About SEA AiR
SEA AiR is a new programme that aims to foster artistic exchange between Southeast Asia and the European Union, with Singapore as its hub. Developed by NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (NTU CCA Singapore), the project is funded by the European Union and it offers emerging Southeast Asian artists a long-term engagement comprising a three-month residency in a EU country and the opportunity to create new works, inspired by the residency experience, that will be presented to the public in Singapore in a group exhibition curated by NTU CCA Singapore. Dedicated to artists who have not yet had a significant professional experience in Europe, SEA AiR pivots the creative and cultural exchange between Southeast Asia and the European Union on emerging visual art practitioners by providing a significant platform for professional and personal growth through the format of artistic residencies and a curated group exhibition. The residencies are hosted by established European contemporary art institutions engaged as project partners.
SEA AiR Cycle 2
Seven artists and curators from different Southeast Asian countries were invited to contribute to SEA AiR as nominators. Since artists from Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand participated in the inaugural cycle, the scouting process for the second cycle of SEA AiR focused on the remaining Southeast Asian countries to ensure the equitable distribution of the programme’s resources. The nominators were asked to leverage on their in-depth knowledge of the emerging contemporary art practices in their respective countries by nominating outstanding practitioners who could benefit from this opportunity. The nominated artists were subsequently invited to submit an application to participate in the programme.
After reviewing the applications for Cycle 2 the Selection Committee selected artists Priyageetha Dia (Singapore), Ngoc Nau (Vietnam) and Saroot Supasuthivech (Thailand). The Selection Committee also shortlisted five artists in acknowledgement of their artistic promise.
The SEA AiR Selection Committee for Cycle 2 included: Prof Ute Meta Bauer, (Chair), Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, NTU; Hicham Khalidi, Director, Jan Van Eyck Academie; Monika Lipšic, Residency Curator, Rupert; Christoph Tannert, Artistic Director, Künstlerhaus Bethanien; Dr Karin Oen, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department, Art History, NTU School of Humanities; and Eszter Nemeth, Deputy Head of Mission, European Union Delegation to Singapore.
Anna Koshcheeva researches the visual culture of Laos. Her focus stems from a fascination with the image and global history of the Cold War, and the production of the world-order on the margin. She engages with cultural theories, ideas of temporality, and Buddhist studies. Anna holds an M.A. in Asian Art Histories from Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, and an M.A. in World Economics from Udmurt State University, Russia. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University.
Phoo Myat Thwe is an independent curator and an art critic from Myanmar. Her main interest is to integrate technology with methodologies and mediums for artistic research, production, and exhibition-making. A self-confessed ‘Technowitch’, she likes to explore emerging technologies, witchcraft, human bodies as well as physical, virtual, hypothetical, unseen and unknown spaces. Her curatorial achievments to date include (Re)Imagine City/ (Re)Imagine Home an Augmented Reality project hosted on Instagram and the exhibition C a r e., Yangon, Myanmar (2022). Her projects have been featured in Art&Market and ArtAsiaPacific.
Con Cabrera is a visual artist and curator. She has been participating in exhibitions since 2006 and has attended curatorial workshops that bring together cultural practitioners from across Asia. She is currently a faculty member in the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman and guest curator at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Visual Arts and Museum Division (Pasay, Philippines). She regularly writes texts for artists and exhibitions while finishing her Master at the College of Arts and Letters Curatorial Studies, University of Philippines.
Ong Kian Peng is a media artist who works at the intersection of art, technology and the environment, Ong creates immersive and reflective environments that offer alternate visions and imaginations of our relationship with nature. His recent exhibitions include Natasha (Singapore Biennale 2022), SUPER–TRAJECTORY: Life in Motion, Tainan Museum of Fine Arts Taiwan (2019-2020), Adaptations, Gillman Barracks, Singapore (2019). Since 2017, he has been running Supernormal, an independent art space focusing on emerging and experimental art practice.
