Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered: Why You Should Bother With This Skate Culture Exhibition 

Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered: Why You Should Bother With This Skate Culture Exhibition 

Get set for a wave of never-seen-before artwork and installations that will dispel any pre-conceived notions you might have about skate culture.


Artist Ryf Zaini’s work-in-progress

Long before the age of social media, the skatepark was the place where those longing for self-expression could form their identity, by honing their skateboarding techniques and meeting like-minded individuals, all while being exposed to music and graffiti art.

Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered, an art exhibition that’s part of the upcoming Aliwal Urban Art Festival, aims to debunk stereotypes and inspire new thoughts about skate culture. Using the skateboard as a primary medium, Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered comprises never-seen-before artworks and installations produced by 16 artists from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

We speak to Iman Ismail, curator of Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered, along with artists Speak Cryptic, Traseone and ZERO, to get their insights into this exciting showcase and the world of skateboarding and urban art.

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Iman Ismail


How did the idea for Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered first come about?
It was an idea that I was toying with after a longboarding session with Khai Hori, Speak Cryptic and Patrick Putra Piay. The title of the exhibition came about first, when we flung painful skateboarding puns at each other that day. I came up with the line “cannot be bothered” and that sparked the idea of this exhibition.

What message do you hope the exhibition will convey to visitors, especially those who may not be familiar with the theme?
I hope that visitors would be able to see skateboarding beyond the negative stereotypes. Many wonderful creative initiatives come from skateboarding. For example: Music, graphic design, fashion, and in the case of this exhibition, contemporary art. Skating is a lifestyle choice, it’s not necessarily a bad one. After all, like all sports, skaters need an amount of discipline to acquire skill.

How did you handpick the 16 artists who will be presenting their work?
Most of the artists in this exhibition are fellow creative peers, so it was a great opportunity for me to work with my friends again.

As an artist yourself, how do you find inspiration to create a body of work, and in a broader sense, form a theme, which other artists can follow?
Inspiration comes from everywhere, and in this case, it came after a skating session. Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered weaves an extreme sport through visual expression, and it was great fun putting both together. The idea was to extend the use of the skateboard from just a canvas to something larger.

Besides your exhibition, what else are you excited to see at the Aliwal Urban Art Festival 2016?
Am pretty stoked to catchThe Asphalt Challenge, as well as the amazing Masia One.

For interviews with Speak Cryptic, Traseone and ZERO, click through pages 2, 3 and 4. 

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