Our Singapore Art Week Picks by District | Experience Art across Singapore – A List
The 10th edition of Singapore’s biggest visual arts festival, headlined ART TAKES OVER! SAW 2022, will burst into life with more than 130 events, performances, exhibitions, happenings, installations and workshops from 14 Jan to 23 Jan.
For 10 days, across 70 locations, Singapore Art Week (SAW) takes art out of the traditional galleries and into shophouses, industrial spaces, malls, parks and public landmarks. The festival has an exciting new hybrid format so art lovers of all stripes can enjoy art in both physical and virtual spaces.
Below, we pick out our event recommendations for each district. You can also check out the full festival programme with this handy Singapore Art Week To Go guide. Or take a look at our guide to SAW key partner events and see the surprising locations you’ll find SAW this year. However you take in the festival, don’t forget to share your SAW journey on social media with the hashtags #ArtTakesOver and #sgartweek.
Back in the physical realm, take note of the free SAW shuttle bus linking HarbourFront MRT with Tanjong Pagar Distripark, the National Gallery and Gillman Barracks.
There is another interesting SAW bus trip that you can take. SAW is such a large, multi-faceted arts festival it can be hard to get your head around its many attractions. If you feel a little daunted by it all, or just want to dive right in and experience as much of the festival as possible in the company of fellow art fans and knowledgeable guides, why not join Post-Museum on a guided tour of some of the best that SAW has to offer?
SAW IN 10 DAYS
Over the course of the festival the Post-Museum bus will explore more than 100 SAW events, exhibitions and installations across more than 70 locations all over Singapore. Special detours on selected days will be led by guest curators Kamiliah Bahdar, Susie Wong and Tang Fu Kuen.
Think of this as a magical art and culture trip with first-time art goers, art lovers, artists and curators transforming the bus into a space for shared experiences and discussions about the many narratives and themes of SAW 2022.
SAW IN 10 DAYS is also accessible for viewing on SAW Digital and other platforms throughout the festival. A live stream will be available on 14, 16, 22 and 23 Jan. Follow @postmuseum_insta on Instagram for the latest updates. Capacity on the bus is limited to 10 people per session (each tour lasts four hours) so reserve your places now. Register free for SAW IN 10 DAYS here.
In the meantime, The A List has put together its own little SAW tour: first stop, Marina Bay….
SAW @ Marina Bay
Inspired by the dream of perpetual motion machines that has long captivated the imagination of inventors and alchemists, Gerald Leow’s kinetic sculptures rotate in the wind and reflect the built environment surrounding the waterfront plaza at Marina Bay. Leow has designed the mechanism so that the sculptures make a circular motion and then pause; a metaphor for the enforced breaks in our lives caused by the pandemic.
While you are there, step into an artist’s studio filled with sketches and models within repurposed shipping containers fitted out by Art Outreach, so you get to see more of the creative process. Find out more about Perpetual Motion by Gerald Leow here. (Photo: Colin Wan, Art Outreach Singapore)
SAW @ Kampong Gelam
Aliwal Arts Centre in Kamong Gelam (Kampong Glam) hosts Islands Time-Based Art, a mini-festival within SAW. Conceived by Kai Lam and anGie Seah, it is a showcase of artists spanning three generations, art disciplines and cultural perspectives that taps into the power of new media, scripted performance and improvisations to draw a wider community into the contemporary art scene. There are 10 performances, artist talks and panel discussions, plus an open improvisation session. Find out more about Islands Time-based Art Festival here. (Photo: Nicole Phua)
SAW @ Gillman Barracks
The Gillman Barracks arts hub is the venue for no fewer than 35 SAW events (you can search the festival programme by district here). One of them is For the House; Against the House by OH! Open House, which looks at the role the arts have played in creating a sense of national identity. Leveraging art to this end was one of the core missions of the Ministry of Culture when it was set up in 1959, the year Singapore gained full internal self-governance.
The question is, how far have we come in achieving this goal six decades down the road? Let curator Jong Tung walk you through the arguments using artworks from eight private collections and newly commissioned pieces by artists hailing from Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. Admission to For the House; Against the House is free after registration here.
SAW @ Civic District
Explore four, newly commissioned, site-specific visual arts exhibitions around Esplanade this SAW. Jendela (Visual Arts Space) is filled with Han Sai Por’s fluid and organic forms. Inspired by the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, her work alludes to the impact of human activity on the natural world.
In the Esplanade Tunnel, Boedi Widjaja takes us deep into the world of wuxia through Jin Yong’s novel Ode to Gallantry, using his drawings and his own system of architectonic script.
At Esplanade Community Wall, Fazleen Karlan’s striking d3ar succ3ss0r excavates debris of our present accumulated in sedimentary layers over time, and ponders what archaeologists from the future would make of us.
Esplanade Concourse is the venue for Sender of Wishes by Gatot Indrajati – conceived as a cityscape with inhabitant toy figures aiming to detect rays of light and hope as the pandemic drags on. (Photo: Boedi Widjaja/Kang Ouw)
SAW @ Tanjong Pagar
Another key venue for SAW is Tanjong Pagar Distripark. Here, one of the installations is by The Observatory, generally regarded as Singapore’s most influential group in the realms of art rock and electronica. One of many contributions by Singapore Art Museum to SAW, Refuse is an imagined world built entirely on waste and detritus in which mushrooms make music by means of bio-sonification.
Sensors and servo motors translate the bio-rhythms of living organisms into sound. This in turn triggers specially designed mushroom-instruments in real-time and the result is an otherworldly soundscape that is partly controlled by the band, partly by the fungi. Get down to the Distripark and take the trip. (Photo: The Observatory)
SAW @ Bras Basah
ART TAKES OVER! 2022 has a big footprint at the Bras Basah Complex. It is a more traditional approach to presenting art, as the work is hung in galleries, but how often do you get to wander around half a dozen galleries in one building, simply playing their part in a bigger artistic event rather than trying to sell to you?
G Art Gallery serves up a joint exhibition of paintings by seven artists including Yak Whee and Lee Hock Moh, while Fine Arts Development Global’s show consists of clay teapots, snuff bottles and other paintings from Singaporean and Chinese masters. Si Bao Zhai Arts Gallery contributes paintings by four recipients of the prestigious Cultural Medallion, Nanyang Gallery presents Art on Fans showcasing 50 ink works by local and China artists, and Tieling Art Gallery presents landscapes by Tan Kee Sek.
Pin Xuan Ge gallery’s Artistic Trio show presents works by Oh Khang Lark, Xie Yuzhe and Chen Cheng Ji, while Cape of Good Hope Gallery has put together Contemporary Fascinations – Streetscenes by Tung Yue Nang & Zhu Hong, two artists who seamlessly merge an Asian aesthetic with Western techniques. (Photo: Tung Yue Nang, Modern Singapore)
If your art tastebuds have been tantalised (ours have!), start planning your visit to Singapore Art Week here.