Malaysian designer Fern Chua among five South-East Asian artisans featured in exhibition


Malaysian fashion designer Fern Chua is among five artisans from around South East Asia to be selected for a project that celebrates the art and craft of local craftsmen.

Malaysian fashion designer Fern Chua is among five artisans from around South East Asia to be selected for a project that celebrates the art and craft of local craftsmen.

Best known for her brand Fern Batik Collective, Chua joins four other ‘Makers’ from around the region for The Makers Project, an initiative by Scotch whisky producers The Balvenie that celebrates the processes of making and crafting by not just the craftsmen behind its award-winning whiskies, but also craftsmen and ‘makers’ in other industries and arts.

The other artists involved in the project are Singaporean illustrator Adeline Tan, Thai artist Phannapast Taychamaythakool, Saigon-based multi-medium artist Vu a.k.a Caubetho, multidisciplinary visual artist Daryl Feril from the Philippines, and self-taught Indonesian artist and illustrator Diela Maharanie.

Each artist created specially commissioned artwork for the Makers Project, which will be exhibited in an exclusive exhibition at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur from December 3 to 12.

During a recent media event, Chua shared her passion for upholding the traditional art of batik printing, as well as the contemporary techniques and approaches she’s taken to elevate the industry.

The 43-year-old Johorean, who founded her eponymous label in 2015, first got into batik painting after a life-changing car accident in which her left hand was paralysed.

“Initially, I started practising batik painting as a ‘healing process’ for my injury, but I quickly became enamoured by the art form. I’ve always been drawn to the diverse textiles we have here in Malaysia,” she said in a 2019 interview with StarLifestyle.

In the same interview, she also explains that she likes to experiment when it comes to the techniques involved in producing her batik, utilising brushes, sea salt and sponges to create the patterns, instead of just the usual tjanting tool.

The specially commissioned Balvenie-inspired artwork by Chua will be officially unveiled at The Makers Project exhibition, where guests will also be taken on a sensorial journey, and a curated cinematic tasting experience. Go here for more information or to buy tickets for the exhibition.

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