Singapore–Ikkan Art Gallery presents “Nusantara: the seas will sing and the wind will carry us”, a multimedia installation by Sherman Ong, at the Southeast Asia Forum as part of Art Stage 2016. An allegorical work based on archipelagic Southeast Asia’s maritime history and patterns of migration both past and present, Ong looks at how these parameters have shaped the nature of diasporic identities in the region.
Central in the work is an anthology of short films featuring documentary-style first- person monologues and conversational dialogues. The films relay lives caught between the cracks of interregional histories, geography and social customs. Delving into issues of the human condition within time-place socialscapes, Ong articulates the socio-cultural anatomy of diasporic communities, of transborder and transcultural identities, myth and memory through narratives of the personal. That the documentary-style confessions in Ong’s films are fictive enactments (albeit based on a mosaic of real-life accounts) makes a discursive point on the often hazy boundary between fact and fiction in storytelling.