4 May – 30 June 2017
Malaysian artist chi too (b. 1981) moves across the mediums of film, music, performance, installations, sculptures, and photography. Shifting between the personal and the political, the public and the private, his performances and artworks touch upon a large spectrum of issues often with humor and a playful attitude. He has participated in several exhibitions in Malaysia, Japan, and Singapore, including Art Next Door, an exhibition about the shared heritage of Singapore and Malaysia held at White Box, Publika, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2015) and the 2013 Singapore Biennale If the World Changed. In 2011 and 2012, he received the prestigious Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowship (API) from The Nippon Foundation.
Casting an ironic look at Malaysia and Singapore’s historical merger, We Were Once a Nation is a research project about nation building which unearths the histories of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. The research will focus on the years between 1963 and 1965, when Singapore and Malaysia split from the merger, in order to map a shared history of hopes, conflicts, and anxieties. Searching Singapore archival materials to decode Malayan history and, therefore, his own Malaysian identity, chi too aims to address the political and personal implications embedded in the construction of a nation state.
In the context of chi too’s ongoing research on activism and civil disobedience, this studio session present the screening of two documentary films: Penusah Tana (The Forgotten Struggle) (2008) by Hilary Chiew and chi too and Singapore Rebel (2004) by local filmmaker Martyn See. Both films documents episodes of resistance and are brought together because of the artist’s interest in understanding how protest and dissent take shape in Malaysia and Singapore. Penusah Tana (The Forgotten Struggle) addresses the struggles of the Penan, a forest-dwelling tribe in Sarawak, against logging corporations. Singapore Rebel recounts the political journey of Dr Chee Soon Juan, leader of the Singapore Democratic Party.
The screenings will be followed by a conversation between the artist and the filmmaker.
The talk will take place in the artist’s studio.
Please note that Singapore Rebel is rated M18.