Q&A with Angie Seah
You've been engaged in community arts projects for 10 years, what has brought you back to it time and again?
Being with the people from my society and connecting with them through art makes me feel grounded. The exploration of one's own work is often concerned with societal issues in some way, therefore I feel working within a community is a way to attain a more complete understanding of the society one lives in. It gives a chance to step outside of one's own practice and be with the reality of life, through people.
How do you see contemporary art benefiting communities in projects like Life Souvenirs?
Contemporary art can give a brand new experience that allows people to open up to the idea that they can make art and anything can be art. We provide an experience of the intangible to unravel through the creative process - a mean to connect with themselves. This can provoke a sense of empowerment within through developing first-hand knowledge of how the arts can enrich one's life.
Conversely, the benefit to the arts community is felt through the experience that artists gain by opening up their practice in such a way. The decision to have a production team comprised of art students and a practicing video artist works to a similar effect.
What are the challenges for artists coming in to work with people in the community?
It depends on the individual artist, but certainly they need to have patience and a friendly nature, as well as being adaptable. if you're able to conceptualise, summarise and introduce your work to people who are unfamiliar with art, that's a real challenge. Finding a way to convey your ideas in this context can give you a different perspective on how your work communicates with people.