“Grotesque” beauty has been trending in certain online pockets and it might have a new queen in the form of Malaysian-born, Singapore-based artist Kara Inez. Her fleshy sculptures, which are put together with materials such as silicone, stockings, rice and even chicken skin, look like malignant tumours that have been hived off from a body and grown into a being of its own. Add strands of (human) hair sprouting all over these pieces and the effect is both riveting and skin-crawling (no pun intended). “The works force you to question why you feel the need to distance yourself from these forms. Many of the reactions that your body and mind have towards things aren’t innate and have been socially cultivated, so it’s incredibly interesting to witness how different people are affected by my work,” says the 28-year-old artist.
But what powers these gelatinous structures is not just a surface flirtation with the grotesque. Inez suffers from endometriosis – a painful disorder that predominantly affects women. It occurs when cells that are typically located on the lining of the womb are instead found growing outside. Fittingly, her contribution for this story was crafted around a pro-women narrative. “Many women unknowingly suffer from endometriosis, going through their lives untreated due to the lack of information currently in circulation about the female body and the way it functions. I thought it would be a very fitting piece for Female as a way to bring topics surrounding the female body forward and for women to know that they do not have to suffer in silence,” says Inez. Though she’s only just graduated last year from Lasalle College of The Arts, her pieces are fast becoming collectors’ items – German design legend Axel Thallemer snapped up her graduation collection. This year only promises bigger things – she’s showing at Singapore Art Week fair S.E.A Focus this month under Gajah Gallery and fans of her work can look forward to a collaboration with tech artist Otto Greenslade to “bring her creatures to life”.
This article first appeared in the January 2020 print issue of FEMALE.