The seventh edition of Singapore Art Week (19 – 27 January 2019) wrapped up last week transforming the southeast Asian island-city into a hotbed for art across the city over the nine-day duration. Described as ‘a collective and multi-disciplinary effort bringing together art institutions, museums and galleries, as well as groups and collectives of established and emerging art makers to an engaging a wider audience,’ the event presented opens up the city to locals and visitors alike through traditional formats and more experimental interventions in public sites and unconventional locations even including the Singapore River.
A central location for events taking place during Singapore Art week was Gillman Barracks, a contemporary art cluster home to several art galleries, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Singapore, and art organisations Art Outreach and Playeum’s Children’s Centre for Creativity. At the barracks, exhibitions on view included Device by Malaysian Chris Chong Chan Fui which explored man’s relationship to both the natural and man-made; Adaptations, a group exhibition curated by independent art space Supernormal and artist-educator Ong Kian Peng which explored the correlation between contemporary art and technology; and Residencies OPEN at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore offering a rare opportunity to visit the studios of current artists-in-residence. Singapore Art Museum hosted a range of activities including performances, workshops, an art market, a community carnival and live gigs all centered on contemporary art. The much-anticipated preview of the forthcoming Singapore Biennale (22 November 2019 – 22 March 2010) also premiered at the museum with pre-Biennale panel discussions, film screenings and live music sets.
A new addition the art week was S.E.A. Focus, a boutique art fair centered on Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art that brought together local and international galleries including STPI – Creative Workshop and Gallery Singapore (Singapore), CUC Gallery (Vietnam), Niagara Galleries (Australia), Gallery VER (Thailand), The Columns Gallery (South Korea), The Drawing Room (The Philippines) 47 Canal (USA), Tomio Koyama Gallery (Japan) and Commonwealth &Council (USA).
Light To Night Festival 2019: Traces and Echoes was perhaps the most eye-catching of all interventions taking over various locations (National Gallery Singapore, The Arts House, Victoria Theatre, Victoria Concert Hall, Asian Civilisations Museum, Empress Lawn, Esplanade Park, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay) in city’s Civic District were animated with art commissions including Art Skins on Monuments by Brandon Tay and Safaun Johari, installations by Tell Your Children and MessyMsxi, and an audio installation Under the Five Trees in the historic Esplanade Park.
A joint initiative by the National Arts Council, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Singapore Economic Development Board, Singapore Art Week cements the position as a prime visual arts destination in the region. Whilst the cancellation of Art Stage Singapore drew a level of uncertainty around sales and the local art market, Singapore Art Week demonstrates the vibrancy of the city and community spirit that informs its art scene.