Category Archives: EZ 34

Rome: 10 Things Not To Miss (Part 1)

Touring Rome is unlike visiting any other major city in Europe. This place, with a history of more than 2500 years, presents to visitors the  opportunity to experience an open air museum where angels and demons once ruled. One has to really like and appreciate heritage as this is a place where treasures and masterpieces of Roman art and architecture are preserved and presented proudly by the Italians. EZ has selected 10 things you should pen down when planning your tour in this ancient city.

 Part 1

01 Hop On Hop Off

Rome is unlike many modern European cities where the trains or subways are designed to directly reach important tourist attractions. This city has so many ancient architectural sites above and below ground level that the rail transportation system was built around these important sites, making sure that no heritage was damaged. As such, it is highly recommended that one should pack along a pair of good sport shoes. Furthermore if you are not travelling with a tour group, it is advisable to buy tickets and take a round trip with the Hop On Hop Off bus so that you will have a good idea and perspective of the city of Rome.

02 Colosseo (Colosseum)

The Colosseo (Colosseum in Italian) is one of the world’s most recognised buildings. One would be hard pressed to find a larger and more glorious setting that could seat over 50,000 people to view the mass slaughters which were a form of entertainment millennia ago. This was a brutal stage on which gladiators, slaves, criminals and animals had to fight to death for the sole purpose of surviving another day. It is highly recommended to purchase a combo ticket that covers the entrance for Forum and the Palatine Hill. Moreover, it allows you to bypass the super long queue. The ticket also comes with an English speaking guide that will take you to places that are restricted if one only buys the normal ticket. Before leaving, remember to take some memory shots with the Arch of Constantine, the triumphal arch in Rome.

03 Piazza Navona

Built on the site of the 1st century AD Stadium of Domitian, this city square is the venue that was once used by ancient Romans for festivals and sporting events. Today Piazza Navona is a pedestrian’s paradise where restaurants line the perimeter and the magnificent Fountain of the Four Rivers structure grace this elongated oval. One cannot miss the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, a 17th century baroque church that commands such fine craftsmanship, such splendour and such dedication to faith that is almost impossible to find in today’s modern world. For those who would like to bring home paintings as souvenirs, there are plenty of artists’ works on sale here.

04 The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II

The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele IIis located just within walking distance from the Colosseum. This magnificent yet controversial white marble monument that dominates Piazza Venezia was built to pay tribute to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a united Italy. Within the monument, the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento is housed. This is a museum dedicated to the history of how Italy was unified. The top of the monument provides a fantastic 360º panoramic view of Rome.

05 Trevi Fountain

If you like to meet The God of the Sea and do not mind squeezing with other admirers, then the Trevi Fountain would be the place to be. As tradition has it, you will supposedly return to Rome if you throw a coin over your opposite shoulder with your back facing the fountain. While this makes for a fun little activity, there is an annoying side to it – there are just too many people snapping, videoing and repeating the same ritual of tossing over and over again! However, the atmosphere of the jostling crowd and the magnificent presentation of the majestic Neptune riding a shell-shaped chariot with two seahorses are simply breath-taking. If things get a little overwhelming, an Italian Gelato might just do the trick.

Stay tune for the next issue of EZ to find out more exciting things to do in Rome.

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The Art of Human Psyche

One artist’s quest for artistic exploration and freedom

The human mind is an interesting subject, and it has captured the attention of Malaysian artist, Phillip Wong, who since 2009 has delved deep into the human psyche to explore its effect on the human condition. In his quest to find the answer to a question he likes – ‘why humans always got problem?’ – Wong has created a series of incredible artwork that capture his exploration of the human brain, emotions and the subconscience aptly titled The Human Mind.

One of Wong’s signature artistic styles is transparent glass painting – a style he developed using Perspex, glass, wood, canvas and transparent glass paint. ‘Transparent glass painting is see-through, and it allows you to see through the surface and look at what the work means,’ said Wong. He had started working on transparent glass paintings beginning with his Daun series 1993 which culminated in his first solo presentation in 2006. Now, with The Human Mind series, Wong has once again channelled his artistic impressions through transparent glass paint, this time on canvas.

