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Art What!: Singapore Art Museum Welcomes First Batch of Residents for Inaugural Residencies Programme

Singapore Art Museum (SAM) announces its first international batch of residents. Following SAM’s first open call for applications in December 2020, which received close to 1,000 applications, 18 residents have been selected to be a part of the first cycle of the SAM Residencies. 15 independent practitioners and 3 art collectives have been offered a studio-based residency across four residency types – Artist ResidencyCommunity & Education ResidencyCuratorial & Research Residency and EX-SITU: Art Spaces Residency. Residents hail from countries and regions across the world, including Argentina, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and more. Each residency will span a period of between one to six months, starting from October 2021.

One of the most comprehensive residencies programmes in Asia, SAM Residencies aims to support artistic experimentation and innovative practices, encourage collaboration and exchange, and engage both the art community and the public at large. There will be opportunities for the public to interact and engage in dialogue with the residents through programmes such as studio visits, film screenings, talks, performances, and workshops. Featuring four residency types, the interdisciplinary SAM Residencies is open to artists, curators, art organisations and artist-run spaces, as well as community and education-focused art practitioners. These residencies will take place in physical spaces in Singapore and will offer open spaces for social interaction between the residents, the wider art community, and the public, serving as a catalyst for collaborative and collective activities to develop.

The topics and themes explored in each residency cycle will reflect contemporary concerns. The Cycle 2021/2022 focuses on the notions of intimacy, infrastructure, and the impact of technology on contemporary life.

Participants were assessed based on the following evaluation criteria – the applicant’s profile and track record; relevance to the subject interest of the residency cycle; innovative/experimental modes of practice and/or research and development approaches; and consideration of engagement with local audiences and art community.

The selection panel involved a mix of international researchers and curators:

·       Mirwan Andan, researcher and developer at Ruangrupa, Jakarta

·       Tobias Berger, Head of Art, Tai Kwun Centre of Heritage and Arts in Hong Kong

·       Naeem Mohaiemen, artist, Senior Fellow at Lunder Institute of American Art, Maine, and Mellon Fellow at Columbia University, New York

·       Sara Reisman, Chief Curator and Director of National Academician Affairs at the National Academy of Design in New York City

·       Dr June Yap, Director of Curatorial, Collections and Programmes at Singapore Art Museum

“The open call received significant interest from various geographic regions, which underscores the value of residencies for art practitioners. We are encouraged by such an enthusiastic response and hope the SAM Residencies will continue to expand its reach to further regions and practices. Through this selection, we aim to provide the possibility of being inspired by a new environment. The jury extends our appreciation to all who have responded to the residency call,” says Dr June Yap, Director of Curatorial, Collections and Programmes at SAM and Chair of the Cycle 2021/2022 Open Call Selection Panel.

Cycle 2021/2022 Residents

The full list of selected residents in Cycle 2021/2022 is as follows:

●      Artist Residency

○      Chok Si Xuan (Singapore)

○      Aki Hassan (Singapore)

○      Vishal Kumaraswamy (India)

○      Sikarnt Skoolisariyaporn (Thailand)

○      Sherie Sitauze (Zimbabwe, lives and works in the United Kingdom)

●      Community & Education Residency

○      Barbara Cueto (Spain, lives and works in Germany)

○      Johanna Palmeyro (Argentina)

○      Rebecca Vickers (United States, lives and works in Thailand)

○      Yip Kai Chun (Hong Kong)

●      Curatorial & Research Residency

○      Hera Chan (Hong Kong, lives and works in the Netherlands) and Edwin Nasr (Lebanon, lives and works in the Netherlands)

○      Rizki Lazuardi (Indonesia)

○      Arianna Mercado (Philippines, lives and works in the United Kingdom)

○      Moad Musbahi (Libya, lives and works between Libya and United Kingdom)

○      Bhavisha Panchia (South Africa)

○      Primer (Denmark)

○      Berny Tan (Singapore)

○      Jeannine Tang (Singapore, lives and works in the United States)

●      EX-SITU: Art Spaces Residency

○      Bras Basah Open (Singapore)

The first batch of Cycle 2021/2022 residents will be in residence between October 2021 to March 2022. Each resident will develop at least one public programme during their time in residency.

Singaporean artist Aki Hassan, who will be starting their residency this October, shares, “I am looking forward to introduce a collaborative element to my practice and using the studio space to test new methods of installation. It is truly exciting to be supported in my next phase of artistic exploration and research.”

Yip Kai Chun, an artist-curator based in Hong Kong, who will join as a Community & Education resident, says, “Building on my projects on the Hakkanese language in Hong Kong, I have long wanted to explore the comparable fading Hakkanese heritage of Singapore. I was so glad to see the SAM Residencies open call, especially under the Community & Education Residency which my practice really resonates with. I look forward to interacting with and diving deep into the local community to learn more about Hakkanese heritage in Singapore. I am excited for this residency to bring my endeavours to new directions.”

These eight incoming residents will bring with them diverse research interests, responding to the cycle’s topical focus in various ways. Aki Hassan plans to use their time in residence to debunk normative understandings of intimacy. Sherie Sitauze’s exploration of narratives and myths affected by colonial erasure and historical bias, particularly the narratives of Southern Africa and the diaspora, will be extended to the Singapore context, mobilising dialogue and storytelling as tools for learning and sharing ideas.

Also extending his research to the local context is Yip Kai Chun, whose interest in neglected history, culture and language of the localities led him to researching the nuances of Hakkanese heritage in Hong Kong, and now Singapore, whereas artist and curator Moad Musbahi investigates migration as a method for cultural production and political expression. The role artists and cultural practitioners play in the development of new political imaginaries using blockchain will be explored by curator and researcher Barbara Cueto.

Experimenting with the intersections of artistic, scientific, technological and business practices, Primer is a platform for artistic and organisational development initiated by Diakron and Aquaporin who will bring together specialists from disparate disciplines to explore histories, imaginaries and operations of emergent technological systems. Curator and programmer Rizki Lizuardi plans to investigate the archival network and use of AI technologies, particularly in their institutionalised infrastructure. Injecting new energies in SAM Residencies spaces will be EX-SITU: Art Spaces resident, Bras Basah Open, a local collective that aims to discuss, converse, and share in an atmosphere of peer-learning.

Upcoming initiatives in the pipeline include a 36-hour block party where residents and their collaborators will inhabit spaces at Tanjong Pagar Distripark to host activities ranging from performances, screenings, readings, and more. This will be rolled out from January 2022 and will be held on a bi-annual basis. There will also be scheduled conversations to encourage a space for casual dialogues and introduce the different museum professionals to the residents and the wider art community, which will kick off from November 2021. The full line-up of upcoming programmes will be available on the SAM Residencies webpage from September 2021.

Find out more about SAM Residencies here

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