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'Art Takes Over' at Singapore Art Week 2021

ByJenevieve Kok
'Art Takes Over' at Singapore Art Week 2021

Image courtesy of Singapore Art Week

Singapore Art Week is back with its 9th edition from 22 to 30 January 2021. Singapore’s signature visual arts season will celebrate the coming together of our vibrant artist community in unprecedented times as we simultaneously navigate new modes of artmaking, presentation and look forward to new possibilities for the future.

The art week is a pinnacle of Singapore's art scene, offering artists, collectives, organisations, and other art intermediaries a platform to showcase a range of artworks, visual arts projects, exhibitions, and discussions. This year's theme of 'Art Takes Over' will present over 100 events across both physical and digital spaces, featuring new works, transnational collaborations, and virtual art experiences to a local and international audience.

Scroll down to check out some of the events at Singapore Art Week:

Proposals for Novel Ways of Being: Strange Forms of Life, STPI Gallery

Image courtesy of STPI Gallery

When: 5 December 2020 - 31 January 2021
Where: 41 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238236

Curated by artist Guo-Liang Tan, 'Strange Forms of Life' brings together works by ten Singaporean artists to explore ideas of liveliness and questions of form, in relation to abstraction as a mode of engaging with different aspects of being.

With a selection of prints by the late Singaporean-British artist Kim Lim acting as points of reference throughout the exhibition, works by past STPI Gallery collaborators Genevieve Chua, Han Sai Por, Jane Lee and Suzann Victor are brought into dialogue with works in a range of media by local artists Zul Mahmod, Sherman Mern Tat Sam, Jeremy Sharma, Guo-Liang Tan and Ian Woo.

'CosmicWander: Expedition' by Choy Ka Fai, Singapore Art Museum

Image courtesy of Singapore Art Museum

When: 16 January - 21 February 2021
Where: Tanjong Pagar Distripark, 39 Keppel Road, #01-02 to 04, Singapore 089065

Berlin-based Singapore artist Choy Ka Fai has been researching the metaphysics of the human body in the last decade, taking the body as a conceptual device for explorations into “post-human” choreographic ideas and alternative states of consciousness in a world distraught by different realities. In 'CosmicWander: Expedition', is an investigation into the relationship between humans and worldly phenomena, and an ongoing project by Choy that explores shamanic dance cultures in Asia, delving into the process of worlding across different communities. Having ventured into the region in search of the most spectacular and immersive trance experiences, the artist has met over 50 shamans and filmed extraordinary dance rituals, from the wilderness of Siberia to the mythological practices in Java.

Into Air by Dawn Ng, Sullivan+Strumpf

Image courtesy of Sullivan+Strumpf

When: 22 January - 21 February 2021
Where: 2 Cavan Road, Singapore 209843

'Into Air' is a pop-up exhibition by Sullivan+Strumpf in conjunction with Singapore Art Week. Created over a span of three years, Into Air continues Dawn Ng's preoccupation with time and her attempts to capture and convey its emotional tenor and elasticity. In three distinct bodies of work, Into Air is a cycle charting the lifespan of a block of frozen pigments as it is exposed to the elements, melts, and then returns to air: from weight to lightness, monumentality and eventually nothingness.

Singapore International Photography Festival

Image courtesy of Singapore International Photography Festival

When: 5 November 2020 - 30 January 2021
5 Nov 2020 - 17 Jan 2021: Deck, 120A Prinsep Street, Singapore 187937
13 Nov - 30 Jan 2021: 37 Emerald Hill Road, Singapore 229313

The Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) is a biennial gathering of minds from around the world with the common pursuit of advancing the art and appreciation of photography. It aims to be a much-needed arena for critical thought and academic discussion on photography in Southeast Asia.

The theme for this year’s festival is 'Departing and Arriving', which addresses the sense of identity, belonging and journey in artistic creation. The theme connects to the heart of Singapore, a nation built up of migrants over the last two centuries. As a young nation, we question, search, trace, and grow into being ”Singaporean” - a nationality of diverse religion, beliefs, and languages.


Image courtesy of Singapore Art Week

When: 21 January - 3 February 2021
Where: Bus stops along route 175

Curated by Amelia Abdullahsani and Merryn Trevethan, 'Bus.Stop.Art'. is an innovative public art exhibition constituting art installations and interventions by Singapore-based artists at bus stops along the east-west route of bus 175. This exciting island-wide project takes art out of museums and galleries into the public realm where Singaporeans live, work, and commute, bringing a much-needed sense of joy and wonder to the everyday.

Ten Singapore-based artists respond to the theme #ArtMovesUs, and requisition advertising panels of bus stops for their artworks. From the heartlands to the city centre, the installations spill over into the surrounding community, and the artists activate them in unique ways.