Wong, born and raised in the idyllic town of Seremban, is among the most prolific contemporary artists in the country. A graduate of Malaysia Institute of Art (MIA), art has always been a big part of his life, a passion of his since he was a boy. ‘I dreamed of becoming an artist when I was just 6 years old and it was a dream born out of passion for art,’ said Wong in an interview with EZ. In the 15 years since graduating from MIA, Wong charged into the local art world with full-force before establishing ArtSeni Gallery in 2005.

For Wong, being an artist does not end with just creating art but he sees it as his mission to create awareness on art. This for him takes various forms, including building and gathering support for himself as well as his artists, exploring new avenues for exhibiting art works, and to promote Malaysian art internationally. In his efforts to serve the larger artistic community of Malaysia, he sat on the Board of Trustees for the National Visual Art Gallery of Malaysia for four years. Another notch in his artistic journey was nailed when Wong was awarded the much coveted Grand Prize at the 2007 Asia Art Award in Seoul, Korea. The following saw Wong being appointed as a committee member of the Asia Invitation Art Exhibition in Seoul, a position he has continued to hold.

Not just confined to fine art, Wong is also a dedicated and passionate practitioner of performing arts. He was bitten by the acting bug in 1996 when he made his stage debut in the drama About Them. From acting, Wong has gone on to produce his own shows. One of them which he is especially proud of is Twelve plus One.  The show combined his two passions – fine arts and performing arts – to create a spectacular experience for the viewers with its unique concept. In 2012, Wong starred in Passion & Drama, which he said would be his last appearance on stage for the time being. However, his support for the local performing arts scene would never wane. ‘I am now more focused on supporting them behind the scenes and supporting them unconditionally,’ said Wong.

2012 also saw Wong pulling the plug on ArtSeni Gallery, which at that time was located in Lot 10, Bukit Bintang. The decision to move away from managing a physical gallery came from his desire to focus on his paintings and to promote the local artists. This move also gave him the freedom to curate exhibitions outside of Kuala Lumpur with TIGA: The Intellectual in Generation of Aesthetics and The Journey Continues. Both the exhibitions were held in Penang in the second half of 2013. Wong was successful in introducing Kuala Lumpur-based artists to the public in Penang. With The Human Mind continuing Wong’s trajectory of artistic freedom and expression, 2014 looks like it is going to be yet another good year for this artist.

Whirlwind of Art

Art Stage Singapore 2014 hits a high note

Singapore was the centre of high art, glamour and culture in January when the fourth edition of Art Stage Singapore brought together some of the world’s top galleries, influential art personalities and artists from all walks of life.

For four days, from 16 to 19 January, the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Sands was buzzing with art frenzy. A total of 158 galleries exhibited at the fair, with 75% of them being Asia Pacific-based. Among the leading galleries present at Art Stage Singapore 2014 included ARNDT (Singapore, Berlin), De Sarthe Gallery (Hong Kong), Linda Gallery (Jakarta, Singapore, Beijing), Ota Fine Arts (Singapore, Tokyo) and White Cube (Hong Kong, London, Sao Paulo).

Art Stage Singapore, which in the last two years has become Asia’s leading art fair, takes its role of connecting the world to the best of Asian contemporary art seriously. While the fair does serve as a market platform where collectors and galleries get to acquire artworks, it also provides a crucial and much needed platform for discourse and for the exchange of ideas on Asian art.

Further enforcing its goal to bridge the Asian art scene with the wider global audience, Art Stage Singapore 2014 introduced a new format, The Platforms. A total of eight regional and country platforms were created, namely Southeast Asia, Australia, Central Asia, China, India, Japan, Korea and Taiwan Platforms. The Platforms showcased an extensive array of projects from the Asia Pacific region which were presented in a museum-like exhibition layout.

The Southeast Asia Platform hosted numerous galleries from the region with each country in being appointed a Country Adviser that acted like a curator. Simon Soon, an art writer and a PhD scholar in Southeast Asian art history in Sydney, Australia, was the Country Adviser for Malaysia. Three Malaysian galleries were presented in the Southeast Asia Platform, namely Wei-Ling Gallery, Richard Koh Fine Art and G13 Gallery. These three galleries represented works of the artists Anurenda Jegadeva, Justin Lim and Haslin Ismail respectively.