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 will be hosted by established contemporary art institutions that have been engaged as project partners.
SEA AiR Cycle 1
Nine artists and curators from different Southeast Asian countries were invited to contribute to SEA AiR as nominators. They generously leveraged 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 the careful review by the Selection Committee, the artists selected for Cycle 1 are: Hoo Fan Chon (Malaysia), Citra Sasmita (Indonesia) and Vuth Lyno (Cambodia). The Selection Committee was impressed with the overall quality and diversity reflected by the applicant pool and shortlisted six artists in acknowledgement of their artistic promise.
The SEA AiR Selection Committee for Cycle 1 included: Prof Ute Meta Bauer, (Chair), Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, NTU; Ms Sylvie Christophe, Head of International Relations, Villa Arson; Mr Juha Huuskonen, Director, Helsinki International Artist Programme; Ms Siddharta Perez, Curator, NUS Museum; Ms Deepika Shetty, Press Officer, European Union in Singapore, and Mr Dirk Snauwaert, Director, WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain.
Meta Moeng is an independent curator based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She is the founder of Kon Len Khnhom, an independent art space dedicated to building audiences and networking, and Dambaul, an arts resource home comprising a reading room, an art archive, and a space for the sharing of knowledge. She has previously curated exhibitions at Treeline Gallery in Siem Reap (2019) and was creative producer for Creative Generation, a project by Java Creative café (2017–2018). She was the previous Community Projects Manager at SA SA BASSAC (2013-2016).
Melati Suryodarmo is an internationally known Indonesian artist whose work is regularly presented worldwide. Informed by butoh, dance, and history, her practice is the result of an ongoing research on body movement and its relationship to the self and the world. These interests are enshrined in photography, translated into choreographed dances, enacted in video, or executed in live performances. Since 2007, Suryodarmo organises “Undisclosed Territory”, an annual performance art event in Solo, Indonesia. She was Artistic Director for JIWA, the 17th Jakarta Biennale (2017).
Misouda Heuangsoukkhoun is an indipenent curator, the founder of Mekong Art Initiative (MAI) and the manager of Lao Gallery in Vientiane. Misouda’s passion for art developed when her parents opened the Lao Gallery in 1985, the first art gallery in Laos. Misouda was a co-curator of the Singapore Biennale 2013 and of the Mekong Art and Culture Project (2006). She was the nominator of Laotian artists for the Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Japan (2010) and for the Signature Art Prize, Singapore (2012 and 2014). In 2016, Misouda was invited from Taiwan Ministry of Culture to be a member of the inaugural Southeast Asia Advisory Committee to foster art and culture activities between Southeast Asia and Taiwan. She combines her strong interest in art with her passion for social work through art exhibitions organised to raise funds for children with autism in Laos.
Yee I-Lann currently lives and works in Kota Kinabalu, in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah, where she works collaboratively with sea-based and land-based communities and indigenous mediums. Her primarily photo-based practice engages with the turbulent history of archipelagic Southeast Asia through works that address issues of colonialism and neo-colonialism, power, and the impact of historic memory in social experiencemoften with a focus on counternarratives and “histories from below”. She is a co-founding associate of The Ricecooker Archives: Southeast Asian Rock ‘n’ Roll Treasury with her partner Joe Kidd and a Board member of Forever Sabah and Tamparuli Living Arts Center (TaLAC), both based in Sabah.
Aung Myat Htay is an artist, writer, and independent curator based in Yangon. In his practice, he explores the potential of freedom of expression in contemporary art. He presented works in local and international exhibitions and participated in residency programs at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; Bengaluru Artist Residency One, India; Residency Unlimited, United States; Sylt Foundation, Germany; and the Heritage Space, Vietnam. He is an Asian Cultural Council Fellow (2013) and the founder of School of Contemporary Art (SOCA), an online programme focused on community-based and experimental art.
Renan Laru-an is a researcher and a curator interested in ‘insufficient’ and ‘subtracted’ images, histories, and subjects. He was the founding director of DiscLab – Research and Criticism, a multidisciplinary platform and ‘virtual’ organisation for critical writing, theory, discursive activities and long-term research on Philippine contemporary art and network culture. He is a member of the founding team of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network at the Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center, where he leads the Public Engagement and Artistic Formation desk. He has curated a number of project and exhibitions and was in the curatorial team of the 6th Singapore Biennale (2019).
Syaheedah Iskandar works with vernacular ideas of visuality within Southeast Asia. Her curatorial projects aim to unpack knowledge(s) that inform and counter hegemonic systems of seeing. Recent curatorial projects include State of Motion 2021: [Alternate/Opt] Realities, Singapore (2021) and An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season, National Gallery Singapore (2020). She is the inaugural Emerging Writers’ Fellow for the academic journal Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia and the recipient of the IMPART Awards 2020. She was previously Curatorial Assistant at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (2014–18).
