SENI Singapore 2004 Art and the Contemporary


1 October to 28 November 2004 


For two months, Singapore will be abuzz with the visual arts! SENI Singapore 2004, the premier international visual arts festival of the year, will feature over 90 artists from 14 countries and regions, presenting thought-provoking and eye-catching works set to capture the imagination of visitors and Singaporeans, ranging from the man in the street to the arts aficionado to the contemplative artist. 


SENI is one of two biennials designed to boost Singapore's burgeoning arts scene and to internationalise Singapore as a destination for visual arts events. SENI paves the way for the development of an international Singapore Biennale. The Singapore Art Show in 2005, a national showcase of visual arts by Singaporeans and Singapore-based artists will alternate with the proposed Singapore Biennale. The two biennials serve to provide expanded platforms for visual arts in Singapore every year. 


Jointly organised by the National Arts Council and the National Heritage Board, SENI Singapore 2004 aims to further nurture our visual arts talents, capabilities and audiences nationally, regionally and internationally. It presents ideas and creates active dialogues between Singapore and international artists through a focus on contemporary Southeast Asian and Asian art. 



Based on the theme "Art and the Contemporary", the festival comprises five art projects spread over multiple art venues and public spaces.


  1. Home Fronts -- The main exhibition, Home Fronts, features 10 art collectives from India, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States. Held at the Singapore Art Museum, the exhibition explores the concepts of displacement, dispossession, migration and diaspora brought on by the social tension caused by urbanisation and capitalism. 
  2. Insomnia48 -- For the young and restless, head on to The Arts House at the Old Parliament Lane forInsomnia48! Curated by Cultural Medallion recipient Ong Keng Sen and produced by local theatre company TheatreWorks, Insomnia48 is a continuous 48-hour action-packed event involving installations, performances, clubbing, music, videos and workshops. Visitors may watch tattoo artists at work, make their own free music videos, be part of the gaming community in Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's old office or meditate away with Thai classical painting. 
  3. MAAP in Singapore -- With the growing interest in new media art, the NAC and NHB are pleased to partner MAAP (Multimedia Art Asia Pacific), an international platform for New Media based in Brisbane, Australia. MAAP in Singapore is a series of eight exhibitions delving into the physical nature and conceptual 'weight' of our digital being through a spectrum of works by artists engaging with digital media. 
  4. Moving Pictures -- Another exhibition with a new media art slant is moving pictures. The curatorial theme examines the boundaries between art, and the language of cinema and media culture. Held at the Singapore Art Museum, moving pictures features nine video works by eight artists from Singapore, France, Germany, Japan, China, Indonesia and India.
  5. Public Art Projects -- To further engage audiences, three public art projects are set to capture the audio and visual attention of the public as they go about their activities.
    1. US-based Singapore artists Emily H. Chua and Rutherford Chang will black out the front page of the Straits Times from 1 October to 28 November, leaving only images of human parts visible. Titled The Epic, the images will be mounted in chronological order along the walls of the Tanjong Pagar MRT station and will culminate in an epic narrative scroll depicting the past 60 days of human history. 
    2. Don't Aloha My Banana by Ann Healey and Lisa A. Cunico is another installation which is hard to ignore. Some 80 A1 mixed media photography prints and stickers will be pasted on the floor of the Raffles City Shopping Centre. What will people do - walk over or around the stickers? 
    3. Connecting Singaporeans with the international community is People's Portait by Zhang Ga. A networked public art installation, the exhibition invites members of the public to present portraits of themselves in large scale format on video walls and online portals. This will be simultaneously posted onto video walls in Brisbane and New York.



The public will also be able to engage in critical discourse with arts practitioners and academics at symposiums and conferences.

  1. The SENI Symposium, from 20-21 November at the Glass Hall of the Singapore Art Museum, aims to promote cultural discussion in Singapore, as a vehicle for dialogue in relation to cultures of Southeast Asia, Asia and those beyond. Invited speakers include familiar names in the local arts scene like Paul Rae, T. Sasitharan and Wong Hoy Cheong, NUS lecturer Rajiv Patke and curator Marion Pastor Roces. 
  2. Organised by the Nanyang Technological University, New Media ArtTechnology & Education is a conference targeting educators, academics, theorists, artists and practitioners in the area of New Media Art and Education, including Multimedia, Art and Technology. New Media educators, researchers and practitioners will present current trends and engage in open discussions. 
  3. (3) Under the MAAP series of events, there will also be a symposium touching on Gravity. Artists and curators will discuss their perspectives on the theme of gravity and speakers include Fatima Lasay, Gridthiya Gaweewong, Kim Machan, Lee Weng Choy, Lawrence English and other visiting artists. Log on to for more information.


Visuals are available upon request. More information is attached in the Annexes


Annex 1 - Exhibition Details 


Annex 2 - SENI Singapore 2004 Steering Committee Members


Annex 3 - Background of the Major Visual Arts Events 


For media enqueries, please contact:


Ms Angela Lau
Corporate Communications Manager, National Arts Council
DID : 6837 9575
Mobile : 9369 6174
E-mail :
Mr Ho Hwei An
Assistant Director, Corporate Communications, National Arts Council
DID : 6837 9571
Mobile : 9616 7918
E-mail :
Suenne Megan Tan
Manager (Communications), Singapore Art Museum
DID : 6332 3215
Email :