Committed to socially engaged practices, multi-disciplinary theatre practitioner Han Xuemei (b. 1987, Singapore) employs art as a tool for bringing communities together and engaging the audience in visceral and personal ways. In her practice, she creates spaces and experiences that incite participants to think outside the box of existing paradigms and articulate forms of hope and resistance. Since 2012, she is Resident Artist at the Singapore-based theatre company Drama Box. Her recent projects include the experiential installation FLOWERS (2019), the community project The Gift (2018), and the participatory experience Missing: The City of Lost Things (2018).
Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, an artist of African descent, was born in London and grew up in Nigeria, returning to London only in his late teens. His work explores issues of colonialism and postcolonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation, as well as race and class. Mixing Western art history and literature, he questions the construct of collective contemporary identity and its meaning within cultural and national definitions. Shonibare has participated in major international art exhibitions, including the 52nd and 57th Venice Biennale and Documenta11. His works are in prominent collections, including the Tate Collection, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome; and VandenBroek Foundation, the Netherlands. In 2004, Shonibare was nominated for the Turner Prize, the most prestigious annual art prize in United Kingdom, and was awarded the decoration of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). Fifteen years later, in January 2019, Shonibare was awarded Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). That same year, he held a solo exhibition at the Norval Foundation in Cape Town, Trade Winds: Yinka Shonibare CBE, which featured works connected by their use of Dutch wax fabric and a major installation that celebrates the contributions of immigrant and non-immigrant Africans, The African Library.
Deepening a long-standing involvement with the migrant experience, prominently manifested in the feature film A Land Imagined (2018), Yeo Siew Hua will use the residency to address the subject with the tools of cartography and music-making. Thinking in terms of borders and boundaries, either physical and symbolic, the artist intends to map out the lived experience of forced mobility and dispossession as well as its underlying power struggles and emotional trails. His research will revolve specifically on migrant songs, a cultural expression often characterized by melancholic melodies and sombre lyrics that speaks of longing, hard work, and perseverance. Conveying the experience of otherness and stirring emotions of communality, migrant songs haunts our times of unprecedented global mass migration and the contemporary debates surrounding exclusionary nationalist politics. Through participatory workshops aimed at lyric writing, music composition, and vocalisation, migrant songs will be created and disseminated in an effort to redraw boundaries of belonging.
Francisco Camacho Herrera (b. 1979, Colombia) currently lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His projects often experiment with communitarian and participatory approaches to generate social change and trigger the collective imagination of the future of society. Such endeavours include fulltopia.com (2015-ongoing), a web platform that articulates a desire to facilitate the exchange of services and ideas within local communities bypassing monetary economy. His works have been presented in several group exhibitions including the 21st Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2018); The Welfare State, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Netherlands (2015); and The Museum of Rhythm, Museum Stucky, Lodz, Poland (2016). Camacho Herrera was a resident at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunst in Amsterdam in 2008-9.
Malaysian artist chi too (b. 1981, Malaysia) 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.
During his residency, Xu Tan will continue to work and expand on his project Keywords Lab: Socio-botany. First initiated in 2012, the work consisted of investigations and interviews with disparate voices and inhabitants around the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province, China on their views on urbanisation in China.
By bringing Keywords Lab: Socio-botany into the context of Singapore, Xu hopes to understand Singapore’s view on the complexities that govern our relationship with the natural and built environments that we live in. Proposed points of entry are through local discussions on the history of plants, criteria in urban construction and development, citizen participation in public tree planting programmes and lastly, conditions of food production.
Xu Tan is an artist. His ongoing project Searching for Keywords analyses video interviews of different communities to identify keywords based on meanings that reveal the values and motivations of contemporary Chinese society. Between June and August 2016, Xu was Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore where he expanded his work on the project Keywords Lab: Socio-botany (first initiated in 2012), conducting interviews with various local practitioners engaged in the practice of urban farming in Singapore.
Investigating Singapore’s role within the growing global phenomenon of “green cities”, Coburn will pursue research into Singapore’s development from “Garden City” to “City in a Garden”. He aims to delve into historical and emerging notions of green urbanism, framing the garden as a pedagogical, philosophical, and literary construct. Focusing on two specific case studies, he will place the multiple functions of Singapore Botanic Gardens in a wider historical prospective and explore the social and economic conditions which underlie the complex eco-tourist structure of Gardens by the Bay.
In 2012, Liu Yu chanced upon a stack of love letters in a flea market in Taipei. Dating back to the 1970s, the letters were addressed by Dong-Zheng Lai, a seafarer working on cargo ships, to his wife-to-be. Interwoven in this correspondence are descriptions of port cities and fishing villages as well as hints to monsoon seasons and the political climate of the time which cast both history and geography on an intimate scale. During the residency, Liu Yu will work on the second film of a series inspired by Dong-Zheng Lai’s movements and memories. Titled Love Letter and A Map of Memory, this experimental documentary will focus on the monsoon route from Taiwan to Singapore, a busy shipping lane that cuts across the Riau islands and was historically frequented by pirates. Framing the sea as a space impervious to geopolitical boundaries and piracy as an instance of political upheaval, the artist will chart historical events and modern-day occurrences of piracy to create a work that speculates on power and personal relationships growing at the intersection of climatic patterns, geographical features, and human agency.
The artist was scheduled to be in-residence from April – June 2020. Due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak and international travel restrictions, the artist was unable to participate in the residency programme physically.
Liu Yu screened Somehow I feel relaxed here (2017) as part of the Residencies Online Screening Programme Stakes of Conscious(ness), conceived by Dr Anna Lovecchio for the three artists whose residency at NTU CCA Singapore has been disrupted by the viral pandemic.
Kent Chan (b. 1984, Singapore) is a Singaporean artist, filmmaker, and curator. Addressing the relationship between moving images and the contemporary city, his work often results in films and in installations that merge text and time-based media. Lately, he has focused his interest on the symbolic and political aspects of the tropical imagination, regarding the equatorial vegetation as a site generative of alternative aesthetics and narratives. Chan has participated in numerous group exhibitions abroad and has received solo exhibitions at SCCA-Ljubljana, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Slovenia (2017); Grey Projects, Singapore (2016); Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2014); The Substation, Singapore (2013). His recent curatorial projects include State of Motion 2017: Through Stranger Eyes and Superposition(s), ICA, Singapore (2016).