Following on from the inaugural Southeast Asian Arts Forum, the School of Art conceptually challenged: In contemporary times, what happens to an art graduate after they leave school? Where do they go and how do they evolve their practice assimilating what they learnt, and how they may apply it to their ‘career’ and place in their society? The forum illuminated renewed perspectives on the teaching and learning of the arts, addressed and demonstrated through cultural difference, contentious rubrics, infrastructural limitations, (political) policy realities and intense self-reflections.
Modern Southeast Asia inhabits a fractal domain. We toggle between the necessities of professions, the economic loads of trades and industries, and what we deem culture and art. Our regional world is still about the natural landscape and environmental preservation as it relates to communities, as much as it is about tall buildings, networked roads and the internet. Time and again, we have leveraged information, knowledge and paradigms from the West, to enhance our growth engines and professional education. The formal enterprise of learning and evolving in human societies follow a predictable path: the establishment of basic training, thinking processes at university levels, the formation of associations and bodies, recommendations of guidelines, standards and behaviours, and finally it follows, legally binding terms and licensing to affirm and authorise.
Yet, the arts appear to lie on the invisible margins, occupying the persistent state of transition, homing to find a place amongst the living and the thriving.