In Malay, the word tekad means determination – an apt name for this enterprising curatorial group. Comprising five members – (above, from left) Anna Chan, Masuri Mazlan, Elaine Thanya Marie Teo, Maisarah Kamal and Amirah Raudhah – the collective was founded in 2019 with the aim of “making the art world a lot more equitable”.
What that means: For one thing, it tries to upend long-held industry practices that tend to give artists the shorter end of the stick. Those who collaborate with Tekad, for example, are paid first; the quintet last. “Often, artists are so beholden to the system that they have to accept less than ideal remuneration conditions and are not paid on time,” explains Teo.
Commercial viability – a big consideration at traditional art institutions – also has far less sway over Tekad’s modus operandi. “We’re never opposed to experimental works that the market might shy away from. For example, perishable works have been a sticking point at most galleries, but not with us,” says Teo. Instead, the group aims to help crystallise an artist’s vision with as little interference as possible, offering an Eden to creatives.
A photographic print (Transcendental Water Bodies – Offering, 2019, by artist Vimal Kumar), as part of Tekad Kolektif’s most recent exhibition, With You Here Between: Defamiliarisations, staged last November at the art space Objectifs.
To date, Tekad has organised three group exhibitions, all focused on young, rising names – not unlike the collective itself, whose members are mostly artists in their 20s and early 30s.
“The younger generation connects with audiences on an intimate level through exploring issues such as identity and sexuality, and these are things pertinent in shaping the local landscape,” says Masuri. “We have the drive and freedom to decide how art intervenes in the modern environment as well as its place in the future. This requires us to be daring, to take chances on a regular basis and periodically defy institutional rules.”
Below, Tekad Kolektif members share with us their curation process and the emerging artists they recommend.