Singapore Art Week to showcase local artists

Dancer Anna Kuroda performing in Motion Theory, a work by Australian group Murasaki Penguin in collaboration with Singaporean artist Ong Kian Peng that is part of Adaptations, which will be held at Gillman Barracks.
Dancer Anna Kuroda performing in Motion Theory, a work by Australian group Murasaki Penguin in collaboration with Singaporean artist Ong Kian Peng that is part of Adaptations, which will be held at Gillman Barracks.PHOTO: ZARCH COLLABORATIVES

Next year's edition will feature more than 100 events with a focus on home-grown works

At Singapore Art Week in January next year, viewers get to sweep the "floor" of a mock flat with a broom made of colour pencils. Thus they create their own work of art while considering the value assigned to both art-making and domestic labour.

Home(work) at the National Design Centre, helmed by local artist collective Proxy, is one of several new artist-led initiatives supported by the annual affair which is better known for big-ticket events such as international art fair Art Stage Singapore.

Singapore Art Week is a joint initiative by the National Arts Council (NAC), Singapore Tourism Board and Singapore Economic Development Board. Next year's edition, the seventh, features more than 100 events held from Jan 19 to 27.

This year's edition, which had a similar number of events - held from Jan 17 to 28 - drew 590,000 viewers, according to Ms Linda de Mello, director, sector development (visual arts) at NAC. The arts council aims for similar attendance figures next year.

One new headline event to look out for is boutique art fair S.E.A. Focus at Gillman Barracks, from Jan 24 to 27, which aims to promote modern and contemporary South-east Asian art. Art Stage Singapore will also be back at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre from Jan 25 to 27.

Other arts institutions and galleries also launch major events during Singapore Art Week.

  • BOOK IT / SINGAPORE ART WEEK 2019

  • WHERE: Various locations

    WHEN: Jan 19 to 27 next year

    ADMISSION: Free and ticketed programmes. For details visit www.artweek.sg

Gillman Barracks' regular open house party Art After Dark will be held on Jan 25, while National Gallery Singapore's much-anticipated Light To Night Festival launches on Jan 18 and runs till Feb 24. A highlight of the Light To Night Festival is Art Skins On Monuments, comprising multimedia projections on major buildings in the Civic District.

Alongside such crowd-pleasers are roughly a dozen smaller exhibitions and installations by local artists and curators keen to benefit from the buzz around Singapore Art Week. The National Arts Council says it received an "overwhelming" number of responses to its open call for Singapore Art Week proposals held this June, but did not give figures.

Home(work) from Jan 19 to 27 at the National Design Centre is helmed by four artists in their 20s and 30s, who visited prior editions of Singapore Art Week and are using it as a platform for their own work for the first time. Artist Ong Lijie, 25, says: "Art Week always feels like an adrenaline rush. We're quite excited because this is the first time we're doing our own event."

Other artist-led initiatives include Orthodox, a multi-disciplinary exhibition in which 12 artists in their 20s present works inspired by issues of faith and belief, and Adaptations, a showcase of eight artworks that use technology, curated by Ong Kian Peng and his independent art space Supernormal. Adaptations will be held at Gillman Barracks.

Ong, 37, says he is excited by what he sees as increasing support for local artists in Singapore Art Week. "We really need to focus on local artists. It's so easy to bring in big names from overseas, but we need to have that platform or framework to allow locals to try bigger projects or bigger works."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore Art Week to showcase local artists'. Print Edition | Subscribe