Things to do, watch, listen this week: 15 to 21 Nov
There are some real treats in The A List selection this week. There is a musical tour de force with maestro conductor Carlos Calmar, and a retrospective of Susan Weil – one of the leading lights of abstract expressionism. And why not take in another exhibition at Gillman Barracks – displaying new work by Rina Banerjee and Zai Kuning – at the same time? Pandemic restrictions have really curtailed dance in Singapore, but a full-length contemporary work, with a dozen leading local dancers gracing Drama Centre’s proscenium stage, shows there is light at the end of the tunnel. Last but not least is a series of imaginative short films by burgeoning talents at NTU’s School of Art, Design and Media.
Dances of Panama
Go on a musical journey in the company of Uruguayan-born American maestro Carlos Kalmar. Central America is the first port of call, with pioneering African-American composer William Grant Still’s Dances of Panama. A nostalgic piece for strings by Frank Bridge takes us back to a long-ago England, while Nielsen’s elegiac Op. 1 serves up a slice of Scandinavia. Rounding things out is an Entr’acte for strings by the Pulitzer-prize-winning Caroline Shaw, which she refers to as looking at the “other side of Alice’s looking glass in a kind of absurd, subtle, technicolour transition.” Your point of departure is Victoria Concert Hall on 18 and 19 Nov. Book your tickets for Dances of Panama here.
Susan Weil: Now, Then and Always
The Sundaram Tagore Gallery at Gillman Barracks presents a retrospective by renowned American artist, Susan Weil. Weil, a woman in the very macho world of mid-20th century abstract expressionism, is now regarded as a bold and truly innovative artist in her own right. She trained under Josef Abers at the famed Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where she scoured campus rubbish dumps with a young Robert Rauschenberg, hunting for materials and objects to incorporate into her work. Tracing the arc of her long career are landscapes from the 1960s, iconic blueprints (1949–2020), figurative paintings, pieces inspired by the natural world, and work made this year – for this creative powerhouse is still going strong at the age of 91. Rare archival images give an insight into her practice and the formative years of the New York School in the 1950s. Get more information about Susan Weil: Now, Then and Always here.
Sigma Contemporary Dance: Civil Twilight
Join dance group Sigma as it marks its 10th anniversary with the premiere of this new work performed by 12 dancers, who interpret original music by Redwan Hamzah. Hong Guofeng is the artistic director and choreographer. It is the company’s biennial dance showcase leading up to 12.ance, Sigma’s series of dance workshops in December. Sigma takes to the stage at the Drama Centre Theatre in the National Library Building on 20 and 21 Nov. Book your tickets for Sigma Contemporary Dance: Civil Twilight here.
Dialogue: Rina Banerjee and Zai Kuning
Ota Fine Arts Singapore presents a duo exhibition by Rina Banerjee and Zai Kuning, featuring recent works on paper characterised by bold colours and multi-layered compositions. Rina depicts mythical-looking figures painted in acrylic and incorporates collage elements, while Zai creates abstract forms drawn in ink, watercolour and organic pigments, making the show a lively dialogue between different styles. The show runs until 20 Nov. Find out more about Dialogue: Rina Banerjee and Zai Kuning here.
Short Films by NTU
Four shorts produced by students at Nanyang Technological University School of Art, Design and Media show how music, even with words, can be used for storytelling. In Up You Go, a boy goes to his favourite hideout, a space-themed playground, but is startled by a fallen star. Spinning Dreams speaks to the tension between a youngster’s desire to join the circus and his sense of duty, which means staying in the pottery shop to help his loving parents. How to fit in with social expectations and still find a way to pursue happiness is also the theme of Kaeru. In contrast, Closing tells the tale of an underpaid cashier whose patience is tested by one last fickle customer. Find out more and watch Short Films by NTU here.
(Photos: Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Susan Weil, Sigma, Ota Fine Arts Singapore/Zai Kuning, Chiharu Lim)