The National Arts Council (NAC) announced the re-appointment of the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) as organiser of the next two editions of the Singapore Biennale, the country’s premier international contemporary visual arts event. Established in 2006, the Biennale presents and reflects the strength of artistic practices in Singapore, the region and internationally. Through collaborations and engagement with artists, arts organisations and businesses, the Biennale enhances Singapore’s reputation as a creative centre that embraces the visual arts.
As a contemporary art museum focusing on art-making and art thinking in Singapore, Southeast Asia and Asia, SAM was the organiser of the Singapore Biennale in 2011, 2013 and 2016. The re-appointment for both Singapore Biennale 2019 and Singapore Biennale 2022 enables SAM to leverage and build upon their expansive artistic and curatorial networks and collaborative relationships, creating more opportunities to work with curators, artists and the art community over an extended period of time.
“As a key cultural institution and leader in contemporary arts, the Singapore Art Museum has successfully presented three editions of the Singapore Biennale. It is well placed to present the next two editions of the Biennale on behalf of the National Arts Council,” says Chief Executive Officer for the National Arts Council Mrs. Rosa Daniel, who co-chairs the Singapore Biennale 2019 Steering Committee with Ms. Jane Ittogi, former Chair of the Singapore Art Museum. “Over the years, the Biennale has not only been instrumental in establishing Singapore as a go-to destination for Southeast Asian contemporary art, but has also proven to be an important developmental platform for art practitioners from Singapore and the region to showcase their works to an international audience. We look forward to the Biennale building upon the meaningful connections established with the many international artists and art institutions, and hope to inspire new and exciting opportunities for the regional contemporary art community and audiences.”
Mr Edmund Cheng, Chairman of the Singapore Art Museum, says, “We appreciate the confidence of the National Arts Council in re-appointing the Singapore Art Museum to organise Singapore Biennale 2019 and 2022. As a museum dedicated to the study and presentation of Southeast Asian contemporary art, we look forward to continuing to present the cultural diversity and unique perspectives from this part of the world, and facilitating regional and international dialogue on contemporary art.”
The Singapore Biennale Steering Committee, comprising representatives from the arts community, has appointed Patrick D. Flores the Artistic Director for the 2019 edition of the Singapore Biennale. An established curator, art historian and educator, he is currently a Professor of Art Studies at the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines and curator at the Vargas Museum in Manila. He says, “It is a great opportunity to work with the Singapore Art Museum and direct the Singapore Biennale at a time when the art world of Southeast Asia is strongly placed to fulfill the worldly potential of a lively region. I look forward to making the biennale platform more open to engaged forms of interaction with audiences through the public discourse of art. Perhaps the best way to do this is to turn the Biennale into an intersection between a festival and a seminar, a moment to think through what is happening around us and a time to take in the creative energy of the region.”
Aside from a rich and diverse display of regional contemporary works across mediums and venues, the Biennale also offers a range of educational programmes and outreach activities, allowing audiences the opportunity to appreciate and be inspired by contemporary art. The Biennale is anticipated by Singaporeans and visitors as a highlight of Singapore’s cultural calendar, for its thought-provoking art and meaningful exchange of ideas. The latest edition in 2016 welcomed over 600,000 visitors, signalling a heightened interest among both local and international audiences in understanding the Southeast Asian region through art.