Opening performance: NAFA wind ensemble with Joost Flach - 'How the Crocodile got his Teeth'
For the opening ceremony of the inaugural Southeast Asian Arts Forum at NAFA, Joost Flach conducted the NAFA wind ensemble in performing 'How the Crocodile got his Teeth', a piece written by Malaysian composer Yii Kah Hoe.
Hanafi: Art as universal currency or cross-cultural language
In his presentation for the Forum, Hanafi argues that the distribution of cultural discourse and its development craftsmanship is no longer hindered by the wall separating academic and non-academic artists. This is because the process of collaboration paves the way in discovering a universal language for interdisciplinary practices, a meeting ground for the diversity of ideas and forms to coexist.
The artist also discusses past collaborations in his artistic practice, including those done with literary as well as theatre artists. For this presentation at the Forum, he collaborated with contemporary dancer, Adly Azizi; in a performative offering where Hanafi as a fine artist reacted to music through brush strokes on his canvas, whereas Adly reacted through an improvised sequence of movement and choreography.
Bhaskar's Arts Academy: On Southeast Asia (ethnic/folk traditions)
Two dancers from Bhaskar's Arts Academy demonstrated the the significance of rhythm patterns in the two commonly practiced Indian classical dances in Singapore, Bharatanatyam and Kathak. Through the demonstration, the audience are able to see the difference between the two genres and experience for themselves the complexity involved in both dances. The presentation also discusses how the dancers, dance form and rhythm patterns were, and can be, manipulated to create variety during the performance.
Sebastian Mary Tay: Into Deep Silence
Sebastian Mary Tay presented the mixed media installation 'Into Deep Silence' on the second day of the Forum. The installation was assembled on site, and a verbal presentation by the artist accompanies its presentation, along with two rounds of fogging, first at the beginning and second at the 8th minute. The viewers walk around the structure amidst the fog filled room and witnessed the time-based evolution of the work within the duration of 15 minutes.
The concepts presented by the artist through this experiential installation are essentially non-movement and non-sound; stillness and silence, and it seeks to explain how in this high-capital and hyper-consumerist framework of late Postmodernity, the two qualities, stillness and silence is incredibly significant. The concluding thesis of this project, thus, advocates the deep importance of being as opposed to having, as a possible remedy to the chaos of our contemporary world.
Suara Indonesia Dance and Sanggar BUANA: Changes and developments in Acehnese sitting dance forms
Two forms of womens' sitting dances are discussed and demonstrated by Sanggar Buana. They perform in a traditional style, Rateb Meusekat, and a new choreography style that has emerged from Acehnese artists residing in Jakarta, given the name Ratoh Jaroe. They also looked at two traditional mens' dances, Likok Pulo and Rapai Geleng, which can now be performed by women, and examined the role of women as keepers of tradition and continuing cultural practices through the arts.
Suara Indonesia's presentation at the Forum addresses how the seated body percussion dances of Aceh have been used as a vehicle with which to promote notions of national identity through Indonesian diversity. It also explores the notion of how Aceh’s seated dances have provided an effective method of fostering a sense of mutual understanding and co-operation within Indonesia and overseas. They concluded that for Acehnese people, sitting dances are a way of interpreting their way of life, geography, history and systems of education and religion.
Moderated panel discussion: The relevance of art school with Sebastian Mary Tay, Sherman Ong, Ivan Lam, Muhammad Norisham bin Osman, Garin Nugroho, and Grace Leong
On the third day of the Forum, a panel discussion with the title 'The Relevance of the Art School' was held. This session was moderated by Indonesian artist Fendry Ekel, who was also the keynote speaker of the Forum. Panellists for this session includes artworld professionals coming from a wide range of multidisciplinary backgrounds: contemporary dancer, choreographer, and educator Mohammad Norisham bin Osman; filmmaker and visual artist Sherman Ong; scholar and educator Grace Leong, filmmaker and screenwriter Garin Nugroho; interdisciplinary artist and educator Sebastian Mary Tay, as well as contemporary visual artist Ivan Lam.
Based on the experience they retained in their respective field and in reference to their creative oeuvre, the panellists discussed questions such as whether a formal arts education is important in the present-day artistic practices and the role an arts school play in connecting artistic individuals with the community where they practice.