ZAO 1.0: Exhibition by Ipoh women ceramicists

Ipoh has a tradition in ceramics but mainly in the production of garden pots and urns, and the city has yet to embrace it in artistic expression.

The upcoming exhibition ZAO 1.0 – Gifts from Fire and Clay is a step towards changing that sentiment. Staged by six Ipoh women, it aims to present a range of studio ceramics, featuring more than 80 works, to wider audiences and help promote growth in this creative medium.

The title Zao 1.0 sums up their hopes.

Zao, meaning “stove” in Chinese, is formed from the characters for fire and earth/clay (火 + 土 = 灶) and refers to their journeys in applying heat to shaped clay.

Coming from various backgrounds, the six women – Cheryl Tan Chear Huai, Chew Mun Yee, Choong Tet Sieu, Faerie Lee Yi Hui and Ku Chooi Kuew – have developed different styles and focuses, from hand-building and wood-firing to glaze experiments and explorations of Perak’s prehistoric heritage.

Zao also refers to a creative crucible of sorts that stems from the strength and mutual support the women find in teaming up for this project.

At the same time, the suffix of 1.0 points to the group’s aspiration to help foster a ceramic arts community in Ipoh and, hopefully, future iterations of the exhibition.

Zao 1.0 runs from May 18 to June 2, 2024 at the 22 Hale Street Heritage Gallery, 22 Jalan Tun Sambanthan, 30000 Ipoh, Perak.

Opening reception at 2.30pm, May 18.

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