22 February 2013 — It was supposed to be a quick dash into town to run some errands, but while walking past Raffles Hotel Arcade, I stumbled upon Singapore artist Izziyana Suhaimi installing her embroidered artwork on the display window of Chanhampe Gallery. I have never seen anything quite like it, and so upclose: pieces of sheer fabric, some coloured threads, light as a feather, almost an apparition.
The installation was still in progress, but it was full of intrigue. A delicate piece of seemingly random stitches, but beautiful and magical.
Izziyana was kind enough to take a break to explain what it was: the base is sheer organza, the thread is cotton, and the image is Singapore’s Raffles Hotel. This is her impression of the much-fabled hotel. She said although the hotel has been a gathering place for the rich and famous for over 100 years, it “exists only on the periphery of my consciousness; I never had a reason to stay there. My experience of it is only as a passerby.”
She said she prefers craft-based techniques – handmade, labour-intensive, time-consuming – and this “Memories of Raffles Hotel” embroidered work took a few months to complete. “It started with drawings on paper and then the use of a sewing machine and finally handsewing,” she said.
These days, patience is a particular virtue and, as Izziyana has shown, can be a creative force. I have not seen many of her work but I think she may just take this craft of hers into areas well beyond our imagination. She has been a full-time artist since late 2012 and has shown at several galleries in Singapore. She graduated from National Technological University of Singapore’s School of Art, Design and Media and maintains her website at http://my-bones.tumblr.com/