Interview#4: Aiman Hakim

Aiman Hakim is an upcoming contemporary visual artist that has been quietly contributing to the arts scene since he graduated from LaSalle-SIA with a Diploma in Fine Arts in 2004. He has also received awards and scholarships throughout his three years studies in LaSalle, including the ‘Winston Oh Travel Award’ and ‘Georgette Chen Scholarship’ in 2003 and ‘LaSalle-SIA Scholarship’ in 2002. Aiman has also participated in numerous group shows since then, including ‘Lovemelt’ in February 2006 and the first ever ‘Pink’ show (Red+White=Pink) in 2004 with both exhibitions being held in Utterly Art.

Back as a full time artist in 2009, Aiman curated his first group exhibition, ‘A Marriage of Convenience’, held at Forth Gallery, and had his first successful solo exhibition, For Ages 4 and Up, in Utterly Art. His ongoing series works, generally deals with the idea of conformity in society, exploring the ‘absurd’ notion of self-individuation in a culture where communal ideologies still dominate. Aiman also uses his art as a platform for activism, fuelled mainly by emotions, beliefs and a need to bring a point across and make a change.


Aiman will be showing his new works for MAN-MADE and RAP speaks with the talented artist to find out what are his works all about. Check out his website to find out more!

Question (Q): Tell us more about the new works that you are showing at Man-Made!

Aiman Hakim (Aiman): The works (or WORK!) I’m exhibiting is part of an ongoing series of paintings that question social norms and behavioral expectations.

Q: The portrayal of the figures in your works are mostly toys and dolls, why is that?

Aiman: Dolls and toys are what I believe to be one of a child’s first few influences in projecting expectations. Usually mass produced, these toys are created to look and function a certain way with limitations to movement unless specifically made to do otherwise. Putting that into context, the toys represent a form of conformity in society, a projection of a stereotype, of how one should act, look or behave. At the same time, I use these dolls to embody an idea of perfection, and through my paintings, provide a social commentary on issues at hand.

Q: Any artists that have inspired your art practice?

Aiman: Looking at artworks by fellow artists like Nicholas Chai and Jolene Lai never fail to inspire me. We might not relate concept wise but their technical abilities are much to be desired. Those are the type of works that I look at around 4 in the morning, after a whole day of painting, and i’m inspired to paint a few hours more, at least.

I’m also a big fan of works by Ron English, Ronald Ventura, Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol.

Q: As a full time artist who has been in the local art scene for quite some time, what do you think of the LGBT-themed art and homoerotic art in Singapore?

Aiman: LGBT-themed and homoerotic art in Singapore is like a random facebook update; some see it, most don’t and very few (usually the same people) would bother to comment. There is a lack of assertive publicity going on to help promote the artworks and the cause, as well as a proper channel to reach out to those outside the LGBT community. Art proposals are either rejected or politely advised to be ‘watered down’ to either meet censorship restrictions or for commercial reasons. So in a way you can say that the art produced is a very good representation of the actual LGBT scene in Singapore; well-contained and somewhat ignored, unless of course, for the purpose of bad press.

Q: Do you think there’s a need for such themed artworks to be showcased or discussed locally?

Aiman: The problem with silence is that it can be perceived as a passive consent. Art can function as a social commentary, giving some an outlet to voice their concerns while creating awareness for others who aren’t. Whether it results in some form of conclusion or understanding afterwards is different issue altogether.

Q: Any future art shows to share?

Aiman: I’ll be participating in the Affordable Art Fair (under Utterly Art) in mid November, as well as a group show (in conjunction with World Aids Day) with Chan Hampe in early December. My 2nd Solo show is scheduled around April next year and as we speak, am currently planning an exhibition with Nicholas and Jolene, preferably around September 2011.

Q: Any last words for the LGBT community?

Aiman: Not really.

MAN-MADE#1 exhibition opens on 12 October 2010, 7.30pm at DYMK bar, 41 Neil Road. It runs until 2 November 2010

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