Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 25 Winter 2010 Contents 72 INSITE WINTER
SINGAPORE ON SCREEN
Enjoy a trip to the movies as artist Ming
Wong celebrates the Golden Age of
Singaporean cinema in Life of Imitation, an
exhibition of films, posters and billboards,
at the Singapore Art Museum.
Cinema played a pivotal role in the
emergence of national identity throughout
the Indian Ocean region. In the years before
and after the Second World War, national
groups developed self-confidence, seeing
themselves reflected in the images on a
screen that otherwise showed the glamour of
Hollywood and events from around the world.
With a multi-cultural community of
mainly Chinese, Malay and Indian groups,
the new films (by directors such as P Ramlee,
whom many consider the father of Malay
cinema, and Douglas Sirk, whose Imitation
of Life (1959) was a huge hit locally), brought
together the main groups in an era of
nation-building and modernisation. is
Golden Age of Singaporean cinema during
the country's pre-independence period is
the theme of Ming Wong's Life of Imitation.
e exhibition was originally commissioned
by the National Arts Council of Singapore for
the Singapore Pavilion, at the 53rd Venice
Biennale International Art Exhibition in
2009, and it earned the artist a Special
Mention from the international jury. It
explores the shifting nature of identity
and belonging across cultures through
performance and cinema, revisiting three
influential films of the period. rough
interpretation involving role-play and
mimicry, Ming Wong recreates films that
are familiar to two generations.
His video films are supported by cinema
posters created by Singapore's last surviving
billboard painter, Neo Chon Teck, along with
rare memorabilia and documentaries made
by Sherman Ong to illustrate this period
in Singaporean history, and reinforce its
relevance for a 21st century audience.
Life of Imitation will tour to the US and
Australia after Singapore, arriving in Tasmania
at CAST Gallery during the Ten Days on the
Island Festival in March 2011. Until August 22,
Singapore Art Museum. Visit singart.com.
CARVING A NICHE
Research expertise from the University of
Queensland Art Museum has helped bring
us Before Time Today: Reinventing Tradition
in Aurukun Aboriginal Art.
e University of Queensland Art Museum's
current project charts the links between
contemporary Aurukun sculpture and
historical sculptures held by e University
of Queensland Anthropology Museum.
e exhibition and publication Before
Time Today: Reinventing Tradition in Aurukun
Aboriginal Art, brings together a broad scope
of research across art history, anthropology,
history and Indigenous studies. It examines
the life and culture behind one of the world's
most outstanding carving traditions and
how it retains its vitality through the work
of contemporary artists such as Leigh
Namponan and Horace Wikmunea.
Leigh's Pengiky (freshwater shark) is
a dynamic interpretation of a predator
in attack mode, carved with finesse and
painted with ochres to highlight its sleek
lines. Another stand-out work of the
exhibition is Arthur Koo'Ekka Pambegan
Jr's Flying Fox, an abstracted group of bats
that have a mesmerising effect.
e project consolidates scholarly and
community knowledge about the Wik and
Kugu people from Aurukun in Far North
Queensland and builds on the Queensland
Art Gallery's Story Place: Indigenous Art of
Cape York and the Rainforest, a survey of
contemporary Indigenous art on Cape York.
September 10 to November 28,
University of Queensland Art Museum.
ABOVE Life of Imitation by Ming
Wong and Neo Chon Teck.
RIGHT Malay Stories by Ming
Wong and Neo Chon Teck.
TOP Pengiky by Leigh Namponan. BELOW Flying
Fox by Arthur Koo'Ekka Pambegan Jr.
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