Spotlight on Alisa Chunchue: Sovereign Asian Art Prize Artist Highlights

A closer look at the finalists for The 2023 Sovereign Asian Art Prize

What initially drew you to this meditative stitching pattern? Can you speak a bit about your creative process?  

“Wound” is a project that incorporates surgical stitching procedures into drawing, providing an intriguing practice within each stitch. The inspiration for this piece came from seeing autopsy scars at an anatomy museum, as well as personal experiences of undergoing surgery and seeing scars on the body of a loved one. I’m fascinated by the gradual fade of scars over time.

The drawing process consisted of studying and replicating surgical stitches, following the direction of needle piercing into the flesh, creating a pattern table for consistent intervals, and meticulously repeating the lines on linen to resemble tissue and perineum layers, layering graphite pencil lines and shapes, then covering with colored pencils.  

Your work references the passing of a loved one – what do you hope audiences will take away from the piece?  

My artistic practice involves working with the condition of time, the creating process, and the story behind each piece. Although I don’t intend to directly convey my personal experience and sorrows to the audience through this project, it provides the driving force and starting point of my scars exploration. This is because scars are strongly related  to the memories and the process of making work related to time.  

This work depicts a repetitive drawing procedure and focuses on the considerable amount of time required in each stitch. It serves as a platform for opening up conversations regarding wounds, bringing the viewer back to investigate the scars and their own memories. Ultimately, the artwork aims to stimulate dialogue about the impact of memories, time and process of dealing with it.  

In what way has art positively impacted your life?  

We often find ourselves in difficult situations or facing the darkest moments of our lives, unable to express what is happening. However, art provides a means of expression. By collecting fragments of stories and concerns and viewing them through our own eyes, we can use art to negotiate the conditions of our personal and social contexts. I strongly believe that artistic practice can have a positive impact on both our physical and mental well-being, as I myself have overcome devastating sorrow through a simple drawing process. 

As an artist practicing in Thailand, I am particularly interested in investigating the minor stories that come from our bodies and our lives. True freedom of expression comes from understanding the limitations and rights of our own bodies, raising awareness of the bodies of others, and what it means to exist in today’s challenging society. In my artistic practice, I aim to use my own body as the key element of the investigation process to engage my audience in conversation. 

This interview with Alisa Chunchue is part of a series of interviews highlighting the shortlisted artists for The 2023 Sovereign Asian Art Prize – the 19th edition of Asia’s most prestigious prize for contemporary artists.