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360 YA!

YA! These are ThreeSixty Art Development Studio’s first eleven

I saw the hunger in their eyes when I met them last week. Eleven young and passionate art students, with fire burning in their belly, aspiring to be full-time artists. If those 11 were for real, it was definitely the mark of a new awakening in our art scene.

At first blush, the students appeared naïve and easy as ice creams on cones, but I was wrong. Dead wrong. There was more to these undergrads than meets the eye.

They call themselves ‘YA’, a play on both the phrase Young Apprentices and an affirmation to their entrance in art scene (ya meaning yes in Bahasa Malaysia). Thus, “360 YA!” group show was conceived as a collaborative step between the studio and YA group.

The idea behind the show is to shift public myopia and their fixation on established artists towards a network of young talents who are poised to become professional artists any time soon. But it won’t be a walk in the park. First of all, Threesixty Art Development Studio’s very act in plucking these students from their varsity and putting them straight into the commercial world is in itself a gamble, especially since this is the studio’s only second show.

Secondly, we will be the first to admit that raising new talents is not an easy task. They’ll get on your nerves, burn your energy, be crybabies and generally make a misery of your life. “Be careful when dealing with young artist, they are brats who bite the hands that feed them,” people say about ‘aspiring’ artists “They’ve got attitude!”

But aren’t all nurturing processes like that?

We are not intimidated, even while we are perpetually bombarded with these warnings. For once, why not let these kids swim in their attitudes, give them full license to rebel, tolerate their attack on our front and allow them do this their way? What’s the worst that could happen? They don’t even have enough confidence to stagger the art scene to begin with. Because I know that whatever attitude that they have, it is not borne out of self-belief. They still need us to guide them and be their support system.

Our studio is giving these young artists a chance to use our space as a stepping stone in entering the real scene. We are going to let them handle their first commercial show on their own. We are not going to breathe down their necks but give them total freedom if that’s what they need.

These 11 serve as a preview of what we have in store. Over time, we intend to inspire other art graduates, make them be part of the scene rather than dissolve into anonymity or doing odd jobs to make ends meet.

My communion with Young Apprentices group that Sunday was a testament to their commitment, interest, passion, ideas and perseverance all wrapped up in one. Honestly, I’m loving their spirit. Let’s give these new artists a chance. We don’t have to bend over backwards to help them; just invite them into the picture in anticipation of a new wave in the art scene.

by Faizah Elis

e : faizah@360kl.com