SEA AiR – Studio Residencies for Southeast Asian Artists in the EU is pleased to announce its inaugural cycle developed by the NTU CCA Singapore and funded by the European Union’s Foreign Policy Instruments
NANYANG Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the European Union Delegation to Singapore announced the partner institutions and artists selected for the inaugural cycle of SEA AiR – Studio Residencies for Southeast Asian Artists in the EU (SEA AiR ) on 11th Jan 2022.
SEA AiR is a new programme that positions Singapore as a hub for artistic exchange between the European Union and the vibrant Southeast Asian region. This happens in a landmark year as the EU and ASEAN commemorate the 45th anniversary of their dialogue relations.
Developed by NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (NTU CCA Singapore), the project is funded by the European Union’s Foreign Policy Instruments. It offers selected artists a long-term engagement comprising a three-month residency in an EU country and the opportunity to create new works, inspired by the residency experience. These works will be presented to the public in Singapore in a group exhibition curated by NTU CCA Singapore.
Dedicated to artists who have not yet had a significant professional experience in Europe, SEA AiR pivots the creative and cultural exchange between Singapore and the European Union on emerging visual art practitioners by providing a significant platform for professional and personal growth through the format of artistic residencies in Europe and a curated group exhibition in Singapore. The residencies will be hosted by established contemporary art institutions that have been engaged as project partners.
For this inaugural cycle of the programme, the three institutional partners are:
WIELS, Brussels (Belgium); HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme (Finland); and Villa Arson, Nice (France). With a strong commitment to artists and a long history of running residency programmes, these institutions provide a nurturing environment wherein artistic practices can develop through curatorial mentorship, peer-to peer dialogues, and engagements with the public.
Selected from a pool of 24 candidates nominated from curators and artists from across Southeast Asia, the three participants in the first cycle of SEA AiR are: HOO Fan Chon (Malaysia); Citra SASMITA (Indonesia); and VUTH Lyno (Cambodia).
They were selected based on the quality of their work and relevance of their proposals by a committee comprising of Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore; Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, NTU; Sylvie Christophe, Head of International Relations, Villa Arson; Juha Huuskonen, Director, Helsinki International Artist Programme; Siddharta Perez, Curator, NUS Museum, Singapore; Deepika Shetty, Press Officer, European Union in Singapore; and Dirk Snauwaert, Director, WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain.
Iwona Piórko, European Union Ambassador to Singapore says: “The SEA AiR programme is a collaborative platform facilitated by the European Union Delegation to Singapore and NTU CCA, bringing together the EU, Singapore and Southeast Asia through the arts. 2022 marks the 45th anniversary of EU-ASEAN dialogue relations and the SEA AiR programme is a fitting start to this milestone year. With Singapore playing a pivotal role as the engine driving the development of the region’s contemporary art, the EU Delegation to Singapore together with NTU CCA Singapore, look forward to the visionary and creative outputs that will be born out of this pioneering project.
“Through our partnership with three prestigious European arts institutions: WIELS in Brussels (Belgium); HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme (Finland); and Villa Arson in Nice (France), and our connections with artists from around Southeast Asia, SEA Air embodies the spirit of dialogue and exchange that are hallmarks of the relationship between our two regions. My congratulations to artists Hoo Fan Chon, Citra Sasmita and Vuth Lyno selected for the inaugural round.”
Professor Joseph Liow, Dean of College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University says: “In line with NTU’s continual effort as a catalyst for global connectivity, we are proud to announce the three Southeast Asian artists who have been selected for Cycle 1 of the SEA AiR programme: Hoo Fan Chon, Citra Sasmita, and Vuth Lyno. These three artists from different cultural backgrounds were chosen by an international panel convened and spearheaded by our NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore in partnership with the European Union Delegation to Singapore.
“We congratulate the artists on this achievement and look forward to seeing their practice develop. The SEA AiR programme is an excellent platform for artists to cultivate global connections and work with prestigious European institutions such as WIELS, HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme, and Villa Arson. These partnerships confirm NTU CCA Singapore’s role as a synergetic centre that brings forth innovative and dynamic collaborations between Southeast Asia and the European Union.”
The three-month residencies will unfold simultaneously between March and June Hoo Fan Chon will work with HIAP, Citra Sasmita with WIELS, and Vuth Lyno with Villa Arson. Singapore will welcome the artists back and host the exhibition presenting their work towards the end of 2022. This exhibition will give the Singaporean public the opportunity to immerse themselves in a cross-regional artistic project and spark discourse among the wider artistic community.
The selection committee was impressed with the overall quality and diversity reflected by the applicant pool and shortlisted artists Thuy Anh DANG (Vietnam), Priyageetha DIA (Singapore), Tada HENGSAPKUL (Thailand), Rita KHIN (Myanmar), Kat MEDINA (Philippines), Nor (Singapore) in recognition of the merit and remarkable promise of their artistic practice.
