As a writer, curator, and lecturer based in London with professional interests in contemporary visual arts development, gallery management, museums, and public art, Piers Masterson has curated and commissioned numerous exhibitions and projects by artists including Sinta Tantra, Chila Burman, Suki Chan, Mona Hatoum, Faisal Abdu’Allah, and Isaac Julien, and has been closely working with the British Museum’s Raffles Collection.
With this visiting scholarship, Professor Ute Meta Bauer will collaborate with Masterson on historical research on Sir Stamford Raffles’s collection in relation to the field of contemporary art. These activities will take place in the lead-up to the 200th anniversary of Raffles’ landing in Singapore in 2019.
In addition to publishing of History of Java (1817), Raffles curated displays of objects and pictures from Southeast Asia in his London homes. Through these displays, Raffles promoted several archetypes for colonial fantasies of Southeast Asia that were recirculated through the 20th century. During the fellowship, Masterson will examine the ways in which contemporary Singaporean artists appropriate and re-contextualise these images of the tropics for their specific aims.