Art What! Arts Preview Singapore

Preview: Singapore Art Week 2018 – Discover, Engage, Experience

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Kicking the arts calendar into motion next January is the 6th edition of the Singapore Art Week (SAW). A joint initiative by the National Arts Council (NAC), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), SAW returns with an exciting lineup of art activities and experiences, from exhibition launches to gallery openings, to film screenings to boat tours.

Said NAC Director of Sector Development (Visual Arts) Linda de Mello: “SAW is completely organic in nature – no theme, no curation. What we do is provide a platform for our partners to come on board and herald the new arts year with an energizing celebration of all that’s to come.”

Art Stage Singapore 2016 (Credit- ART STAGE)
Image courtesy of ART STAGE

Expanding to take place over 12 days, from last year’s 10, SAW will once again be featuring plenty of new opportunities to experience and engage with local, regional and international art. One of the biggest highlights, as always, is the annual ART STAGE Singapore. Taking place from 26th-28th January 2018 at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, ART STAGE Singapore Founder and Director Lorenzo Rudolf introduced some of the artworks we could look forward to in the next edition, with a greater focus on regional artists such as local sculptor Han Sai Por.

Light to Night Festival, 2017 (Credit- National Gallery Singapore)
Light to Night Festial 2017, Image Courtesy of National Gallery Singapore

Various arts institutions, galleries and museums will also be taking part in SAW, including the National Gallery with the return of their Light to Night Festival. Taking place from 19th-28th January 2018, the festival will transform the Civic District into a wonderland of interactive public art to be enjoyed by visitors across generations. Similar to the Civic District Outdoor Festival held earlier this year, the National Gallery and other Civic District buildings’ facades will once again act as a projection screen for an all new video artwork, an exquisite corpse comprised of multiple artists’ work. Other artists contributing works to the festival include local artist Ho Tzu Nyen with his newest tiger themed work One or Several Tigers.


Photo courtesy of Sarah Walker & Melbourne Festival


Multiple local artists such as Samantha Lo, better known as the ‘Sticker Lady’, will also be presenting new work. Known for her tongue-in-cheek style, her latest work is named Progress: The Game of Leaders, an interactive Jenga-like game where participants attempt to stack huge ‘blocks of Progress’ to create the highest tower, taking ‘nation building’ quite literally. Said Samantha: “It’s a game of physics, but it’s also a game of choice. Even though Singapore has reached  ‘peak potential’ as a first world state, this is in no way the endgame, and I wanted to address how all states are temporal and that we should not take things for granted, just because we’re in a good position now.”

Isi Neraka, 1960 (Credit- 1960 Shaw Organisation)
Isi Neraka, 1960. Image Courtesy of Shaw Organisation

Visitors can even go on specially curated tours and ‘art walks’ to really get a feel for the art as guided by specialists. Some of these tours include those organized as part of the Asian Film Archive’s State of Motion 2018: Sejarah-ku. Literally translating to ‘my history’, Sejarah-ku comprises a whole host of activities surrounding seminal Malay-language films produced by the former Shaw Malay Film Productions Limited, from exhibitions to screenings held across the Malay Heritage Centre and National Library Building. Visitors can also book a ticketed bus or bumboat tour, the latter allowing them to take a trip offshore culminating in a performance by actor Noor Effendy Ibrahim, while theatre practitioner Irfan Kasban will be directing a new immersive theatre piece taking place over opening weekend, as he simulates the filming of a new version of one of the very first local Malay-language films.

ARTWALK Little India. Image credits: Kanmani, Melissa Quek X Tinu Verghis, 2017. Image courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board.

Said Linda de Mello: “There’s so many activities going on that each person’s journey is going to be a very personal one. To make the most of it is really up to the individual to pick and choose the events they feel most invested in. For myself, I’m personally looking forward to attending ARTWALK Little India, organized by LASALLE students, and I can’t wait for January to come by to see all these members of the public experience the brilliant lineup we have.”

Even as December fast approaches, there’s no stopping the perpetual motion machine of the arts calendar, already with a fantastic looking programme set to start 2018 on a high note. Celebrating Singapore’s diverse and distinctive contemporary visual arts scene with more inclusive activities than ever, SAW 2018 is set to bring art to people from all walks of life, and once again, cements Singapore’s position as one of the region’s leading arts destinations.

Singapore Art Week takes place from 17th – 28th January 2018 across various locations. For a full list of events and more information, visit the website here


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