Tiger Translate 2008: London

Nine artists, six countries, three days and countless bottles of beer and paint later, the event I came to London for has finally drawn to a close.

Saturday 20th September was showtime for Tiger Translate London. The artists have slogged through day and night to produce the kind of work that’ll earn them exposure and recognition, and now they get to showcase their work in the global city of London.
We arrived at Hearn Street carpark just as the workers are putting their finishing touches on this unusual art exhibition venue.

Adoring the walls of this indoor-carpark-turned-art-exhibition are works by current and previous Tiger Translate regional competition winners.
The number of displays at the venue were modest, but there was plenty to command my attention. It’s cool also that Malaysia was well represented with three pieces from our very own artists, including this one by a Dennis Juan Ma.

Dennis is also the guy responsible in producing this year’s flyer for Tiger Translate.
But my favourite piece has gotta be this one by Mongolian artist Badral Bold. It is his unique interpretation of the theme ‘Voyage’ that earned him the ticket to London.

I know it doesn’t look like much in pictures, but upon closer inspection I noticed something quite unusual about it.
See those hairy orange stuff in the middle of the painting? Those, my friends, are actually HORSE HAIR!

REAL horse hair!
Badral has a fine arts background and he’s been getting a lot of acclaim back in his home country. London was his chance to show off what he is capable of to people outside Mongolia. With this piece, Badral illustrated the bridging of cultures between East and West. And what better way to do it with some fine Mongolian horse hair.
I didn’t ask which part of the horse he got the hair from though.

Right smack in the middle of the entrance is the perspex glass by UK street artist EINE and Danish architect Andreas Kjaergaard.
One side of the glass, EINE wrote “LONDON’S CALLING.”.

London called him alright. Ironically, he got a phone call halfway through and had to rush off to respond to a family matter. Andreas was left with the perspex glass, who painted the other side with what he thinks Londoners are calling out about.
Not sure if Andreas deliberately left it unfinished.

Either he didn’t have enough time, or there’s some kinda deeper meaning behind his work. Like how London is so diverse, different and multicultural.
Quietly sitting next to Andrea and EINE’s work is the iconic black London cab, or at least, what resulted after Pure Evil (UK), Ben Qwek (Singapore) and Mee Wong (China) vandalised it.
If you remember, three days ago, the cab looked like this.

This is how pimped out it looks like right now.

Notice the figurine of the prancing horse and the words “Mongolian Express” in front of the car?
It is a tribute to fellow Tiger Translate artist Badral Bold from Mongolia.
The fact that Badral comes from a place where horse-drawn carriages are a common mode of transportation fascinated Pure Evil so much that he dedicated this taxi to him.

The passenger side of the car is dominated by Pure Evil’s monstrosity of a tiger.
Not sure where he got his inspiration from. I thought it looked like either a tiger on steroids, or what happened when Venom from Spiderman 3 drank Tiger Beer.

On the other side of the car, Ben added his touch of Japanese and Chinese culture influenced paintings.

Right at the back, Mee Wong drew two cute little pandas eating Chinese Xiao Long Paos.
But knowing how Mee Wong always eroticises her artwork, I knew she ain’t just gonna draw a normal Xiao Long Pao.
Take a closer look at them.

Yes, your eyes fooled you not.
Those are breast-shaped Xiao Long Paos!

We left for a break and returned to the carpark at 8pm.
As night fell and guests streamed in, Hearn Street Carpark slowly transformed from a quiet art gallery into one big party hall.

In keeping with the Tiger Translate theme of ‘Voyage’, Monorex (UK) painted this excellent mural to welcome the guests at the entrance.
With comfortable sofas to sit on all over the place and spotlights creatively lighting up the venue, that manky old carpark I saw during daytime suddenly turned into something completely different.

Heck, they even parked some tuk-tuks outside to attract the crowd!

The taxi received quite a lot of attention. One guy even offered to buy it for 2,000 pounds (RM9,000) but Tiger Beer is not selling it just yet.
They had a better idea.

Pure Evil suggested taking it for a road trip from London, UK to Ulan Bataar, Mongolia.

Sure sounds quite like an adventure, but unless they overhauled the engine, I don’t think I’m gonna bet my life on the roadworthiness of that old vehicle.

Towards the far end of the carpark, Udisha (India), Ben (Singapore) and Badral (Mongolia) showcased their spontaniety when it comes to art.
Painting in front of a live audience, they finished the large canvas earlier contributed by all of Tiger Translate London’s artists.

Indian graphic designer Udisha dominated a large portion of the canvas.
She first painted “Time For Tiger“, Tiger Beer’s old slogan, as roots of a tree in black and white. As if to underscore the brand’s growth through time, she painted the new slogan “It’s Tiger Time” in colourful stylised letters on top of it.

