Blog by Zoe Street
Meet Malvina Tan: a fresh Sydneysider, recently moved from Singapore with stories to share. With eight years of international performance practice, Malvina’s life experiences have always been the driving force behind her work. As a performance and mixed media installation artist, Malvina uses her own deeply personal experiences as the seed for research, experimentation and documentation which informs the constantly evolving, sometimes ‘unpolished and unfinished’ nature of her work.
Her newest piece, 281215, is a performance piece and ongoing research project that Mavlina describes as “a rather intimate and symbolic performance installation that illustrates my experience moving from Singapore to Sydney, celebrating my new life and love”. This work will make its own journey up to Newcastle for Crack Theatre Festival this year.
281215 follows on from a previous work, 130912, which was developed as a research project exploring her own intimate thoughts and memories of her late husband who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The process of developing 130912finally allowed me to find a balance between preservation and destruction of my memories’, Malvina said.
While the connection of these works is most identifiable in their titles, which represent significant dates of events that changed Malvina’s life, both of these projects emphasise research, documentation and attention to detail through its creative process: “I would examine the concept thoroughly, and usually, every decision that I make to allow the work to move forward is consequential. Documentation is also key in my work. The crevices of the process of the work form the basis of the work and documenting the process allows me to capture the work in its totality by preserving significant elements that shape the work.”
In this new work, 281215, we leave behind her experiences in Singapore to gain insight into a self in transition; an exploration of the challenges of moving and re-adjusting to a new place through a very carefully constructed performance. As Malvina states, “Every decision that I make during my process of creating this work is representative of my experience; from the length of my performance, to the amount and type of materials used in my performance, just like all my other works, all these decisions are consequential.”
281215 also reflects on Malvina’s opportunity to create a ‘new Malvina’ whilst also trying to retain her own identity: “I knew I did not want to forget who I was and where I came from.  Leaving everything behind did not mean I had to leave myself behind too”.  
Still quite fresh to the Australian scene, Malvina is also challenged by the new creative environment. She reflects, “I have to start from scratch while trying my best to learn about this new landscape […] and at the same time getting to know other artists and creatives that I can possibly collaborate with and get inspired by or knowing about the different art spaces and communities in Australia.”
This will be Malvina’s first festival experience in Australia, and when asked what she’s looking forward to most, she says “I cannot wait to meet amazing artists to learn, to experience and just to share about art”.
Well Malvina, we can’t wait to have you!

What she is about: Experimentation, self-exploration, corporeality, memory and time.
A tiny taster of what is to come: A cathartic, intimate, uncanny experience celebrating new life and love

Malvina Tan is our Setting the Stages artist from NSW. Catch her performance 281215 on Friday 30 Sep at 1:30pm at the Joy Cummings Centre.

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