Art in Singapore: Context from Current Generation Artists

Artists featured

  • Wong Lip Chin
  • Ruben Pang
  • Donna Ong
  • Gilbert & George (UK)

Key take-away points

In Singapore, there isn’t a sense of individualism, as from young, we are taught to stay within the line and not to stand out or be different, unlike the culture in the west. But a contemporary artist is an individualist, thus being an artist in Singapore, there is tension.

We are all taught to fit into the system, get a white collared job, be a banker. High rise buildings everywhere. It’s from these situation that our art is affected.

To paraphrase Ruben Pang, the attitude of the artist, if we grew up with the pre-conceived notion that we are being watched (controlled environment /system), there is without a doubt, a degree of self censorship that we do on a subconscious level. We don’t know how deeply it is in our vines already but I guess we are plugged into the system.

Donna Ong ended by saying “Art comes from a certain lack and in a place like Singapore, in a place so controlled, art is as a uncontrollable factor, it is all the more pertinent”.

I guess the “I” is affected not only by one’s own consciousness but the surroundings and cultural upbringing plays a huge role in shaping one’s thinking.