Singaporeans making their mark at the 2017 Venice Biennale
Text by Genevieve Loh
Sarah Choo Jing, a 27-year-old multidisciplinary artist and art teacher at Nanyang Girls’ High School, is staging an immersive video installation called Art of the Rehearsal at the “Personal Structures” showcase, which is hosted by the European Cultural Centre and organised by the GAA Foundation, a Dutch non-profit organisation.
Choo told Channel NewsAsia it was always a dream of hers to show at the Venice Biennale. She attended the Biennale two years ago as a young wide-eyed artist armed with 50 catalogues to give out. She said it was then that she gave herself a five-year plan to eventually exhibit here.
Choo managed it in two.
Her work, which depicts various traditional dancers performing in the back alleys of various cultural districts of Singapore, was first launched earlier this year at the National Museum of Singapore.
“Showcasing your work both within and outside of Singapore is important. Yes, locally you create different kind of dialogues, but when you show it outside of Singapore, you invite a different kind of conversation,” she said. “You are interacting with different artists, reaching out to different curators, writers, connectors … and that’s very important. If you’re constantly staying inside (the hub), I don’t think it’s very healthy. Looking out is good.”
Speaking at the official opening of the Singapore Pavilion, Singapore's Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu acknowledged the strides all Singaporean artists have been making globally.
“We are proud to see our artists representing Singapore on the international stage and doing very well for themselves,” said Ms Fu about the other Singaporean artists showing at the Biennale. “The inroads that our artists have made internationally reflect the growth of Singapore’s contemporary art scene … Singapore has made much progress towards arts excellence. As a young, vibrant nation with a rich multi-cultural heritage, I am confident that our artists will continue to practise and innovate, to take our arts scene to new heights.”
Artist, Sarah Choo Jing, standing in front of her immersive video installation Art of the Rehearsal at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Image courtesy: Genevieve Loh
Installation view at group exhibition Personal Structures in Palazzo Bembo, near Rialto Bridge (13 May - 26 Nov 2017, in the context of the 57th Venice Biennale). Image courtesy A.I. Gallery