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Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) is proud to present the third edition of White Space, a platform spotlighting researchers and practicising artists in Southeast Asia to encourage creative collaboration and the discussion of new ideas. Themed A Legend, the Lady and the Voyager, this iteration features three young emerging artists who recently graduated from NAFA and Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design and Media (NTU ADM). Over 40 works by Antonius, Fitri Ya’akob, and Vimal Kumar who was voted Time Out Singapore’s Favourite Minority Artists in Singapore for 2020, will showcase their inspirations and creative endeavours. Embracing the spirit of adventure and curiosity in the contemporary, these works explore subjects influenced by culture, spirituality, human relationships and our social environment.
The inaugural White Space was held in 2019 with three young Southeast Asian artists who were pursuing their Master of Arts in Cultural Management in Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. In the following year, the 2020 installment featured Malaysian-born filmmaker, photographer and visual artist Sherman Ong. This year, a selection of mixed media installations, video and photography works are accompanied by an archive of research notations. These materials highlight how concepts can critically influence the method of making, allowing visitors to delve into the imaginations behind Antonius, Fitri Ya’akob and Vimal Kumar’s artmaking processes.
Some highlights of the exhibition include Singapore River Yantra, an installation by Vimal Kumar referencing the present-day geographical shape of the Singapore River in his visualisation of the River as a fictional feminine deity; Akar, a video work by Fitri Ya’akob on one’s eager search for a sense of familiarity, yearning for the comfort of home; and Between Hope and Dreams, a photography series by Antonius reflecting on the notion and meaning of contentment in Manila.
Dr Bridget Tracy Tan, Director of ISEAA and Art Galleries said, “The most compelling artworks often remain a product of the mind until they are given the opportunity to be made and manifest in space. This roaming project of ‘white’ ‘spaces’ was founded on that principle; offering emerging and talented artmakers a context in which they bring forth something new and elemental. The works of white spaces will always have a directness and conviction which everyone, especially our students, can identify with. At multiple levels, encountering them and the artists behind them will help us make sense of the world and understand ourselves just that little bit better, especially in these challenging times.”
White Space will also be used as a study reference for NAFA students to reflect on the academy’s broad-based values of curiosity, creativity, spirit of adventure, resilience, cosmopolitanism and embracing the contemporary in making Southeast Asian Art. This effort looks to inspire NAFA’s aspiring artists and continues to underscore the academy as a progressive and leading arts institution in Asia.
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