Snippets: Art Stage Singapore, Jan 2016

Half an hour in, and having browsed through a quarter of gallery booths, I was already visually tired. Regardless, galleries that presented a single artist offered more visual reward. My favourite art from last year is seen at Taipei’s Chini Gallery, while Made Wiguna Valasara’s stuffed canvas creations left a strong impression at Equator Art Projects’. Cairo’s Gallery Ward presented fascinating photographs, including digital snapshots of devotees stuck in a trance while performing the zikr, a Sufi dance. Santi Wangchuan’s majestic works at Yeo Workshop were a definite highlight – his collage of thread, rope, fishing equipment, and antique tools, weaving a unique aesthetic which aptly describes the artist’s personal background.

Santi Wangchuan - The Gift From My Grandmother No.3 (2011)

Malaysian galleries typically feature a mixed hang, with Liew Kwai Fei’s composition on Richard Koh’s large wall being particularly memorable. Coded as naiveté in contemporary art terms, this painting approach is well suited to describe the undesirable consequences of living in a politically corrupt environment. Chong Kim Chiew’s head-scratching ‘Badminton Court’ was part of the Southeast Asian Forum, which exhibits chiefly constitute visual collages from the developing world, or are interventionist in approach. These seemingly preferred modes by established Southeast Asian artists, speak volumes about our collective concerns. We are not Asia, we are at SEA. Onto the National Gallery then…

Installation snapshot of Liew Kwai Fei's presentation at Richard Koh Fine Art