shape of a knot. A line is twisted and looped itself inside, outside and around. A bight penetrates the loop of itself forming an intimate relationship. The cloudy milky glaze covers it to give a luscious feel even though it was turned into a lifeless cold stone.”
MOST PROMISING AWARDEE - The Little Rascals
Title: The Little Rascals
Artist: Eiair (Thailand)
“These miniature creatures are inspired by the aesthetic of nature which represents fragility and delicateness, the opposite side of Patriarchy that I see as the causes of problems in our society both in public and private spheres. I would like to induce people to pay more attention to the little things in our lives, empathize with others' feelings, and need to be careful when we interact with each other, just like when we want to interact with these tiny pieces of the ceramic creature.”
Venus of my Home
Title: Venus of my Home
Artist: Aor Sutthiprapha (Thailand)
““Venus of My Home” was inspired by the ‘Venus of Willendorf’, a small terracotta figurine carved in the shape of a portly woman, with wide hips and large, drooping breasts. Believed to havebeen created in the ‘Old Stone Age’, it is theorized that the sculpture was a token of worship toa deity of fertility for purposes ranging from agriculture, sex, and human reproduction. “Venus ofMy Home”represents the abundance that exists within living humans called ‘mothers’-with their plump hands and bodies, always so soft and comforting, always calling out to be hugged and touched. We have all experienced the unconditional devotion from one woman all our lives-like a life-giving stream of water, or a fertile piece of crop-growing land-which have all coalesced into the spiritual strength that afforded a child the confidence to walk their own paths to maturity.”
Title: Another Cup
Artist: Mickickuck (Thailand)
“Another Cup is inspired by the beauty of the diversity of humans. Concave shape of the cup transmitted from the concave part of the body.Various shades of the cup mean the diverse and unique human skin colour.The cup is designed to feel the sense of touch, to relieve nostalgia and fill the feeling of warmth that is missing in an era where we have to separate to wait for the day that we will be closer together again.”
Body like Pottery
Title: Body like Pottery
Medium: Stoneware 1,120 c oxidation
Artist: Mick Nathhapol (Thailand)
“I was inspired to describe the state of body and soul. The cycle of death was born in Buddhism. Let's compare and combine the idea of a container in ceramic work, which is like a body to wrap up. The same spirit that swirled into a new vessel or body could not be chosen. Still have to live through a love story. Change through time, tradition, culture, belief, era and social context.
Human worth judgment right to love through gender. On the outside, I think we can differentiate between genealogical sex and sexual orientation under love. I think that when we look through this vessel deep into the essence of humanity.
It is the spirit of love for one another that is important and that all human beings have equal rights and make the world a better place than discrimination, stigmatization, racism, hatred or material values.”
WINNER - Bong Xa Bong
Title: Bong Xa Bong
Medium: Multimedia art
Artist: Tu Pham (Vietnam)
“Sexual health for me is closely linked with mental health. As a queer individual growing up in a still quite conservative country like Vietnam, I was ashamed of my sexuality for a long time.
The film, "Bóng Xà Bông", was made in my attempt to explore and understand how the brain works in terms of constructing stereotypes and processing negative information with the focus on news-generated stereotypes on the LGBTQ community in Vi?t Nam. In this film, I play a gay superhero that uses his first ever queer memory as his super power to burn down the stereotypes.”
MOST PROMISING AWARDEE - One Night
Title: One Night
Medium: Digital art
Artist: Keefer Berlin (Thailand)
"I want to illustrate the sexual experience of a casual hook up in one night. Behind closed doors, there’s lust for sex, drugs, and love. In this illustration, I want to show the importance of sexual health through different people’s desires and experiences. Rather than judging, we need to discuss what we can do to help and support our community.”
Title: Nha Hoang (Haunted House)
Medium: Multimedia art
Artist: JACK! (Vietnam)
““Nhà Hoang” is a journey towards self-healing. The idea primitively came from the creator's childhood fascination with horror movies, and the“haunted” houses in his hometown Da Lat city. During themaking of the film, a connection between horror and queerexpressions was discovered,specificallysociety’s impacts onthe issues of stigma, discrimination,alienation within our queercommunity. The work also reflected his experience with panic attacks during the COVID quarantine, the effort to “regain breath” during one of the episodes. Lastly, the transformative,“death & rebirth” themes of the film hoped to show one's courage to demand liberation, and to create their own light at the end of the tunnel.”
Between Two Worlds
Title: Between Two Worlds
Medium: Digital art
Artist: Tora Söderström (Thailand)
“As someone who is half Thai-Swedish, I'vebeen privileged enough to live in both places. The two countries are vastly differentwhen it comes to the approach towards sex.I could never really fit into either culture.Feeling like I’m not sexual enough for thesex-positive west. But too sexual for thetimid east, a place where porn and sex toysare illegal. Stuck in between these two worlds. But as I become more comfortable with my sexuality, I stop comparing myself to others and begin to create an outlook of my own.”
Sex mental health quadriptych
Title: Sex mental health quadriptych
Medium: Digital art
Artist: Prawit Jensukhum (Thailand)
“Every individual can struggle with their sex, gender and identity. It can be physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially and/or spiritually.
One factor can cause issues to other factors, such as physical struggles can lead to psychosocial struggles and vice versa. Social factors can cause psychological struggles and, in turn, cause physical and social struggles. All of these struggles can lead to drug use, seeking for intimacy love and acceptance in the world outside and virtual world,
seeking adjustment and support from medical providers, seeking release and safe space in different places-- be it in the right place or the wrong place.
That’s why we have to identify these issues, raise awareness, and offer solutions to break this vicious cycle of sexual mental wellbeing of the global population.”