Southeast Asia Forum - Fair

Southeast Asia Forum

21 Jan 201624 Jan 2016

In  its  2016  edition,  Art  Stage  Singapore  will  introduce  the  Southeast  Asia  Forum,  which  aims  to  emphasise  the  balance  between  art,  commerce  and  content.  An  extension  of  the  Southeast  Asia  Platform  exhibitions at the Fair from 2014 to 2015, the Forum is a thematic programme that takes a more focused  and deeper view into broad global issues that also affect our immediate region and lives.

This  initiative  draws  attention  to  contemporary  art’s  significant  place  in  the  development  of  modern  society  and  the  central  role  the  artist  plays  in  the  context  of  Southeast  Asia.  Moving  beyond  artistic  discussions, the Forum will take a broader approach towards contemporary art by situating it outside the  community  of  the  art  world  and  connecting  it  to  the  larger  society,  thus  growing  the  range  of  contemporary art by involving individuals from other fields. 

Comprising  two  symbiotic  parts    an  exhibition  and  a  talk  series,  the  inaugural  Southeast  Asia  Forum  is  titled  Seismograph:- Sensing the City –- Art in the Urban Age” and  is  centred  on  the  theme  of  urbanisation.  Cities  not  only  shape  our  environments,  spaces  and  interactions;  they  also  shape  our  roles,  functions,  ideas, beliefs and identities, on different levels and in different spheres – as individuals, communities and  ‘cityzens’.  The  Southeast  Asia  Forum  makes  the  case  for  art  to  be  regarded  as  part  of  the  urban  DNA.  In  the  same  vein  that  designers  and  planners  build  and  shape  cities,  art  explores  visceral  depths  of  human  existence and civilisation by making the invisible visible. Contemporary art is a reflection of our time, and  artists  are  instrumental  to  how  we  sense,  measure  and  interpret  perceived  reality.  The  Forum  will  explore  the  role  of  artists  as  seismographs  of  society’s  pulses  and  will  cast  light  on  Southeast  Asia’s  rapidly urbanising landscape. 

The  Forum’s  exhibition  component  will  survey  the  role  of  artists  in  the  evolution  of  contemporary  societies across Southeast Asia. The 10 projects to be presented in the exhibition will focus on artists who  relate  to  issues  and  sentiments  of  extremely  rapid  urbanisation  in  their  own  countries.  Among  the  featured  artists  will  be  Aliansyah  Caniago  from  Indonesia,  Norberto  Roldan  from  the  Philippines  and  Sherman Ong from Singapore. 

Roldan’s “100-Altars” pays tribute to a bygone era and pays homage to a rich history of simple and peaceful  community life after the Second World War ended in the Philippines. Aliansyah Caniago will present “Titik Balik” (“Point- of- Return”),  an  ongoing  art  project  started  in  2012  in  response  to  environmental  damage  caused  by  factory  waste,  to  Situ  Ciburuy  lake  in  Bandung  and  resulting  in  the  decline  of  the  village’s  fishing  trade  and  tradition.  Sherman  Ong  will  feature  selected  video  works  from  his  ongoing  project  Nusantara”,  which  mingles  fables  of  the  Nusantara    an  Indonesian  word  meaning  “archipelago”    with  contemporary dilemmas concerning migration and diaspora.

The  Forum’s  talk  series  will  bring  together  architects,  urbanists,  social  scientists,  men  and  women  of  letters  and  artists  to  examine,  through  their  different  perspectives,  the  challenges  of  urbanisation  and  how  cities  can  be  re-imagined  through  different  ways  of  seeing,  learning  and  cooperation.  In  creating  encounters  between  observers,  thinkers  and  planners  in  these  different  fields,  the  Forum  seeks  to  bring  about  more  inter-disciplinary  understanding  and  collaboration  in  shaping  the  underpinnings  of  cities  as  they continue to evolve, parallel to shared global conditions.

  • Sherman Ong; Nusantara: the Seas will Sing and the Wind will Carry us, 
2011; Image copyright and courtesy of the Artist Sherman Ong; Nusantara: the Seas will Sing and the Wind will Carry us, 
2011; Image copyright and courtesy of the Artist
  • Aliansyah Caniago, Titik Balik, 2012; Image courtesy the artist, © the artist Aliansyah Caniago, Titik Balik, 2012; Image courtesy the artist, © the artist
  • Norberto Roldan, 100 Altars, 2015; Image copyright and courtesy of the Artist Norberto Roldan, 100 Altars, 2015; Image copyright and courtesy of the Artist

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