President’s Young Talents 2018


SAM - president's young talents 2018

I’m no art critic, nor am I an artist. Many people like me veer away from art – too worldly and abstract, we think to ourselves – but that’s not the case at all with President’s Young Talents 2018. Till 27 Jan 2019, you can add 100 points for art cred when you step into Singapore Art Museum to appreciate the work of 5 local artists.

From intricate works to larger-than-life installations, here’s everything you can see at SAM:


1. The scars that write us – Yanyun Chen


SAM - President's Young Talents 2018 - The scars that write us

Housed in a dark corridor, Yanyun Chen’s The scars that write us is a hauntingly beautiful installation – displaying the life experiences of those with keloid scars. It’s all relayed through paintings, narrative snippets, and even scar imprints.

SAM - president's young talents 2018

In all honesty? You can spend hours here pondering over the meaning of scars.


2. sft crsh ctrl – Weixin Quek Chong


SAM - president's young talents 2018

The art pieces at Weixin Quek Chong’s sft crsh ctrl look like they glow psychedelic, but really, it’s the lights that bathe the room in bright pink and orange hues. There are curtains of latex draped all around and video screens featuring ASMR cues. And yes, we’re certainly drawn to the satisfying pop of bubble wrap.

SAM - president's young talents 2018

Like most art, Quek Chong’s work is left open to interpretation, but one thing’s for sure: there’s a whole lotta different textures mingling in this one space – think rubbery latex and furry throws, all with a mishmash of sounds.


3. Soil Works – Debbie Ding


SAM - president's young talents 2018

Soil is something that we normally overlook and often dismiss as dirt, but Debbie Ding’s Soil Works lets us see what we step over daily in a whole new light. And a whole new light indeed, with the entire space glowing a warm orange.

SAM - president's young talents 2018

From soil columns to wall murals, who knew there was so much when it came to our own Singaporean soil? But Ding, having excavated public spaces like under expressways and carparks, shows how the tint and texture changes depending on area.

SAM - president's young talents 2018

There’s even a part that features soil in motion – it’s magnified so you can see every grain in detail.


4. An Exposition – Hilmi Johandi


SAM - president's young talents 2018

Not many of us are old enough to remember Singapore’s amusement parks – New World, Great World, Gay World (formerly Happy World), and other nostalgic pastimes of the like. But, that said, it’s still an era worth delving into. Hilmi Johandi’s An Exposition is an installation that features wooden sculptures, silent animated videos, and paintings.

SAM - president's young talents 2018

Everything in this installation is themed after Singapore’s amusement parks. There’s also an elevated deck where you can view the entire “fairground” from a distance.


5. Pragmatic Prayers for the Kala at the Threshold – Zarina Muhammad


SAM - president's young talents 2018

Over at Zarina Muhammad’s Pragmatic Prayers for the Kala at the Threshold, there’s a vast display of intricately handcrafted effigies. Muhammad terms them as “penunggu”, otherwise known as guardian at the gate.

SAM - president's young talents 2018

These effigies are modelled after plenty of different things, with some bearing fantastical resemblance to various animals or even humans.

Depending on where you stand, you’ll be absorbed in different parts of the installation – from watching video snippets to admiring the shelves of effigies.


Singapore Art Museum – President’s Young Talents 2018


It’s the 7th edition of SAM’s President’s Young Talents exhibition – the best time for us folks to appreciate our local art a little more. Each of the 5 artists had a supportive mentor to guide them, and it’s definitely worth pondering over the thoughtful artwork of these Singaporean artists.

From now to 27 Jan 2019, head down to Singapore Art Museum to appreciate the variety of art by young Singaporean artists, aged 35 years and under.

Artists: Yanyun Chen, Weixin Quek Chong, Debbie Ding, Hilmi Johandi, and Zarina Muhammad
Curator-mentor panel: David Chan, Roger Nelson, Grace Tan, Jason Wee, and Zaki Razak

Where: SAM at 8Q, 8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535
When: 4 Oct 2018 to 27 Jan 2019, 10AM-7PM (Mon-Sun), 10AM-9PM (Fri)
Admission: Free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (Standard Admission: $6/Adult, $3/Students or Senior Citizens)

Find out more about President’s Young Talents 2018 here!

This post was brought to you by Singapore Art Museum.
Photography by John Lim.

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