day 713 | january 12, 2014 | Biennale 2013

Biennale 2013. From around late October to early February, Singapore Art Museum, National Museum and Peranakan Museum jointly host the the Biennale, gathering carefully curated art from around South East Asia. The theme this year was “If the world changed…”

It's not muted for kids -- and that's good by me. I wanted to expose my little ones (and the not-so-little ones) to many ideas of cultural change, political manipulation, the human cost of development, and art's subjective interpretation. An awereness of what's happening in the global community beyond the mundane everyday.

Stories and images leave lasting impressions, and I hope the kids took at least a couple of deep lingering thoughts from this experience. Not everything is happy and light, and empathy is a muscle we exercise as we consciously step into other people's stories. Sometimes, the artist wishes to convey a certain message, which is not what the viewer may necessarily pick up. Was pleased with the notable participation of Filipino artists.

Kiri Dalena on the Ampatuan Massacre in Mindanao

Sharing some images and ideas that we took away from the exhibits. Far from comprehensive, but best I could manage guiding 4 kids single-handedly. Watch out for the next Biennale!

The cost of thoughtless and heartless Urban development. When things are deemed structurally obsolete to meet modern standards/requirements driveb by population growth, the need for housing, supermarkets, and high-rises, we sacrifice natural spaces for convenience. 
Art from the Talaandig tribe from the Philippines, done by more than 10 artists. Using clay and soil to paint life and development in muted colors.
Complex cultural interactions and the rippling response. Accept change or resist it.
The masks we learn to put on especially as we hit the volatility and expectations of puberty. Rebellion, non-conformity.
The past as a component of an ongoing narrative. History is not just history. It's the stories that ring in our subliminal that influence conscious thought...
Homosexuality and Sex Change. What is your gender? What is your sex? A glimpse into the life of transgender women.
A quick break at Dome Cafe
Post-its on visitor responses to "If the world changed..."
"Between Worlds" shows wayang characters trapped in beakers, like specimens to be studied or displayed. It's a beautiful but also sad representation of how our unique local traditions and values have been shelved, and we look at them now as part of a strange past, rather than an indelible part of our stories and beliefs.
Tiny wooden statues, in the "Cosmology of Life." Not quite sure how we should interpret it, but what we took away from it is that it takes time and careful attention to gain intimate knowledge of people. Focused on one statue at a time to discover what each one was about, and the many tiny details etched on its frame...
"Brown Diamonds." Sugar Plantations, peasant farming, colonial hierarchies which have served the affluent segments of society. Haciendas, and the class divide. Dispossessed peasants who have intimate knowledge of that marginal line separating starvation from survival.
Payatas, living in the midst of a giant garbage dump -- and finding hope in the little things. A prayer. An old worn toy.
Anahata. Mysteriously bold red Saga seeds... like tiny little hearts quietly waiting to be played with.
A tricy-cab from the Philippines! Cagayan de Oro's La Motorela. Siete pesos.
A black reflective pool of ink. We accept the truth in ink, but there are many things obscured from a singular interpretation of truth. More often than not, ink can conceal more than it reveals.
And just freely playing around the National Museum grounds. So so fortunate to have spaces like these for the kids to learn, to play, to grow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I was blown away by your seamless and insightful curating! Love the lucid shots you took. : )

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