SEWING & SEW ENGOkui Lala
Being just "good", individually, is easy as the nature of that "good" is prescribed by ourselves. Being "The Good Malaysian Woman" on the other hand requires much compromise, whether from the girl and woman within ourselves; the woman I am and will be; or me as the woman and you as the other woman.
I decided to invite my mother, Sew Eng, a tailor by profession and 40 years my senior (with 40 years more experience of being a Malaysian woman) to explore the compromises of being a "Good Malaysian Woman".
Okui Lala explores human interactions both between people and individuals, and in relation to settings or mediums of her construct. In this piece, Okui herself becomes both subject and artist-performer as she attempts to negotiate with her mother in the creation of an art work. Throughout the process, numerous questions emerge, as erratic sometimes as the lines of her stitches – the interrogation of the nature of video art, performance art, and the art object as a commodity; the role of mother and daughter, artist and collaborator; the question of right and wrong, good and bad; the traditional values prescribed to women and whether they still held true to young women like Okui.
Note: First shown at ‘The Good Malaysian Woman: Ethnicity, Religion, Politics Group Exhibition’, 2014.
Okui Lala is an artist, cultural worker and facilitator for community video workshops. Her practice spans from video and performance to community engagement. Born in Penang, Okui is currently based in Kuala Lumpur and balancing her long distance relationship with her parents.
@okuilala on Instagram.