Mary Pansanga is an independent curator working across cinema and contemporary art contexts, institutions and spaces. Her interests lie in exploring different forms of experimental moving images. She has put together screenings, exhibitions, and other projects at various art spaces and film festivals in Thailand including National Museum, Bangkok (2019), PhotoBangkok at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (2018), the Art Center, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, (2013). She is a founder of the ongoing project ‘cloud’, a platform for communication, education and open-ended dialogue.
UuDam Tran Nguyen is an artist born and currently based in Vietnam. Initially trained as a sculptor at the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Art University, he went on to pursue a Bachelor of Art at UCLA and Master of Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Working with video, performance, photography, sculpture and new media, Nguyen’s playfully provocative practice is today one of the leading lights of Vietnamese contemporary art. Nguyen has exhibited internationally, including but not limited to Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; Asia Society, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Yasmin Jaidin is a Bruneian contemporary artist and educator currently practicing in Brunei. Her practice revolves around materiality by working with media that can be found in the everyday like sugar, flour, grass and soil. Her work exhibits a fidelity to the chosen material, combining minimalism and process into an object-oriented practice. She holds degrees from Goldsmiths, University London, and has exhibited internationally at venues such as The National Art Centre in Tokyo, UP Vargas Museum in Manila, the Manila Metropolitan Museum, and the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan.
The practice of Lêna Bùi (b. 1985, Vietnam) is deeply drawn to the intangible aspects of life, such as faith, death, and dreams and the ways in which they influence our behaviours and perceptions. Through the incorporation of anecdotes and personal stories, her works articulate intimate reflections upon the impact of rapid development and the relationship between humans and nature. Bùi’s works have been included in solo and group exhibitions at the Jeju Biennale, South Korea (2022), mM Artcenter, Gyeonggi-do (2022) and ACC Gwangju, both South Korea (2021); Sàn Art, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2020, 2012); Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates (2018); Wesleyan University, Middletown, United States (2018); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (2017) amongst other venues.
Lin Htet Aung (b. 1998, Myanmar) is a self-taught filmmaker and time-based media artist living in Myanmar. He began writing avant-garde poems and publishing underground poetry books. In 2017, he turned to making short films. His experimental short film Estate won the Silver Screen Award – Best Director at the 31st Singapore International Film Festival’s Southeast Asian Short Film Competition (2020). His short films have been screened at numerous festivals including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2023), International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany (2022), Short Film Festival Hamburg, Germany (2020) Ecological Futurisms, Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), University of Westminster, United Kingdom (2022) amongst others.
Ronyel Compra (b. 1985, Philippines) is a visual artist who experiments with indigenous materials to materialize his works in different formats: painting, video, sculptural installations, performances, and printmaking. Heavily influenced by the discovery of historical and personal narratives in local communities, Compra integrates the techniques used in local crafts production and trades into his practice as reflections of memories, history, and experiences of places and his hometown. He received his BFA in Painting from the University of the Philippines, Cebu, and was shortlisted for the Ateneo Art Awards in 2019. In 2020, he completed an artist residency at the Bellas Artes Projects in Bataan. Compra is a recipient of Para Site’s (HK) NoExit Grant for Unpaid Artistic Labour—Philippines.
Nat Setthana (b. 1995, Thailand) is a Bangkok-based visual artist. He has an undergraduate degree in Communication Design and a master’s degree in Visual Communication from School of Architecture and Design, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi. He was also a member of Yeast, a multimedia design team practicing experiential design and immersive installation. His practice focuses on experimenting with photographic and moving image installation.
Pam Quinto (b. 1991, Philippines) is an artist, curator, and writer. Her practice articulates a sense of intimacy and vulnerability in which remnants of memory, sympathy to the human psyche, and feminine thematics are seen and felt. She navigates tensions between creation and destruction by mingling craft and experiment, and subverts the role of the viewer through works that invite interaction and participation. Quinto’s interdisciplinary practice encompasses various mediums such as ceramics, photography, installation, text, and performance.
1 December 2023 - 28 January 2024
NTU CCA Singapore Residencies Studios
Block 38 Malan Road
NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore presents the second-cycle exhibition of SEA AiR – Studio Residencies for Southeast Asian Artists in the European Union (SEA AiR), a programme developed by NTU CCA Singapore and funded by the European Union. Titled Passages, this exhibition features new works by artists Priyageetha Dia (Singapore), Ngoc Nau (Vietnam) and Saroot Supasuthivech (Thailand), inspired by their three-month-long residencies in Europe.