At Hearn Street carpark, it wasn’t just the artists that were hard at work.
The guests who attended the event weren’t just sitting around drinking beer either. They were given little tiles of canvas to paint and to hang on the wall.

It sure didn’t take long for the wall till fill up with everyone’s artwork. I didn’t even had a chance to paint my own tile dammit!

Try to see if you can spot the Malacca flag on the lower-right hand side of the wall, done by Claudine Yap, a Malaccan living in London whom I met up with to eat roast duck in Bayswater that costs 9 pounds (RM55) per plate.

As Thai band Circle 22 rocked the crowd at Hearn Street carpark, a couple of familiar faces began rocking up as well.

This is Jasiminne the Penguin, whacky as always, leaping onto her tall curly-haired man friend.
Those long time readers who’ve been following kennysia.com should remember Jasiminne. She used to be quite a hit until she quietly disappeared off the blogging scene after she moved to London, so it’s great to catch up with old friends again.
On a totally unrelated note, I swear her boyfriend Daniel looks EXACTLY like singer Josh Groban.
Don’t believe?

Here’s proof.
(And I am so gonna get killed for this.)
With old friends as company, I finally took my eyes off the art for a while. I checked out the crowd in attendance.

I thought Tiger Translate, being an independent underground arts exhibition, would attract more hippies and stereotypical artsy fartsy homosexuals. Quite surprisingly, not only were the crowd at Hearn Street carpark a mix of sophisticated and hip-and-casual souls, they also included many people across different ages, races and background.
Some came looking like a supermodel.

Others wore apple-bottom jeans, boots with the fur. The whole crowd was looking at her.

She hit the floor, next thing you know, her hand hurts.

The highlight of Tiger Translate came in the form of something called Secret Wars.
It is a live graffiti arts battle created by UK collective Monorex. And the way it works is pretty awesome.

Two teams of two artists get a white canvas each.
Working in front of a live audience, they must completely decorate the canvas with graffiti within a time limit of 90 minutes. When the buzzer rings, the team who gets the loudest cheer from the crowd wins.

Usually the teams would draw something sarcastic or insulting towards the other team, but they pretty much got a free reign on what they wanted to draw.
Due to time restrictions, the teams would not be able to coordinate or plan anything among themselves. The teams were only given black paint, so if they made a mistake, too bad.

Anyway, Team A on the left squared off against Team B on the right.
The crowd was enthusiastic, glueing themselves to the canvas for the whole 90 minutes as if they’re watching a football match between Arsenal and Man United. At the end of 90 minutes, this was the result of Tiger Translate London’s Secret Wars.

Not bad for an impromptu work done only by four people.
Although I personally preferred the cleaner artwork on the left, graffiti is meant to be messy and the crowd rightfully cheered for Team B to win.

I left when the live shows concluded around midnight, although many chose still stayed on and party till dawn (including Dawn who karaoked till morning came).
Tiger Translate was definitely an experince that was different from anything I’ve experienced in the past. I have been to many galleries and art exhibitions, but they’ve always been modern and contemporary, and none of them was as hip and underground as this one was.

Sure, a lot of focus was placed on street art and all the artists have names I had never even heard of before. But wandering through the makeshift gallery of Hearn Street carpark, I can’t help but to feel that there is an undeniable sense that these works, for all their different mediums, approach and styles, are bound by a shared spirit of togetherness.
And that, in a world like today, is unfortunately something we always take for granted.

I’m heading home to Kuching!

Wah! What is with the recent government crackdown and arrests of bloggers?

72 Replies to “Tiger Translate 2008: London”

  1. Heck, that tiger cab looks ugly lar… no fusion taste.. but overall shud be okay la… a decent event.. keke..
    I like the xiao long pao though.. 😛

  2. at last…
    wait for your blog been so long LOL… bring me back along too..
    i miss kuching too!! umm.. i been more than 5 years never touch kolok mee already lor.. dunno when got chance to eat..

  3. I’m a malay. Does that makes me evil, corrupted, bad and all? I wish racism and labelling one race because of one person’s act would stop. Seriously. It would make a lot more different if positive messages can be send out rather than joinin the band wagon of hatred, malices and all. Sigh… just a passer by…
    [KS replies: Umm… I don’t think I labelled you as evil, corrupted, bad and all. I didn’t even say anything racist towards any race. Fact of the matter is, Ahmad Ismail uttered racist statements against Chinese and all he got was a party suspension. Others who condemned his actions on the other hand were detained by the govt under ISA for ‘being a threat to national security’. So? Read deeper into the sarcasm on my ‘Short Talk’, and find the protestor in me screaming out for justice.]