'Heresy or Codswallop', by Ashley Bickerton, Gajah Gallery

Image courtesy of Gajah Gallery

When: 20 January - 14 February 2021
Where: 39 Keppel Rd, Tanjong Pagar Distripark, #03-04, Singapore 089065

Spanning works mostly created over the past five years since his last solo exhibition with Gajah Gallery, Junk Anthropologies (2014), Bickerton’s 'Heresy or Codswallop' at Gajah Gallery builds on and incorporates new, fascinating elements to his oeuvre, expressing more complex provocations into the artist’s slippery position as both observer and participator on the island and the intoxicating tourist culture he is perpetually witness to, having lived as a foreigner in Bali since 1993.

#NEVERBEFORESG, National Museum of Singapore

Image courtesy of National Museum of Singapore

When: 5 October 2020 - 31 January 2021
Cick here to view the online exhibition.

The National Museum of Singapore presents '#NEVERBEFORESG', an online exhibition curated by Yang Derong, that explores our state of mind during this global pandemic. The presentation serves as visual diary that document the different emotions – anxieties, fears and hope, as the world transitions and adjusts into the ‘new normal’. #NEVERBEFORESG is presented through 9 chapters that showcase a multitude of 140 artworks of by 91 creatives, in solidarity, capturing the psyche of this unprecedented crisis.

A Familiar Forest, NTU Museum

Image courtesy of Singapore Art Week

When: 21 - 30 January 2021
Where: 50 Nanyang Avenue, North Spine 3, Level 5, Singapore 639798

Set in an urban space, 'A Familiar Forest' by environmental artist Zen Teh is an immersive art installation that replicates the ambience of an unspoilt forest. Taking inspiration from scientific research that has established a close correlation between human wellness and our proximity with nature, this multi-sensory installation with its interdisciplinary blend of art and science is a continued response to humanity’s desire for restoration and reconciliation with the natural world. Through her art, which consists of 34 multi-layered images of Singapore’s parks and nature reserves, ambient light, sounds and an aromatic scent, Zen reimagines the tranquillity of a forest at night and recreates a meditative journey off-site. The scientific research and healing scent component is by Dr Ching Jianhong, Assistant Professor and Director of the Metabolomics Research facility at Duke-NUS Medical School.

NEW WEAVE, Chan + Hori Contemporary

Image courtesy of Maybank Foundation

When: 22 January - 22 February 2021
Where: National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road

Following on from ENTWINE: Maybank Women Eco-Weavers Meet Southeast Asian Artists organised by the Maybank Foundation and supported by the National Museum of Singapore, 'New Weave' is a collection of cutting-edge animators re-interpreting an ancient Southeast Asian tradition, guest curated by Steve Lawler and presented by Chan + Hori Contemporary. The Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme promotes and enhances traditional textiles globally in a sustainable manner, whilst creating economic independence and financial inclusion for women weavers across the ASEAN region.

Art Week at Bras Basah District: Joint Exhibition by Ten Galleries

Image courtesy of Singapore Art Week

When: 22 - 30 January 2021
Where: 231 Bain Street, Singapore 180231

Bras Basah Complex uniquely houses a collective of galleries under one roof. For their annual show, ten art galleries will come together and present the diversity of contemporary to traditional interpretations of Chinese ink and bring to the fore a younger generation of modern artists alongside pioneers of Nanyang art in Singapore. Artists include Lim Tze Peng, Goh Beng Kwan, Chua Ek Kay, Chen Wen Hsi, Tong Chin Sye, Boo Sze Yang, Hong Sek Chern, and many more. 

There will be guided tours, art demonstrations, talks and other hands-on activities by the galleries and grassroots organisations to engage the public, creating a platform for newer artists to showcase their artistic creations.

S.E.A. Focus 2021

Image courtesy of STPI Gallery and S.E.A. Focus

When: 22 - 31 January 2021
Where: Tanjong Pagar Distripark, Artspace @ Helutrans, 39 Keppel Road

S.E.A. Focus is a showcase of contemporary art from Southeast Asia. It aims to bring together a curated selection of some of the finest artists and galleries from across the region to foster a deeper appreciation of contemporary art and artists in Southeast Asia. A meeting point for artistic vision and vigour, S.E.A. Focus provides a platform to propel diverse cultural exchanges which celebrate, promote and provoke dialogue about Southeast Asian art. The 2021 edition of S.E.A. Focus melds the complementary formats of S.E.A. Focus Digital and S.E.A. Focus Curated.

Hiroshi Senju: Beginnings, Sundaram Tagore Gallery

Image courtesy of Sundaram Tagore Gallery

When: 21 January - 28 February 2021
Where: 5 Lock Rd, Singapore 108933

Sundaram Tagore is pleased to announce that Hiroshi Senju has just completed a dynamic series of Waterfall paintings, his first since 2015. For this group of waterfalls Senju began his creative process on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. 

The exhibition also includes a range of compositions, including dynamic vertical formats that amplify the sensation of the water’s power, energy and movement. Senju creates depth with asymmetrical, layered falls that conjure not just the appearance of rushing water, but also its sound, smell and feel. A specially curated selection of these pieces will be on show in our Singapore gallery during the Singapore Art Week 2021.