As part of the SEA AiR programme, Dia had undertaken her residency at Jan van Eyck Academie (Netherlands), Nau at Rupert (Lithuania) and Supasuthivech at Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Germany) through the summer. Bringing back their experiences from diverse contexts in the EU to Singapore for this exhibition, Passages speaks of the artists’ journeys across geographical and cultural boundaries from one continent to another; the cultural exchanges that take place during this time; and the continuous development of ideas as they return to their home countries to create new works for the exhibition.
Priyageetha Dia’s research interest lies in the plantations of Southeast Asia and their colonial histories, including those of migrant labour and structures of production and power. She explores gaps in historical records that are not only text-based, but also non-textual ones such as photographs, artefacts and oral interviews. Her four-channel sound installation Sap Sonic is a sonification of images from the photo album of the Sumatra Caoutchouc Company, a rubber planting company, from the archives of Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Beyond their visual representations, the images bear witness to the power dynamics between the coloniser and its labourers as well as the hierarchy between nature and machine. Reframing this landscape from a visual to a sonic one, Sap Sonic serves as an aural gateway to the plantations as it delves into the lived yet unspoken lives of those who work on and inhabit the plantations, both human and nonhuman. Accompanying the work, Sap Script is a text installation in white latex paint, referencing rubber sap, on a black, obsidian-like background. Its typeface echoes the slender and linear structure of rubber trees, distorted to resemble the waveform of sound waves. Through the intangible, unseen nature of sound, Sap Sonic probes aspects of the visual world; expanding the agentive possibilities of the uncounted and the underheard.
Upon her arrival in Vilnius, Lithuania, for her residency, Ngoc Nau was drawn to Soviet-era architectural elements in the city, such as the Soviet brutalist architecture of the Vilnius Palace of Concerts and Sports. She also became intrigued with the iconic image of a Lenin statue being removed, with its legs severed, from the city centre square in 1991. This imagery became a point of departure for her exploration into multifaceted aspects of post-Soviet realities in her own country. Portraying contemporary life amidst the remnants of socialist architecture and monuments using 3D animation and visual effects, Nau’s video installation, Virtual Reverie: Echoes of a Forgotten Utopia, demonstrates the transformative power of technology in reshaping our perceptions of reality. Central to the work is a constructed representation of the Vietnam-Soviet Friendship Palace of Culture and Labour in Hanoi, Vietnam, that serves as a stage for five hip-hop dancers embarking on a symbolic journey. As they interact with elements drawn from historical references in Vietnam and Lithuania, the dancers bridge the gap between historical artifacts and contemporary experiences. Echoing the ebb and flow of ideologies, their passage brings about new meanings when past memories evolve in the face of shifting landscapes.
Saroot Supasuthivech’s multimedia installation, Spirit-forward in G Major, charts the transformative journey experienced by Thai expatriates in Germany, told through a metaphoric cycle of life, death and rebirth. The work’s narrative unfolds in four parts. "New Beginnings" uses therapeutic dialogues to depict the initial migrant experience. "A Surreal Interlude", based on interviews conducted with Thai monks and nuns in Berlin, transports viewers into a realm of magic and mortality inspired by Grimm's fairy tales. The third segment focuses on a Thai music score Sai Samon, the oldest documented. Finally, "A Glimpse Beyond" dives into a poetic meditation on death and the afterlife, told from the viewpoint of the deceased. This poignant culmination is an exploration into a liminal reality between the familiar and the surreal, encapsulating the interplay of tradition, adaptation and preservation within an evolving cultural landscape.
Passages will be held through Singapore Art Week 2024, with a public programme taking place on 20 January 2024. Details of the public programme can be found here.
SEA AiR – Studio Residencies for Southeast Asian Artists in the European Union is made possible thanks to a generous grant of the European Union.
Download the exhibition guide here.