Kittima Chareeprasit is a curator at MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In 2016, she cofounded Waiting You Curator Lab, an experimental curatorial workshop and artists’ book publishing house. Her interest lies in contemporary art and culture that revolve around critical history, social, and political issues. She works on numerous projects with emerging and established artists from Southeast Asia.
The research and curatorial practice of Đỗ Tường Linh range from art and politics to conceptualism and postcolonial studies, with a specific focus on avant-garde and contemporary art in Vietnam post-1986, the relation between Vietnam and post-socialist countries, and the historical connections between Vietnam and Africa. She has worked with galleries, art spaces, institutions and projects such as Art Vietnam gallery, Nhà Sàn Studio, Sàn Art, Hanoi DocLab and Goethe-Institut. She is a fellow researcher for “Site and Space in Southeast Asia”, a research project that explores the intersections of urban space, art, and culture in Yangon, Penang, and Huế.
Since 2017, Đặng Thuỳ Anh (b. 1996, Vietnam) has been developing an experimental artistic practice exploring performance art and other mediums such as installation, photography, and conceptual approaches to art making. Her interests revolve around the connection between human and nature, stereotypical visual motifs, and the impact of social prejudice towards the conceptualization of gender. Selected exhibitions include: Month of Art Practice, Heritage Space, Hanoi (2018); Open Studio, Á Space, Hanoi (2018) and Emerging Artists 6, Nhà Sàn Collective, Hanoi (2018).
Priyageetha Dia (b. 1992, Singapore) is an artist working in the fields of moving image, sculpture, installation, and text. Her practice unfolds contemplative constructions of alternate futures and speculative imaginaries to readdress historical and cultural production of her Tamil identity. Her current research focuses on the ancestral spectre and labour relations of the diasporas in Southeast Asia and beyond. Contributing to the discourse of what constitutes art in Singapore, Dia also experiments with new way of practicing art in public spaces. Selected exhibitions include An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season, National Gallery Singapore (2020); the earth and her skin, Arts Porter Gallery, Singapore (2020-21), 2219: Futures Imagined, ArtScience Museum, Singapore (2019), among others.
Tada Hengsapkul (b. 1987, Thailand) is an artist based in Bangkok. Consisting of photographic series and moving image works, his practice is concerned with investigating and resisting various forms of control to address questions of freedom and social agency. In recent years, his work has been exhibited in numerous group shows including Bangkok Biennale, Thailand (2020); State of Motion, Asian Film Archive, Singapore (2019); and the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Australia (2018) among others.
Rita Khin (b. 1992, Myanmar) is a Yangon-based queer photographer. Her works addresses gender diversity, women issues, and stories LGBT individuals and communities. She is also a member of Thuma Collective, a collective of Burmese women photographers, formed in 2017, who are committed to challenge stereotypes about photography and gender through visual storytelling. In 2019, she was selected as a fellow to attend the Angkor Photo Festival. In 2018, she was selected to participate in Burmese Days Photography Workshop organised by The VII Foundation.
Kat Medina (b. 1984, Philippines) is a painter who weaves elements of craft-making in her practice. She is especially involved in thinking about craft and object-making in the face of popular production exploring the architectonic nuances of painterly gestures and the configuration of colour. Her work is regularly exhibited in galleries and art spaces across the Philippines and was included in the exhibitions A Knowing Intimacy Or A Life, Jorge B. Vargas Museum, Quezon City, Philippines (2019) and Casting Stones into Still Waters, Mind Set Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan (2018).
nor (b. 1993, Singapore) is an artist whose practice investigates the performative aspects of identities. Their work is rooted in self-portraiture, exploring themes such as gender, sexuality and ethnicity through photography, film, performance, and spoken word. Their works have been featured in exhibitions such as An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season, National Gallery Singapore (2020-21) and Minor Infelicities, Post Territory Ujeongguk, Seoul, South Korea (2020). She received their first solo show In Love at Coda Culture, Singapore (2018).
Hoo Fan Chon, Citra Sasmita, Vuth Lyno: New Works
11 January - 5 February 2023
NTU CCA Singapore Residencies Studios
Block 38 Malan Road
NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and the European Union Delegation to Singapore are pleased to present the exhibition Hoo Fan Chon, Citra Sasmita, Vuth Lyno: New Works. The exhibition marks the culmination of the first cycle of SEA AiR—Studio Residencies for Southeast Asian Artists in the European Union (SEA AiR). As participating artists in the inaugural cycle of SEA AiR, Hoo Fan Chon (Malaysia), Citra Sasmita (Indonesia), and Vuth Lyno (Cambodia) have each been awarded a three-month-long residency at an art institution in Europe as well as funding for the creation of artworks.
