Arts Preview Singapore

Singapore International Festival of Arts 2022 pilots new experiences in unexpected venues

The Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) 2022 has opened ticket sales for its second tranche of festival programmes, including a mix of in-person programmes and on-demand digital commissions. Organised by Arts House Limited (AHL) and commissioned by the National Arts Council (NAC), SIFA 2022 returns from 20 May with the title The Anatomy of Performance – Ritual, inviting audiences to reflect on the rituals in performance through the universal language of art.

In line with SIFA’s commitment to present new perspectives and interconnectivity through the festival, the second tranche of SIFA 2022 programmes will explore ideas of social projection, feature new artists in addition to limited-edition collaborations and even take audiences on a unique excursion in an unconventional performance arena.

ubin. Photo Credit: Arts House Limited

ubin, a multidimensional project by Drama Box, invites audiences to ponder the future of life and culture for the dwindling number of residents on Pulau Ubin. Starting from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal, audiences may immerse themselves in stories of the island as they depart on an extraordinary journey through Pulau Ubin where sound installation, theatre, dance, and exhibition come together to form a performance from dock to island.

project SALOME. Photo Credit: Ceren Saner

From internationally renowned Singapore performance director and Cultural Medallion recipient Ong Keng Sen comes project SALOME, starring Singaporean actor Janice Koh and Berlin-based performance artist Michael(a) Daoud. Referring to Oscar Wilde’s Salome as a point of departure, Ong adopts documentary filmmaking as his approach to reflect upon the ritual of social projection and self-mythologising.

MEPAAN. Photo Credit: Sean Lee

In tandem with SIFA 2022’s opening performance, MEPAAN, acclaimed Singaporean photographer Sean Lee will showcase a selection of his works depicting a kaleidoscopic universe of flora and fauna. Originally captured and featured in festival commission MEPAAN at the Pasir Panjang Power Station, this companion photographic exhibition offers an alternative encounter with Lee’s sensuous nature imagery.

Joining the lineup of artists on SIFA’s virtual venue Life Profusion, Malaysia’s leftfield pop maverick Shelhiel presents an experimental short video under Capsule #3: Digital Beings, on traversing the worlds of character Angel-527, following his debut EP SUPERSTROBE. Following the release of Capsule #1: Music in February, Life Profusion’s next capsule will feature Kiat in collaboration with US-based Strangeloop, as well as Singapore’s Lenne Chai, who presents a piece on anti-rain ritual titled Dry Spell. Capsule #2: Movement is set to be released in April.

Further adding to SIFA’s presence is a collaboration with participating artist for Ceremonial Enactments and Singaporean fashion designer Max Tan, who will be launching 100 limited edition SIFA 2022 x Max Tan T-shirts. The t-shirt designed exclusively for SIFA by Max, founder of fashion label MAX.TAN, features a flattering asymmetrical cut and exposed seams for a bold statement and will be available for S$58, while stocks last. The T-shirt, together with other SIFA merchandise can be purchased at from 1 April 2022.

Natalie Hennedige, Festival Director for SIFA 2022 to 2024, says: “SIFA’s proposition of performance creation from Singapore can offer inspired artistic expression emerging from within Asia into the international arena by being a platform for rigorous artistic process and meaningful international collaboration. In a world strained by complex situations that are perpetually evolving, the performing arts needs to be upheld as a space for reflection, openness and nuanced creative articulation to be freely expressed, so that as part of a global community, Singapore preserves the space for the arts to bridge.”

Keeping the festival momentum going are digital commissions on-demand via SIFA on Demand on SIFA’s website. The following commissioned programmes will be available digitally on 20 June for a three-week run:

  • MEPAAN, an ethereal sonic and visual nature centred opus by Singapore Chinese Orchestra and Malaysia-based creative agency, The Tuyang Initiative;
  • Ceremonial Enactments by MAX.TAN, Nadi Singapura and Bhaskar’s Arts Academy which puts together three re-enactments of culturally specific customs and rites from birth, to weddings; and
  • Bangsawan Gemala Malam by Teater Ekamatra, a Malay adaptation of the Shakespearean classic, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • Delicate Spells of Mind by Lucy McRae, a performance film that dissects the operating system of the mind where a Seeker contends with ego, the inherited artificial intelligence.

Executive Director for Arts House Limited (AHL), Tan Boon Hui, says: “It brings us great excitement to invite audiences to experience the potential of Singapore’s performing arts across both conventional and unique spaces – from the neo-classical performing arts centre Victoria Theatre, to a venue-specific adventure at Pulau Ubin, and even going beyond the physical into SIFA’s virtual venue Life Profusion as a new avenue for artistic expression. As Singapore’s pinnacle international arts festival, SIFA sets an example for the expansion of performing arts in the local and international arts arena, and signals the next step forward for the industry in the years ahead.”

SIFA 2022 runs from 20th May to 5th June 2022. Early bird tickets for SIFA 2022, which offers audiences savings of 20% are on sale now till 11:59pm, 10 April 2022. Tickets and more information available from

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