Braving the new normal with visual arts
If you are looking for new self-care methods to brave the new normal, try art. Proposals for Novel Ways of Being is a six-month-long initiative by the local visual arts community that aims to help the public make sense of their own pandemic experience and imagine new ways of living in a changed world.
The initiative comprises a series of visual art exhibitions and programmes held by 12 local art institutions, independent art spaces and collectives, including the National Gallery Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, The Substation, and Grey Projects.
Visitors can enjoy works by over 170 local artists and cultural workers, including a snail mail exchange between an artist and elderly residents in Tiong Bahru and Bukit Merah, part of Grey Project’s Stranger Still programmes about caregiving during times of separation; and a make-believe reiki studio in the Gallery for those seeking a hideaway in the city centre. Many of the exhibitions and programmes are on view until the end of February 2021.
Dr Eugene Tan, director of the National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum, says: “As national art institutions, we ask ourselves how we can show solidarity with the local network of independent art spaces, institutions and collectives to engage and support members of the art community, and how we can highlight the role that art can play in times of crises such as the current pandemic. We hope that through the exhibitions and programmes, local audiences will be inspired to make meaning out of their own experiences of the pandemic and collectively imagine new possibilities for the future.”
Don’t miss these highlights:
we are not going back, we are coming around
A series of ongoing art projects at The Substation explores how society, individuals, businesses and the arts can move forward in these challenging times. Be sure to catch the Straits Records pop-up shop at the independent arts centre from now till 11 October. The pop-up seeks to support businesses and the music scene through retail. It offers vintage vinyl and CDs for sale, as well as coffee for those who wish to linger at the shop.
An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season
This National Gallery Singapore exhibition of contemporary art by 10 artists invites audiences to reflect on new ways of thinking and living. The immersive installations in this show, which runs until 21 February 2021, touch on topics such as consumerism, spiritual wellness and rituals of care. Don’t miss artist Ila’s tender work, There can be no touching here, which looks as how the public consumes and shares information on incidences of assault.
This exhibition, organised by the Singapore Art Museum and held in the National Gallery Singapore until 21 February 2021, features works by young artists which consider how people can show and receive care during a pandemic. Artist Diana Rahim’s photographs in the work Interventions spotlight “hostile architecture” – public infrastructural features that separate people from one another – which have been made less intimidating with decorations of colourful tinsel and flowers. Artist Divaagar’s make-believe reiki studio in the installation Render Tender looks at how people can show physical care for one another whilst maintaining physical distance.
The Fabric of Sympathy
Curated by Singaporean artist Luke Heng, this show at LASALLE’s Institute of Contemporary Arts focuses on the materiality of objects. By shining a light on the fragility of the material world, the show seeks to inspire audiences to care for the things around them. The works, by nine artists, range from prints and installations to sculptures, made of materials such as marble, fabric, timber and paper. The show runs until 11 October 2020.
Learn more about Proposals for Novel Ways of Being here.
(Photos: National Gallery Singapore, The Substation, Singapore Art Museum and LASALLE’s Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore)