I have had the privilege of becoming the art director and lead graphic designer for Indigo Magazine, the new voice from Southeast Asian arts and beyond (www.indigo-magazine.com). Indigo is a magazine about contemporary arts and cultures of Southeast Asia aimed. The arts in Southeast Asia has seen great developments in the last decade or so, and we believe this written and visual medium can help increase its profile. Beyond the arts itself – which cannot exist in a vacuum, hence arts and culture – we aim to discuss issues related to display, collection, the role of independent/artist-run spaces, their impact on the wider perception of art for non-industry people, where this fits into the social context etc.
To focus on the contemporary is to join the current discourse on changing representations and narratives. Identities of Southeast Asian countries should not be tied to war, sorrow, plight, disease, etc., or tied to an unfounded exoticisation of the region. Indigo aims to offer an alternative to the ancient, rusty-crusty portrayal of Southeast Asian art that is too often seen in museums/galleries (not to say that such portrayal is invalid, but more that it does not have as much of an importance in our vision for this magazine).
Indigo is about looking back at our history and culture to charge forward with new narratives. I have collaborated with various writers and artists from Vietnam, China, Cambodia, etc. to devise the overall concept and style for the magazine. I aimed to not only demystify but also deliver the authenticity of contemporary Southeast Asia culture, as seen through the arts and designs.
Core 5 beliefs
• We believe that Southeast Asian arts and culture is under-represented in the media.
• We believe that Southeast Asian arts and culture is often misrepresented in the media.
• We believe that Southeast Asian misrepresentation often falls in the traps of aesthetic exoticism, over-use of war-centric historical re-interpretation, or romantic orientalism.
• We believe that a new medium promoting younger voices from Southeast Asian countries and diasporas has the power to reshape the narrative.
• We believe that artists are the agents of radical change in Southeast Asian societies.