Art Asia Pacific: Artist and Empire- (En)countering Colonial Legacies

Lee Wen - Raffles Landing Site, 2000 (Video)
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LEE WENUntitled (Raffles), 2000, video and interactive site-specific installation. Video by Russell Miledge and Kai Lam. Photo by Ken Cheong. Collection of National Gallery Singapore.

A web exclusive review written for Art Asia Pacific Issue 102 Mar/April 2017 

First presented in 2015 at Tate Britain under the title “Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past” the show’s October 2016 debut at the National Gallery Singapore (NGS), entitled  “Artist and Empire: (En)countering Colonial Legacies” is curated by the local team comprised of Low Sze Wee, Melinda Susanto and Toffa Abdul Wahed, marking the NGS’s second international collaboration (the first was with Paris’s Centre Pompidou).

Tate’s version of “Artist and Empire” received criticism for its shortsighted selection of works from only British collections, with limited contemporary viewpoints from those who lived under colonial rule, in particular from Southeast Asia. The tour of the exhibition to Singapore was thus a curatorial challenge, and particularly provocative, given the NGS’s potency as site of historical, national and cultural significance.

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