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A Work Week With Darel Carey, Visual Artist

How does a visual artist differ from an artist? Well, for one, says Darel, his work compels you to look at spaces differently, to judge your own perception based on the environment around you. Fresh from a residency at the uber-luxe The Sanchaya, he  takes us through a work week in his life.



After landing at Singapore’s Changi Airport, my wife and I head directly to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal for my ferry to Bintan. I am amazed at how easy the transition is – I have read many stories about how incredible Changi Airport is, but the arrivals experience really was seamless.

Less than 10 minutes from the airport, I hop onto the ferry for my 50-minute journey to Bintan island, where I am greeted by a smiling member of The Sanchaya’s team and whisked through a fast track arrivals channel and into a VIP lounge, before being collected and transferred to the estate, which is a short drive away. Upon arrival, I am given a tour of The Sanchaya and shown to my generous suite, which has a stylish, colonial feel to it. After freshening up, I head down to The Bar, where I am joined by the Estate Manager, Magnus, for one of the estate’s infamous Vesper Martinis, and we have a nice chat. Afterwards I have a fresh Red Snapper dinner with my wife at The Dining Room, and enjoy the peaceful night view.



Today is my first full day at the estate, and I begin with a beautiful outdoor breakfast before a leisurely swim in the Olympic-size infinity pool, which boasts uninterrupted ocean views. Having only seen images of The Sanchaya previously, I am excited to start exploring the sprawling estate, which has a country house feel to it, and assessing appropriate areas to create my piece.

When I create art, I of course want to create something that I myself would be drawn to, so I try to imagine that I am not the artist, but rather a guest at The Sanchaya viewing my work for the first time. Secondly, I look at the space from my own artistic perspective, analysing how the lines will play out with the varying viewpoints in the space, The Sanchaya has a largely monochromatic palette, already, so it is a natural fit for my work.




As I enjoy a morning coffee outside The Bar, I am drawn to the striking red Saga Seeds bobbing in the water before me. Created by Singapore-based artist, Kumari Nahappan, the 30 giant fiberglass seeds were initially discovered at the Venice Biennale’s ANIMA MUNDI International Arts Festival, floating down the Rio di Santa Caterina canal, before washing up at The Sanchaya. The Seeds are a permanent reminder of The Sanchaya’s commitment to providing a platform for established and emerging talent across the region – and beyond!

I’m proud to participate in this residency, and hope to leave a mark that both complements the estate and elevates the experience for visitors.  After taking a leisurely walk on the beach, then spending some time around the lobby and in the library in The Great House, I get a feel of the vibe and see a few potential spaces where I can begin my creative process.

I take some time to relax in the Bar with another martini, and a game of Congklak, a traditional Indonesian shell game, and let my ideas crystalize in the background of my mind.



Having spent the last couple of days exploring The Sanchaya, I have honed in on two spaces. A welcoming piece in the stairwell of the Lobby, and the central wall in the Library.  When a guest arrives and enters the Lobby, they will see dimensional, monochromatic lines peeking out from the stairwell on the left as they are greeted by The Sanchaya team. This piece will accent the Lobby without intruding on the aesthetic of the space, and pique a curiosity and wonder in the mind of the viewer.

As one walks through the bar, then into the Library, they will see a sophisticated, traditional colonial interior juxtaposed with a bold, contemporary artwork, a portal into another dimension. I  believe this piece will complement the space well, and provide a heightened level of experience for guests.

I’m excited to get started and see these ideas come to life! I have a pretty simple setup, with minimal tools: tape, scissors, and a blade. And in this case, for a level of permanence, I will add  painting as an additional step in the process.



I continue my taping process as the implied forms of the the works begin to take shape. The installation in the stairwell is a perspective based piece, as viewers will see and walk through the space from specific angles. While the piece in the Library is centralized, and will begin from one point in the center, then branch out in an organic, natural pattern, framed by the interior  architecture of the space.

As I create my work, I am inspired by the surrounding tropical nature, and its adjacency to the refined architecture of the Estate. Whilst there is a rigidity and sense of order to my art, nature plays a large part in my inspiration – you’ll notice that each of my works has a sense of evolution that comes from consistency with gradual change, common in nature, and key to my process. Once I get started, it’s hard for me to stop until I am finished. I am excited to see how the finished works will ultimately look and feel, and for visitors to have a unique, intriguing experience.

 I’m very grateful to everyone at The Sanchaya, from management to the staff, for ensuring I have an outstanding, inspirational experience.