Filipino Pieces Among Highlights in Singapore Art Week

Pow Martinez showcases some of his works at Singapore Art Week 2021.

Long recognized as the pinnacle of Singapore’s Visual Arts scene, the Singapore Art Week returns in the new year, this time transporting art from gallery walls and physical spaces into the digital and virtual domain.  Happening from January 22 to 30, 2021, SAW 2021 is a joint initiative by the National Arts Council (NAC), Singapore Tourism Board (STB), and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

Now on its 9th year, Singapore’s signature visual arts season celebrates the coming together of the island nation’s vibrant artist community during unprecedented times—simultaneously navigating new modes of artmaking and presentation while looking forward to new possibilities for the future. 

Online visitors to Singapore Art Week 2021 can enjoy the 360-degree view function to explore the virtual exhibitions and live-streamed events. Viewers can also appreciate the largest number of commissioned works to date, with over 40 outstanding Singapore-based projects reflecting the diverse capabilities of Singaporean artists and curators.

Photo by Singapore Tourism Board.

With the goal of “going beyond the confines of the physical into the digital space,” SAW 2021 will present over 100 arts events across both physical and digital spaces, featuring new works, transnational collaborations, and virtual art experiences that allow audiences from around the world to discover and experience Southeast Asian art. Offering a diverse range of works from Singapore’s arts and cultural institutions, private galleries, nonprofit arts organizations, as well as independent artists and curators, audiences can enjoy SAW 2021 through physical presentations complemented by digital programs accessible from the comfort of their homes.

“As a hybrid event, SAW 2021 continues to reflect the ever-evolving vibrant art scene in Singapore, featuring a range of quality visual arts projects, discussions, and exhibitions for the local and international audience to enjoy,” said Ruby Liu, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Area Director for the Philippines. “We invite Filipinos to reimagine their appreciation and love for art through engaging in our must-see events, as art crosses over to the digital space.”

Filipino Pieces at Singapore Art Week 2021

Art enthusiasts can check out the work of Filipino interdisciplinary artist Pow Martinez in S.E.A. Focus 2021—a showcase of some of the finest contemporary art from across Southeast Asia. Philippine-based Galleries in S.E.A. Focus include Silverlens, Artinformal, and The Drawing Room

'Social Death' (2020) by Pow Martinez 

Photo by Pow Martinez.
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Martinez's ‘Social Death’ adopts "a contemporary tone through its inclusion of allusions from popular culture, such as a slice of pizza and digital gadgets," according to S.E.A. Focus. 

Photo by Pow Martinez.

"Martinez’s playful and irreverent tendencies are vividly highlighted in his new collection of paintings. In one series he presents, Trouble in Paradise, a set of portraits, completed in childlike fashion, of misshapen but charming figures set against a suspicious landscape," says S.E.A. Focus. 

"Occupying both the foreground and midground of these canvases, the subjects’ exaggerated features, their direct perspective, confront the viewer and generate a psychological tension between the two."

Self-Help Guru

Photo by Pow Martinez.

"In ‘self-help guru’ (2020), the nude subject humorously twists her body in pursuit of a suitable selfie," states S.E.A. Focus. "The modern familiarity of this scene can be viewed as a commentary on today’s social media. The subjects of these works, engrossed in totally contemporary endeavors, are subtly juxtaposed by classical elements:  in one, a candlestick, in the other, a framed painting of a provincial scene, provoking the viewer to reflect on the world’s present state, contrasting where we were and where we’ve come."

Augmented Reality at Singapore Art Week

Anyone with a smartphone can try the Instagram Augmented Reality (AR) filter enabled Wild Critters, where five artists and collectives—Tell Your Children, Machineast, SuperCyberTown, ClogTwo, and UFHO—have created a fictional endangered critter that lives across five different habitats in the Gillman Barracks. 

Filipinos can also immerse themselves in Inner Like The OutAR, an art installation featuring psychotropic digital environments through augmented reality—bringing viewers closer to the magic of nature.

Even during these unusual times, SAW continues to be a spotlight, gathering, and launchpad for the arts community in Singapore, in line with the larger #SGCultureAnywhere campaign, sounding a call towards the creation of new networks, shared knowledge, and connectivity both locally and regionally.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
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