In the first half of 2022, amidst unrelenting surges of the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the artists took off from their home countries to conduct three-month-long residencies: Hoo Fan Chon at HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme (Finland); Citra Sasmita at WIELS (Brussels, Belgium); and Vuth Lyno at Villa Arson (Nice, France). The artworks featured in the exhibition Hoo Fan Chon, Citra Sasmita, Vuth Lyno: New Works have been created by the artists in the months following their residencies, a much-needed time for critical reflection and material experimentation that allowed them to develop their research findings and creative inspiration into full-fledged artworks. Ranging from installation and video to sculpture and painting, some of these works also mark these artists’ first attempts at embracing new mediums and materials: 3D animation techniques for Hoo Fan Chon, video for Citra Sasmita, and paper for Vuth Lyno. Most importantly, they bear witness to how the artists’ interests in the cosmetics of food, cultural contaminations, decolonial practices, the empowerment of women, and the resilience of marginalised communities, have evolved over the last year.
In residence at HIAP—Helsinki International Artist Programme (Finland) from late February to late May, Hoo Fan Chon soon became fascinated by the salmon pink hue that adorns the facades of many buildings across Finland and its neighbouring countries. This chromatic cue tied in with the artist’s ongoing interest in issues of taste, class, and fish culture—the son of a fisherman, fish-based imagery and foodscapes are often the subject of his work. Hoo Fan Chon’s erratic investigation, imbued with a distinctive sense of irony, around the cosmetic processing of farmed salmon and the social status of salmon consumption as a signifier of class and wealth in Chinese culture resulted in a multimedia installation. How to turn your siakap into salmon is a video work, inspired by tutorials commonly found on YouTube, that illustrates DIY techniques to colour affordable fish in order to simulate a salmon-eating experience. The artist’s first experiment with 3D animation, the installation I have never seen a swimming salmon in my life projects swimming salmon cuts onto an aquarium with a voiceover about the plights that threaten the survival of salmons. Finnish landscape painting series is a series of painterly interventions on found paintings where Chinese blessings and images of the proverbial “carp leaping over the dragon’s gate” are inscribed onto landscape paintings that the artist sourced from thrift shops around Helsinki.
The artistic practice of Citra Sasmita revisits ancient Balinese mythologies and retools traditional artistic techniques and materials to address misconceptions that persist in contemporary society, especially with regard to the status of women. The residency at WIELS (Brussels, Belgium) from April to June enabled her to encounter and research the legacy of her ancestors held in European museum collections built during the colonial era by often dubious and unethical means. The installation Timur Merah Project VIII: Pilgrim, How You Journey revolves around the figure of I Dewa Agung Istri Kanya, a queen of the Klungkung kingdom in Bali, who fiercely opposed the Dutch colonisers in the 19th century. Ruled out from most historical accounts, the history of this charismatic woman leader is revived in Citra’s powerful imagery and interspersed with scenes from the Bhima Swarga epic depicting the hero’s journey between Heaven and Hell. Painted on traditional Kamasan canvases, the paintings are mounted on antique pillars arranged in an eight-pointed star configuration that references ancient Balinese cosmologies. The installation also comprises a double-channel video, the artist’s first video work, in which a singer performs the poem Prelambang Bhasa Wewatekan (The Coded Language of Symbols), written by the Queen herself. Underneath the tantric symbolism of the poem secretly lurk the Queen’s memoir, anti-Dutch propaganda messages, and military strategies.
Pursuing intersecting interests in architecture, the politics of space, and place-making practices, during the residency at Villa Arson (Nice, France) from March to May, Vuth Lyno had the opportunity to travel several times to the French capital and research the architectural remnants of the 1931 International Colonial Exposition which took place in the Bois de Vincennes, a forest park in Eastern Paris. He discovered that the former Cameroon Pavilion was turned into a Buddhist temple in the late 1970s. Following its conversion into a place of worship, the building and the surrounding greenery have come to play an important role in the spiritual, cultural, and social life of the Cambodian community in France. A migrant community’s appropriation of a site previously used to display colonial (mis)representations of those very communities led the artist to develop a broader reflection on the role of urban parks as sites of refuge wherein minorities and marginalised groups (sex workers, queer communities, the homeless, etc.) can find emancipation and enact their agency. The resulting installation Vibrating Park-Forest ensues from a comparative study of heterogenous uses and grassroots practices that unfold in specific parks in Paris, Phnom Penh, and Singapore. Vibrating Park-Forest is the artist’s first installation made of paper, a material he began to experiment with during his residency at Villa Arson.
The exhibition is curated by Dr Anna Lovecchio, Assistant Director (Programmes), and NTU CCA Singapore. The project leader of SEA AiR is Ute Meta Bauer Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University.
View the exhibition guide here.