For many of us who have yet to see Picasso’s Guernica, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms, or any of the other celebrated masterpieces up close, they are now within our reach. More art museums and galleries are migrating their collection into the digital realm, the shift primarily driven by the ubiquity of digital technology and accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis.
Miguel “Mike” Alcazaren wears many artistic hats— animator, filmmaker, screenwriter, and comic book series creator. He began his career as an animator, co-founding a stop motion animation company with his brothers in 1989. The company is the first of its kind in the Philippines and produced experimental films, ads, and title sequences for TV shows, many of which earned national and international recognition, including the prestigious New York Festival Award.
Mike branched out into the world of live-action commercial directing in 1995, working mostly in a freelance capacity. He has since built an impressive portfolio of popular and award-winning television ads. In 2013, he wrote, directed, and produced his first feature film, “Puti” [White]. The film was screened at a national film festival and was also an entry at the 32nd Brussels International Film Festival.
Mike’s first foray into screenwriting, which focused on the incarceration and trial of opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. during the Ferdinand Marcos regime, won him the country’s prestigious Carlos Palanca Memorial Literary Awards. He recently wrapped up a popular, self-published Filipino zombie comic book series, “Patay Kung Patay” [Death be Damned].
Freelance documentary photographer Joshua Irwandi became the talk of the town when his photograph of a solitary plastic-wrapped corpse of a suspected COVID-19 victim in an Indonesian hospital was published by the National Geographic in 2020. “The Human Cost of COVID-19” photo quickly went viral and sparked a controversy in Indonesia. For this image, Joshua was nominated as a finalist of The 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography.
Joshua pursued his graduate studies in photojournalism and documentary photography at London College of Communication. He was the recipient of the National Geographic Society COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists and Forhanna Foundation Grant for Young Talent in 2020. This year, Joshua received numerous recognitions, including the 2021 World Press Photo Award, Grand Prize of Lucie Foundation Open Call, and Best Single Photo in Citizen Journalist category of the Anugerah Pewarta Foto Indonesia. Joshua was recently selected as a mentee in the VII Photo Agency Mentor Program 2021-23 Cohort.
Agus is a design student in one of the oldest design schools in Indonesia, located in Bandung City, West Java province. Like other design students and professional designers in this city, Agus came looking for a small metal workshop to complete an assignment: a set of home decor products. He hired a metal craftsman to build a prototype. The prototype, built through a simple process, was finished in less than a week.
In 2012, Thao Vu started her sustainable fashion brand, Kilomet109, a local label that prides itself on applying traditional methods into contemporary design and localising its supply chain. She aimed to set an example for other companies to follow.
Kilomet109 is the only label to grow its own textiles in collaboration with local artisans from various ethnic minority groups across Viet Nam. The company is involved in the whole production process from beginning to end.
Thao has been collaborating with other designers and researchers around the globe to promote sustainable methods of natural dyeing and textile production. She has received two British Council Connecting Through Culture grants, which has allowed her and her local artisans to engage in cultural exchange and capacity-building activities.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2010), which has been instrumental in promoting and analysing creative economies all over the world through its Creative Economy Program, described the creative economy (CE) as “an evolving concept based on creative assets potentially generating economic growth and development.”
Born into a family of weavers, Viengkham Nanthavongdouangsy learned the craft at an early age. Through her passion for weaving and dedication to maintain the family legacy, she became a master weaver and a leading fashion designer in Lao PDR. She has also published several books on Laotian textiles and weaving culture.
Vientiane-based Viengkham established her own house of Lao textile and fashion named KHANG in 2015, through which she employs and empowers more than 30 women weavers while promoting Laotian textiles to the global market. She has received international recognition for her designs.
Viengkham has been working closely with weaving communities across ASEAN, participating in events such as TENUN Fashion Week and ASEAN-Korea Fashion Week. Her work is currently on display in the Lao Pavilion at the ongoing World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
NFTs or non-fungible tokens are creating a buzz in the art world and creatives in Southeast Asia are buying in. They are latching on to the craze, experimenting with their digital work, and gearing up to take the NFT scene by storm.
Digital technology has been transforming the world of art since the 1960s. Artists are leveraging the power of technological innovations to explore new forms of artistic expression and create engaging digital art experiences. Digital transformation in the art field became more evident during the pandemic, as artists were pushed to expand their work into the digital realm.
There is a growing interest in the socio-economic contribution of the creative economy. It is spurred by the technological and digital transformation happening worldwide at an unprecedented rate and the increasing shift from an industrial to a knowledge-based economy where creativity and innovation are becoming critical.
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