  4. Kenny, da bao the Four season’s duck rice from Bayswater back for me can? I miss them leh, 3 years since i came back from London liao. Hoho. What? 9 pounds already hah? haha, last time i ate only 6 pounds.

  5. Man, the event is uber cool! It must have been great to be able to experience this in person man! We should have something like this in KL as well man! Build the art scene! GO TIGER!!

  6. let me cont the song:
    Others wore apple-bottom jeans,
    boots with the fur.
    The whole crowd was looking at her.
    she hit the floor
    next thing ya know
    shawty got low low low low

  7. Awesome… Great graffiti art. I saw some graffiti on the buidling’s wall when I was in Fremantle, Perth. But the one you are showing are sure far better. Yup.. I like the Team A plain one too.

  8. Love more of your second part of Tiger Translate 2008: London.
    I love the welcoming mural done by UK entry. It’s very warm and welcoming.
    Also the 90 minutes canvas painting by some talented artists.
    You are so cool posing in the car coming back for good, Kenny!!!

  9. Kenny, which piece of graffiti won? I’m confused by your left and right after you said that the Malacca flag’s on the right

  10. I would like to commend Kenny Sia for sticking with Dawn Yang. I think Kenny is smart enough to differentiate genuine friends vs fake friends.
    It’s not that Dawn has sympathisers, it’s just that civilised Singaporeans, males and females alike find Xiaxue to be very immature, a Voyeurer (perverting other people’s privacy), a very vengeful and jealous person. She really needs a reality check before she makes more enemies.
    There was a popularity polls conducted on DY vs XX. I think the results speak for itself as to who was voted as more desirable. It’s very obvious that most males voted Dawn as the prettier and sexier.
    Allow me to quote some of the results:
    Who is prettier?
    Dawn Yang 4980 (92%)
    XiaXue 426 (7%)
    Total Votes: 5406
    Who is more fake?
    Dawn Yang 1253 (31%)
    XiaXue 2758 (68%)
    Total Votes: 4011
    Who should shut the hell up?
    Dawn Yang 1214 (21%)
    XiaXue 4520 (78%)
    Total Votes: 5734
    Who is sexier?
    Dawn Yang 5392 (90%)
    XiaXue 551 (9%)
    Total Votes: 5943
    Who started the Catfight/Feud?
    Dawn Yang 841 (17%)
    XiaXue 3864 (82%)
    Total Votes: 4705
    Who do you think would be willing to take it up the ass?
    Dawn Yang 2413 (49%)
    XiaXue 2447 (50%)
    Total Votes: 4860
    Who would you want as a friend?
    Dawn Yang 3880 (83%)
    XiaXue 742 (16%)
    Total Votes: 4622
    Who do you think lost her virginity at a younger age?
    Dawn Yang 1866 (38%)
    XiaXue 2969 (61%)
    Total Votes: 4835
    Who is more likely to be infected with a STD?
    Dawn Yang 1256 (28%)
    XiaXue 3133 (71%)
    Total Votes: 4389
    Who do you think have a tighter pussy?
    Dawn Yang 4522 (75%)
    XiaXue 1434 (24%)
    Total Votes: 5956
    With 15 out of 15 wins, it was a clean sweep for Dawn Yang Polls!
    For the full 15 poll results, visit the following website:
    NO, I am not a Dawn Yang fan and I am not Dawn hiding behind a computer screen typing these comments.
    I’ve visited both XX and Dawn blogsite occasionally. After having read XX’s latest sarcastic blog entry about DY again I felt compelled to comments my 5 cents worth and hopefully it knocks some senses into XX’s head to wake up, grow up and get a life.
    Blogging this type of entry about other people will get her nowhere. No employers in their right mind will employ a person like Xiaxue. Just imagine the type of reputation damages she can cause a company or her employers to suffer if thing doesn’t work out or when she gets sacked.
    What will the future holds for XX? She can only be confined to blogging and depend on the sponsorship or advertisement to survive on. It’s a competitive world out there, will there be sponsorship for XX 3 yrs from now? Maybe not!! Her future is very uncertain indeed.
    There is no doubt that everyone knows Xx is living off her boyfriend Mike.
    DY on the other hand, has moved on to NY City to pursue her studies in Mass Communication at NYU University which is amongst some of the best universities in the Stated. I can only see a bright future for Dawn Yang over the next few years for the following reasons:
    1. She will be graduated with a degree in Mass Comm from one of the well known university in world in 3 to 4 yrs time.
    2. She will end up with a smart and good looking American Born Chinese (ABC) boyfriend from NYU.
    3. Upon her return to Singapore arm with a degree from NYU, she will land with a good job as a journalist with one of the big media or publishing companies based in Singapore.
    4. I will not be surprise she will be offered a job with Media Corp, SPH, CNBC, Bloomberg or Reuter.
    Honestly, no well educated and successfully Singaporean man would ever date Xx (except Steven Tan). Which successful man in his right mind would date a loud mouth, rude and vengeful girl like Xx and risk his own reputation and be a laughing stock as a result dating her? But I can’t say the same thing of DY.
    Mike, Xx’s current ang moh boyfriend is a very naïve young boy. I think his colleagues at work are probably laughing behind back. Honestly I felt sorry for that boy and I am not surprise that their relationship will not last.
    Lastly I like to warn those so called “close friends” (Kay Kay and Carissa) of Xx to be aware. What Xx has done to DY, she could turn the table on KayKay or Carissa one day. She is capable of doing that any of her friends. Worst if she knows them too well.

