'Art and Loss' at the M1 Fringe Festival

Artists and performers of the M1 Fringe Festival, which runs from January 14 to 25, tell Gwen Pew about their thoughts on this year’s theme of ‘Art and Loss
Photo: Nguan
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After celebrating its tenth anniversary last year with the theme of ‘Art and the People’, the M1 Fringe Festival is back with something more introspective – its programme this year revolves around ‘Art and Loss’.

‘The theme resonates with me personally, and many of us can relate to it,’ says festival director Sean Tobin. ‘Loss is painful and bewildering. It makes us question so many things. It leads us to reflect, and it cuts into what makes us most human, so it’s a great theme to explore.’

The programme comprises theatrical and visual art works that examine and respond to the theme in its own way. Two talks and a masterclass will also debut this year; Tobin considers these the education and outreach element of the festival: ‘Some people are hungry to know about the making of art and performance, while others are happy to come and go.’

Tobin hopes that audiences will take a moment to reflect upon the theme. ‘The experience of loss hopefully reminds us to be grateful for what and whom we have in our lives, and to be thankful while we have it,’ he says. ‘And not only when we lose it.’

M1 Fringe Festival runs from January 14 to 25 at various locations.

Nguan - How Loneliness Goes
Photo: Nguan

Nguan On 'How Loneliness Goes'

What does loss mean to you?
The photographs in How Loneliness Goes were made during my dad’s battle with terminal cancer, and soon after his passing. You could say that the work was a means of coping as well as a manifestation of my state of mind at the time.

How does your work express loss?
A mood of void and absence is pervasive, as expressed in the faces or stances of my subjects and personified in the depictions of architecture. Everyone in the photos appears to be in mourning, and the vacant spaces seem as though they are populated by ghosts.

What is the message of your work?
Despite the elegiac subject matter of the exhibition, it shouldn’t be difficult to locate beauty in each of its individual photographs.

The Malay Man and His Chinese Father
Photo: Mish'aal

ponggurl (aka Noor Effendy Ibrahim) on 'The Malay Man and His Chinese Father'

What does loss mean to you?
I do not know. That is what it means to me. How does your work express loss? The Malay Man and His Chinese Father celebrates the ideas of need, desire, wanting and longing. It’s not to express, but to examine and understand the idea of loss.

What is the message of your work?
Truly enjoy sex when you are aware of it.

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Jason Wee - Mambo Night for a King
Photo: Jason Wee

Jason Wee on 'Mambo Night For a King'

What does loss mean to you?
The text that I am working with, From Third World to First by Lee Kuan Yew, is full of losses, some obvious, others less so. Part of my interest in doing this Mambo work is to invite my performers to see what we’ve lost in that story.

How does your work express loss?
I’m working with performers who are performing lines of text without speaking. They will move, even dance, but they won’t have the ability to speak.

What is the message of your work?
I don’t want to be part of a party that I can’t Mambo dance to.

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