The Young Artist Award, conferred by the National Arts Council is Singapore’s highest award to art practitioners aged 35 years and below for their groundbreaking contribution to the arts scene. LASALLE alumni Yarra Ileto and Kray Chen were recipients of the Young Artist Award 2017.
On her feet and dancing to tunes since the age of four, Yarra Ileto’s passion for the art form has never waned since. Upon graduation from LASALLE’s BA(Hons) Dance Programme, she joined Singapore’s most seminal contemporary dance troupe, T.H.E. Dance Company, where she toured extensively to perform on numerous international stages. Viewing dance as a medium that gives visual voice to people who are struggling with self-expression, Yarra now also devotes her time to teaching a new generation of passionate dancers and developing their confidence.
A distinguished dancer first and foremost, Yarra was invited by award-winning playwright and choreographer, Edith Podesta, to perform in The Immortal Sole – a programme highlight of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2018. Using the fairy-tale, The Little Mermaid and modern-day pop culture references as base material, Yarra and three others took to the stage to critique patriarchal notions of female stereotypes.
Kray Chen is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice largely deals with corporeality. His research sees him observing the peculiarities in people’s behaviours (himself included) and using these to discuss the psychological and sociopolitical circumstances in Singapore.
One of Kray’s latest works, 5 rehearsals of a wedding, was a highlight of Singapore Art Week 2018 for its tongue-in-cheek examination of how society embeds traditions into culture. The short film, with Kray playing the titular subject of a groom, saw him ‘rehearsing’ rituals of an average Singaporean Chinese wedding – such as the gatecrash and the best man’s toast.