  11. Ahmad Ismail suspended from UMNO? I dun think so as I saw him in the TV news, sitting together with the UMNO Penang committee members in voicing their support for Pak Lah. Pak Lah has just played a trick to all the Chinese, he said suspend Ahmad Ismail, but giving him a chance to appeal, and the next thing Pak Lah did was to arrest the opposition ppl under ISA, so that he divert ppl attention from Ahmad Ismail to ISA. Can all the Malaysians who can think properly work out something for a better future? For our children in future?

  12. hey kenny, your probably back in Kuching now! =) Can’t wait to read more of your posts! Keep up the great work!
    If you ever get a chance, please do stop by my website and let me know what you think! =) Cheers!

  13. Thanks for covering the event!
    It was a really interesting exhibition
    and it has brought to light (for me at least) another form/genre of artwork, that could have otherwise gone unnoticed.
    Appreciate your effort, and that of your sponsors!

  14. i love ur blog so much …but kind of sad when sad when u post racial issue…hope we forget more about racial… just a humble opinion


  16. before god make this world, they had already make a place call malaysia for all malay and let them enjoy their special privileges.
    On the process, he had created few other races early, rome, babylon, indian, and chinese. But no malay yet.
    when God created Malay, chinese already been in the world for 5000 years.

  17. kenny spoke his mind…yes he’s offended…it’s his right….this is wat happens when u have an idiot from a party which might not be relevant making such remarks…honestly dude dun bother la…ignore this kinda idiots…I’m a malay too…i feel bad for things like this to happen…let’s all unite and be a better a malaysia…sometimes politicians are just morons!!!anyway good post…u make me jealous…wish i had an experience like that…

  18. WHAT look-alike (Josh Groban)? Please lar the tolong! You mata sepet izit? Kinda same curly hair doesn’t mean look-alike (“exactly” somemore as you described)
    THEY both look totally different (from each other)! Josh Groban is far more attractive!

  19. The first people who were in Malaysia were not malays but the bumiputeras. The chinese are supposed to be citizens of the country but see how they are treated? Even one malay here said that “the chinese are immigrants” (quoted in one of the comments)…Malaysia is so called a “multiracial” country and I believe that we should all be treated equally because whatever race you are, you belong here no matter who came in to the country first. However, it doesn’t seem that way anymore, which is just sick.

  20. quoting [Org cina mmg pendatang ape?
    Apa sala melayu dpt faedah dari tanahair sendiri?
    Posted by: Rage at 25 September 2008 8:52 PM | Link to comment ]
    ko ni mmalukan org melayu betul la..aku pun mlayu jugak..aku x rase offended pn bila baca posting kennysia.sbb aku rase tu realiti di Malaysia..sikap double standard oleh sesetengah pmimpin..
    kalau ko nak tengok real multicultural lifestyle,ape kate ko dtg ke sabah sarawak..no racism at all.unlike most place kt semenanjung,kt sarawak je ko dpt tengok org melayu org cina n sume bangsa lain duduk bsama2 mnum kt bawah 1 restoran.mknn melayu yg masak,air cina yg buat.contohnya kt rojak kucei batu lintang.
    tp kt smenanjung msia,kaum majoriti cuma cina india melayu.tu pn x boleh nk handle

  21. to be honest, i miss the old kenny sia blog. lots of consistent and fun posting last time. now, it’s just like a travelogue

  22. Oh wow, wish I could’ve been there. The whole thing looks spanking cool 🙂
    Btw, to the avid DY supporter who made that long post about DY vs Xx and DY in NYC, I know NYU is a great school (because I go there, hah), but within NYU we know what schools are good and what schools aren’t, and if DY is doing what she calls “Bus Comm” (in her mag article on her blog) she’s probably in SCPS, a tiny NYU school NONE OF US think highly of. Smart comm majors know that there are way better places to go. Guess that just means DY isn’t a smart comm major? Maybe if I actually SAW her in an NYU dining hall or theater I’d be more inclined to believe all her stories.
    bleh. i’ll stop there, don’t want to turn this comment into some long dy-related post.

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