In The Media
VIP Magazine Issue 2: Jun 2011

They stand at the fringe of the Art Establishment, sending messages to their audiences in voices that are as powerful as they are unique. Seven young artists provide Singapore with new, exciting ways to look at art.

They’re young, talented and brimming with energy and promise. They are today’s iconoclasts but very likely tomorrow’s icons. By Tara Rushton.

My journey of exploration into the Singapore art scene is one of pure excitement. I meet up with artists to explore their lives and histories and how they used these to lay a foundation to their art. After days of research, phone calls, viewings, skype interviews and even trips to McDonalds, I felt exhausted yet incredibly proud to be living in a country that is the Mother of such creative minds. A country with a flourishing arts community is a country with an expressive society.


Tzang Merwyn Tong started making films when he was 19. He had held a camera before, knew how to switch one on but that was it. It was a passion inside him – or what he calls a ‘reckless desire’ – to tell stories that made him pursue it. His first feature film e'Tzaintes, based on teenage misfits living in a fictional world dealt heavily with adolescent issues of belonging, won him various film awards.

Even at nineteen, Tzang was already creating a dialogue that had audiences relating and sympathizing with the protagonists of his films. His stories come from a personal place: “We all have our own little misfit stories.” Tzang followed his debut film with A Wicked Tale – a dark take on Little Red Riding Hood – before changing tack and shooting his first sci-fi film titled V1K1. Tzang has a cult following from audiences who are drawn by unconventional themes and genres that are meshed together in his films.

Tzang is aware that he is working against the grain and not moulding to the formulaic films that attract the most commercial success such as horror and comedy. But he remains ambitious. “I want to offer something different. I’m an artist with a desire to break some new ground. It’s difficult for me as well but it keeps me alive.”

His next project is titled FRVL and he describes it as “Fight Club-meets-Romeo and Juliet’, Again this film delves into issues of rebellion and self-expression amongst teens. Tzang tries to become a pioneer within a system he believes is afraid of being pioneering. By no means is he bitter that an underground or indie film culture is non-existent in Singapore.
He just hopes he can push for a little change. “I hope I can inspire more people to do something different.”

Other Featured Artists
1. Swee Boon: Dancer and Choreographer
2. Kevin Ou: Photographer
3. Jackson Tan: Phunk Studio
4. Traseone: Grafitti Artist
5. Tzang Merwyn Tong: Independent Filmmaker
6. Robert Zhao: Artist/Scientist
7. Stefen Chow: Photographer
Visit the Site
e'TZAINTES and A WICKED TALE: TM & 2007 INRI studio. All Rights Reserved.