Cover Can Yavuz, Luke Heng

Pop-up art destinations are few and far between in Singapore. So when the Singapore Arts Club launched Strange Things, a curated art experience at a former ship repairs workshop on 2 Cavan Road, the arts community came all out to show their support on the opening night, during the Singapore Art Week in January. The sheer scale of Singaporean artist Dawn Ng’s mirrored installation Merry Go Round and Thai artist Santi Wangchuan’s woven work My Local Way of Life, along with other site-specific works, renewed excitement of the abundant creativity in the region.

But the most surprising “art takeover” was that of Yinka Shonibare—the British-Nigerian artist reupholstered the seats in the historic Chamber of The Arts House in his signature “African” batik, juxtaposed with the Javanese fabric of its roots. He shared how he is taken by the concept of hybridity, from which he can “produce much richer things”.

Singapore pride shone brightly when performance artist Amanda Heng became the first Singaporean to be conferred the distinguished Benesse Prize, the official award of the Singapore Biennale since 2016. Art lovers also took notes on collecting Singapore contemporary art from The Private Museum’s exhibition, which featured pieces from the anonymously-owned Duo collection. Works by renowned artists drawn from local and regional private collections starred in Art Outreach Singapore’s Impart Collectors’ Show at the Sota Gallery.

Sea Focus at Gillman Barracks was the place for those looking to make new acquisitions. Even though the boutique art fair was a smaller sophomore edition with 20 participating galleries, there was plenty to see—and acquire. Surprisingly, it was the performance works that stole the show. Filipino artist Eisa Jocson’s Becoming White was stirring for its use of the Disney princess Snow White to expose the injustice faced by Filipino labour. Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija invited visitors to interact with his artwork Untitled 2019 (Beauté Esthétique with No Shampoo) and help themselves to a cup of green tea from one of his ceramic creations. And with that, a toast to another great edition of the Singapore Art Week.

  • ImagesArt Outreach Singapore, Asian Art Institutum, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Arts Club, STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery, The Private Museum,