Light to Night: _____-in-Progress, National Gallery Singapore

Image courtesy of National Gallery Singapore

When: 22 - 31 January 2021
Where: National Gallery Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, The Arts House, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay

Light to Night illuminates and excites the Civic District once again in 2021, this time offering a redefined, hybrid experience. Over the two weeks of the festival, audiences can expect a slew of exciting and engaging activities within the Civic District and beyond. Presenting an intermingling of complementary physical and digital experiences that promise to delight all audiences, festivalgoers can enjoy art workshops from the comforts of home, tune into live streamed talks, embark on an adventure of discovery around the District, and even encounter art from the festival at surprising places outside the historic precinct.

Light to Night is organised by National Gallery Singapore, in collaboration with five of the Civic District’s most iconic cultural institutions: Asian Civilisations Museum, The Arts House, Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.

A Matter of Time, FOST Gallery

Image courtesy of FOST Gallery

When: 23 January - 7 March 2021
Where: 1 Lock Road, Singapore 108932

FOST Gallery presents 'A Matter of Time', a solo exhibition by Singaporean artist Wyn-Lyn Tan. Colour and rhythm are building blocks in language of Tan's painting, and the works in highlight her interests in the subtle shifts of one’s perception of space and time, and how that extends into a painting.

Margins: drawing pictures of home, ArtScience Museum

Image courtesy of the ArtScience Museum

When: 21 November 2020 - 28 February 2021
Where: 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974

'Margins: drawing pictures of home' presents the works of 15 contemporary photographers who reflect on topics important to Singapore today, particularly urgent during these uncertain times. Familiar and recognisable landscapes and people are subtly mediated through the photographic lens offering us deeper insights into our surroundings and current issues. These artistic responses eloquently articulate our rich and diverse migrant histories, our blended cultural ancestries, our everyday living conditions – imagining beyond the margins of our own lives and into the lives of others. This exhibition explores our hopes and dreams for Singapore and the stories that help us define the places we call home.

Nicholas Ong, Absurd Theatrics, Yavuz Gallery

Image courtesy of Yavuz Gallery

When: 16 January - 10 February 2021
Where: 9 Lock Road, #02-23, Singapore 108937

Yavuz Gallery is pleased to present Singaporean artist Nicholas Ong in his debut solo exhibition, 'Absurd Theatrics'. The exhibition is a culmination of Ong’s investigations into the varied sensations and sensory receptions in the relationship between the two-dimensional surfaces and three-dimensional spaces. Driven by an intuitive process, Ong’s practice is grounded in the inspection of personal sensibilities; manifesting in perceptual reasoning and contextual understanding though formal experimentations of paint and light. Taking reference from filmic language and cinematic tableaux, his mixed media works explore themes of physical and psychological experience and challenge the structure of precepts and stimulus as a medium for experience and perception.

Volume Eleven by Ash Ghazali, Richard Koh Fine Art

Image courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art

When: 16 January - 6 February 2021
Where: 47 Malan Rd, #01-26 Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109444

Richard Koh Fine Art is proud to present Ash Ghazali’s solo exhibition, 'Volume Eleven'. Ghazali’s series of ‘Cut Paintings’ combines geometric abstraction with traditional fabrics from ethic Malay garbs. 

These layered paintings come together as an exploration of Ghazali’s personal search for an ‘authentic’ culture and identity. Capricious yet harmonious, the works are regarded as abstract arrangements made in fabrics and paint. Geometric lines and contrasting textures, the paintings also function as sculpture - they are dimensional - the folds and shadows creating the illusion of depth and tension.

Threads and Tensions: The Interconnected World, Yeo Workshop

Image courtesy of Yeo Workshop

When: 16 January -13 March 2021
Where: 47 Malan Rd, #01-25, Singapore 109444

Yeo Workshop presents a group exhibition featuring five international artists (Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brussels, and America) working with textile: Cian Dayritt, Fyerool Darma, Maryanto, Marcin Dudek, and Cole Sternberg. In these works that are part of a wider chapter of the artists’  interests,  fabric is painted on, treated, ornamented, dyed, collaged, and embroidered suggesting the possibilities of textiles beyond mere ornamentation or utility, deploying the medium as a tool of resistance, reflection, and rumination.

c/discoveries: A Solo Show by Aisha Rosli, Cuturi Gallery

Image courtesy of Cuturi Gallery

When: 28 January - 21 February 
Where: 61 Aliwal Street, Singapore 199937

Born in 1997, Aisha Rosli is a Singaporean artist who graduated from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. In presenting a series of androgynous maidens, Rosli’s figures are manifestations of the psyche, inhabiting an internal world of libidinous secrets, fear and desire. As part of c/discoveries, Rosli has since participated in a duo exhibition Stages and Mirrors and a group exhibition In Full Bloom at Cuturi Gallery. Following her widely received showing, Rosli will be staging her first solo presentation at the gallery come January 2021 during Singapore Art Week. The programme seeks to chronicle the artist’s journey thus far and highlight her inaugural solo exhibition at Cuturi Gallery.

Click here for more information on Singapore Art Week.
Have a look at our Singapore Art Guide for the full listing of museums and galleries in Singapore! 

Browse art by Singapore artists here.

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