LEOW Zestro is an emerging young ceramic artist from Singapore. Zestro graduated with a Diploma in Fine Art, specialising in Ceramics from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 2015. His ceramic sculptures are strongly influence by the beliefs and aesthetic ideas of the Japanese, as he has great curiosity and passion for the Japanese culture.

At present, he attempts to challenge the idea of functionality and question the value of ceramic pieces when every physical feature of functionality has been made obsolete. In his latest series of work, en.shrine, he creates Shinto shrines influenced sculptures by the method of stacking individual wheel-thrown ceramic vessels vertically.

In this series of work, Zestro base his challenge on Japanese Shinto shrines, which are consecrated structures, sacred for the purpose of housing Gods and spirits of divinities. Once stripped of the religious and spirits unseen, the left overs are of bricks and stones and it’s ‘functionality’ as a religious structure is lost.

The function of an object which aesthetically enhance a space, would be to beautify, however beauty is fickle and subjective. In the en.shrine series, the artist use ‘en’ as a prefix to draw emphasis on the notion enclosed within his sculpture which he wish to rightly preserve; even when every physical feature of functionality has been made obsolete and its purpose can no less be respected in the sentiments and meanings that we choose to instill. ‘shrine’ draws attention simply to the exquisite aesthetic form of his shrines-inspired sculptures, as well as highlighting the puissant narrative: how emotional belief in the great unseen has given longevity to the Shinto shrine; a no frills structure of enduring age-old rite.

Upon graduation, Zestro have been awarded the Cheng Kam Hee Art Prize for NAFA Fine Art Graduation Awards. As a young alumnus, he has represented NAFA in Singaplural Design Week 2015 and Art Stage Singapore 2016. Currently, he is learning under guidance from master ceramists, Peter Lo Hwee Min and Alvin Tan Yuan Keat.