Art What! Arts Preview Singapore

Preview: Singapore Art Week 2020 – Art Takes Over


From 11th to 19th January 2020, the city will once again come alive with an explosion of art events as Singapore Art Week (SAW) returns for the new decade. Now in its 8th edition, the joint initiative by the National Arts Council (NAC), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) presents a brand new selection of exciting artworks and programmes happening island-wide for people of all ages to explore and enjoy.

Look out for plenty of exhibitions with engaging tech and digital elements, public art installations and lifestyle events for the whole family. Across the many traditional and unusual art spaces hosting these events, check out the many talks, tours, fairs and gallery
openings in store.

S.E.A. Focus
Image courtesy of S.E.A. Focus

At Gillman Barracks, S.E.A. Focus returns for its second edition from 16th to 19th January, with 20 leading galleries from Singapore and around the world. Featuring 35 artists based in, or connected to, Southeast Asia, with over half born before 1985, cementing the platform’s commitment to supporting the creative development of the region. It builds on its mission to showcase contemporary art from Southeast Asia, providing a platform to foster greater appreciation and engagement with the art and artists from the region. Stay on till the sun sets for the return of Art After Dark, with a heady combination of stimulating visual art and electrifying live music, along with new exhibitions and programmes, only on 17th January.

Light to Night Festival 2020: Invisible Cities
Light to Night Festival. Image courtesy of National Gallery Singapore.

Speaking of night activities, watch the Civic District come to life at Light to Night Festival 2020. Themed Invisible Cities, after the Italo Calvino novel, the Festival returns with a full line-up of programmes that span from day to night, including outdoor programming on Friday and Saturday evenings across the duration of SAW.

Singapore Biennale 2019: Every Step in the Right Direction
The Chalkroom (La Camera Insabbiata), Laurie Anderson & Hsin-Chien Huang, 2017. Image courtesy of the artists.

The Singapore Biennale is back for its sixth edition, with over 70 artists and art collectives from around the world, with special focus on Southeast Asia, while one can even experience art in unusual districts such as MeshMinds Foundation’s AR.T Trail, collaborating with six artists to present an interactive augmented reality (AR) trail of their public art works using Facebook’s Spark AR platform. Similar to that will be the CBD Art Trail, by Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, CapitaLand and Facebook Art Department, except this time, participants are given access to hidden artworks located in the CBD that are not often accessible to the public, as a kind of treasure hunt.

CBD Arts Trail
CBD Art Trail. Image courtesy of Facebook Art Department.

Organised by LASALLE College of the Arts arts management students, ARTWALK Little India is back to breathe art into the buildings and streets, with newly commissioned and existing street art works to reconcile past and present memories of the precinct. Get weird with the opening of TWENTY TWENTY, where the Former Ship Repairs Workshop and Warehouse will transform into a pop-up art destination – a six month affair set to develop into a bold, new art space in this heritage industrial factory space.

Image courtesy of TWENTY TWENTY

View rare and hard to find works by private collectors at the IMPART Collectors’ Show 2020 at the SOTA Art Gallery. Organised by Art Outreach Singapore Limited, presents art from the private collections of prominent Singaporean and international collectors. A collectors’ panel and educational tours are held to accompany the exhibition. For a different kind of group show, Pneuma: Spirituality in the Contemporary Age at Stamford Arts Centre unites six artists as they provide multi-faceted views of their individual metaphysical perspectives qua spiritual journeys and their efforts to build a perennial ground as a basis for understanding differences and nuances.

Justice for All
Justice For All, 2019, Yinka Shonibare CBE. Copyright Yinka Shonibare CBE. Image courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Go on a trip with Justice for All by Yinka Shonibare, who presents a new immersive, site-specific monumental installation that references the morphing heritage of The Chamber at The Arts House. Or head to Artspace@HeluTrans to check out DE:VOTED, an immersive mash-up of light, sound, performance, and technology with local artists Urich Lau, Justin Lee, Yen Phang, Ezzam Rahman, Andy Yang, Yeoh Hwee Wee and Yeo Shih Yun, and Japanese artists Chihiro Kabata and Yuuri Kabata.

State of Motion 2020: Rushes of Time

Finally, get set for the return of the Asian Film Archives’ State of Motion. Themed Rushes of Time, the programme will comprise site-specific installations and live performances, tours, talks and an exciting film programme that explores the repositories and the possibilities of the archival, as it reflects on the relations between ideas of time, bodies of memory and the moving image.

There’s art for everyone from the collectors to the conoisseurs, to the camera-ready and the curious. Beyond the programmes highlighted here, the city will come alive with over 100 art events taking place. But for art to thrive, it needs its audiences to actually come by and appreciate it. So as SAW returns this January, find your inner art-lover, discover a new location and allow yourself to be taken over by the wave of art.

Singapore Art Week 2020 takes place from 11th to 19th January 2020 across various locations. For a full list of events and more information, visit the website here


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