Photo credit: SHAYNE PHUA


Shayne Phua, 24, is an artist and art instructor. She made her debut in 2020 with her solo exhibition titled “Sehnsucht”.  As an art practitioner, Shayne tells stories through her works. She also enjoys unleashing her students’ creativity by giving them multiple directions and the freedom to create. Today, she shares some insight about her art form and passion for her craft!

Tell us more about what you do!

For my art practice, most of my works look into oral traditions, Chinese folklore, and cultural semiotics with the intention of learning and embracing traditional cultures amidst cultural homogenisation. I hope to challenge the Eurocentric perspective in Arts and Historical Narratives.

With regards to my job as an art instructor, I am an Art and Music Scheme (AMIS) instructor who teaches ceramics in primary schools.

What inspires or motivates you to do this?

“Passion” seems to be the appropriate answer for a question like this, but I really don’t want to sugarcoat creating art with “passion”. I am not so much driven by the passion I have for art even though I’ve always loved it. I think being able to make art and being given platforms to share what I have created comes with a lot of privilege. The opportunities given to me are what motivate me to continue.

Apart from these opportunities, I found myself reaching a point where making art is a part of my identity, and a part I’m afraid to lose. Most importantly, I think creating art adds meaning to my life and helps me make sense of the world.

My job as an art instructor is really practical considering its allowance of time flexibility that enables me to continue my art practice. I previously tried out various other jobs and found this to be the most suitable one for me. I think there’s so much to gain from my students, and I’m very inspired by the works they have created. It is always exciting to open the kiln to admire their end-products. I am receiving more than I give.

Have you faced any challenges so far? How did you overcome them?

The main challenges that I face in my art practice are space and financial issues, which I am still figuring out. As of now, I am searching for a place I can rent and share  with a few other art practitioners. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to find a space to do what we really love while improving our craft!

If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow youth, what would it be?

I think what’s most important for me right now is to “trust the process” and “work at your own pace”. Both phrases say a lot about being patient with ourselves, so focus on our practice and be at peace with whatever stage we’re at.

To those who need it, you’re doing just fine!

What are your hopes or plans for the future? What do you want to see or perhaps do?

I want to live in another country for a while to  get a fresh perspective and see the world differently from how I see it now. Since I’m afraid of losing my artistic side, I’ll carry it with me wherever I go!

This article was published on Jan 7, 2022

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