Sean Lean – S.E.A. Focus

Sean Lean

Malaysia / Wei-Ling Gallery

Having obtained his Diploma in Visual & Digital Arts from LimKokWing University College of Creative Technology in 2000, Sean Lean’s (b. 1981) work often deals with the issues of fragmented identities and the contradictions between traditional Eastern values and the lure of Western popular culture. Through his works, Lean branches out with his own history and personal memory and reflects on the events that have shaped his country and his region. 

His solo exhibition ‘3’ (2019) presented various triptychs, each one highlighting the relationship between art and society. ‘3’ is a body of work that delves into his own history, but at the same time transcends his own individuality in its line of questioning tradition, religion, way of living, dogmas, and long-held beliefs. Interrogating identity, navigating history, and questioning ways of being is a thread that runs throughout Lean’s practice.

In 2018, he was one of 6 artists from around the world commissioned by KENZO, in collaboration with Tiger Beer and WWF to work on a project called Rare Stripes – a collection of garments inspired by actual stories of wild tiger. Sean Lean’s design of Kamrita is very apt, as it showcases three sets of paw prints in different colours, signifying the Himalayan tigress with her two cubs walking through the forest floor. For years, Kamrita was “WWF’s adopted tiger and a symbol of hope for her whole species”. The collection was unveiled at the Ginza Six KENZO store in Tokyo, and was available in limited collection. He was also commissioned by Harper’s Bazaar to create a cover specially for Bazaar Art magazine in 2017.