The News: Issue 51

Published on 13 September 2016

TEXT BY Pamela Ho

Venice Bound

The NAC appoints Singapore team for 2017 Venice Biennale.

Multidisciplinary artist Zai Kuning and curator/art historian June Yap have been appointed by the National Arts Council (NAC) to represent Singapore at the 57th Venice Biennale, to be held from 13 May to 26 November 2017. Their proposal, Dapunta Hyang, is the result of over 20 years of Zai’s research on Malay history and culture in Southeast Asia; and is part of a broader inquiry on identity that includes his having spent over a decade with the orang laut (sea gypsies), and creating work on them. The Venice-bound exhibition is expected to extend a recent series that takes as its vantage point, the first Maharaja of the early kingdom of Srivijaya, considered the first large state of ‘world economic stature’ of its time in Southeast Asia.


For details of the public programmes in September, visit or


Esplanade’s flexible new space offers fresh experience for visitors.

Esplanade — Theatres on the Bay launched its latest venue, Annexe Studio, on 1 September with opening performances by Mosaic associate artists Chok Kerong and In Each Hand a Cutlass. This launch marks the completion of the Esplanade’s physical renewal exercise (embarked in July 2014) to create new spaces, facilities, and arts experiences for visitors and patrons. A flexible two-storey space, the Annexe Studio will not only present artists performing, but also artists at work — creating, rehearsing and jamming — and give audiences the opportunity to catch performances in a more casual and intimate setting, and perhaps, even be part of the artistic process.


For more information, visit


Cross-border collaboration focuses on productions involving art therapy and healing.

CausewayEXchange (CEX), the only annual platform for artistic and cultural activities between Singapore and Malaysia, returned for its sixth year from 1 to 13 September. Since 2010, CEX has presented close to 250 artists across various arts genres and attracted an audience of some 30,000 in both countries. This year’s edition — which expanded audiences’ experience of arts and culture through presentations that explored art therapy and healing — saw a concert held at Alexandra Hospital, and an experiential arts exhibition set in pitch darkness and led by visually impaired guides.


“The arts can be a tool that helps us empathise with the strata of society who do not enjoy the same advantages as most of us,” says Shawn Lourdusamy, founder and co-organiser of CEX 2016. “More importantly, this expanded mission allowed artists from both sides of the Causeway to engage with communities they otherwise might not have had a chance to.”


For more information, visit

Special Delivery

Performing company opens up arts vocation for persons with special needs.

Persons with special needs who have a dream of being stage performers — be it in acting, singing or dancing — now have an avenue to pursue the arts as a vocation. Very Special Theatrics is an inclusive, semi-professional performing company which puts people with special needs at the core, providing them with amateur, semi-professional, and professional opportunities in the arts, and within an inclusive work environment. Helmed by ACT 3 Theatrics, Very Special Arts (VSA) Singapore and the National Arts Council, it is a unique integration of theatre professionals and special needs personnel. For those interested, there will be introductory workshops held at VSA Art Space at Changi City Point on 18 and 25 September, at 10am and 1pm.


For more information, email [email protected] or [email protected], or call 6604-9431.

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