Forged around shared beliefs in the importance of cultural encounters and exchanges for a more open and inclusive society, SEA AiR enhances the EU-ASEAN dialogue through contemporary art practices. It provides the artists with a meaningful opportunity for growth and international exposure.
Likewise, the partner institutions will benefit from expanding their network through NTU CCA Singapore as a base to the wider Southeast Asia, a region that has been historically under-represented in most artistic residency programmes in Europe. This is especially meaningful as we enter 45 years of dialogue partnership between the EU and ASEAN.
Statements from Selected Artists and Partner Institutions
Hoo Fan Chon: “I’m thrilled to have been selected for SEA AiR. Through this residency, I’d like to exercise my ideas and share my projects with audiences with different cultural backgrounds and material sensibilities to germinate productive questions and trajectories. I plan to visit local cultural institutions and grassroots initiatives. With the help of curators and other practitioners, I would also like to take the opportunity to reflect on and consolidate my past projects into a larger cohesive practice, and to find a balance between object-based artmaking and research-led projects. Finally, a special shout-out to [Malaysian artist] Yee I-Lann for nominating me.”
Citra Sasmita: “I believe that the art world is not limited to the studio where the artist works, but it also includes the social realities that occur outside its walls. These aspects play a foundational role and are important for the development of my creative process. Similarly, for me, art is not rooted in the technical ability to make a work in a specific medium but rather in the sensibility to process ideas and social issues that come from our direct experience of the world. Being selected as one of the artists in SEA AiR – Studio Residency for Southeast Asian Artists in the European Union is a golden opportunity for me to deepen my knowledge, enrich my experience, and develop my artistic practice. A big thank you to NTU CCA Singapore for the trust and opportunity for me to grow in the wider art world.”
Vuth Lyno: “I am honoured and humbled to be part of this inaugural edition of SEA AiR programme. The holistic supporting structure of a residency and an exhibition is vital for artists like me to further my artistic practice and career. I am very grateful for this unique opportunity, which will allow me to develop a new research project, build a new network in Europe, and create a new body of work. I look forward to spending time at Villa Arson in France. I will research the colonial and recent histories of urban planning and architecture between France and Cambodia and how they shape our understanding of political topography, urban physiology, and social structure. I am also planning to connect and exchange with some artist collectives and artist-initiated projects in France.”
Through intercontinental cooperation, WIELS engages in renewed efforts to connect with artists and intellectuals from across the globe and contribute to the geo-cultural diversity that represents the world of contemporary art in metropolitan urban centres. The SEA AIR Programme, developed by NTU- CCA Singapore and supported by the European Union, provides a much-sought opportunity to create peer-to-peer cultural and artistic exchange between Europe and the Southeast Asian Region. As a partner institution, WIELS is proud to count on the participation of Indonesian artist Citra Sasmita in its international residency programme. In words of the WIELS residency jury members: “Citra has never received a formal art education but the work included in her application appears to have benefited from this, in that it feels powerfully self-constituted. The visual and ‘text-ile’ constellations in her work point to her educational background in mathematics and physics. The complexity woven into the fabric of many of her works is something quite rare and it was highly interesting as an initial formal encounter with her work. We are looking forward to meeting Citra and learning more about her perspective”.
During the residency term, Citra will have the opportunity to interact with the local and regional communities of art professionals, to attend public programmes and exhibitions, and to establish connections with individuals and institutions relevant to her research, while contributing to bring European audiences in contact with new cultures, imaginaries, and identities through her valuable artistic approach, knowledge and techniques. Citra will share time and environment in WIELS with 7 other international residents.
HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme
“SEA AiR is a rare and special opportunity for HIAP to engage with the Southeast-Asian region and to collaborate with NTU CCA Singapore as well as the other partner residency organisations in Europe. We look forward to working with Malaysian artist Hoo Fan Chon and believe that his work exploring vernacular visual cultures will resonate significantly with the local context and the art scene in Finland.”
Sylvain Lizon, Villa Arson Director & Vice-President Culture and Society of Université Côte d’Azur remarked: “Villa Arson is proud to be one of the first European institutions to take part in the SEA AiR – Studio Residencies for Southeast Asian artists in the EU programme initiated by NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore with the support of the European Union Delegation to Singapore. We are delighted to host Cambodian visual artist Vuth Lyno for a three-month residency in Nice from March to May 2022, to provide him with artistic, research and curatorial guidance while facilitating meaningful connections with the Villa Arson environment as well as the local and French art scene. The Villa Arson residency will also provide a unique opportunity to delve into a dense and active network of cultural institutions on the French Riviera. Lyno’s commitment to the emerging visual art scene in Cambodia will surely foster stimulating exchanges and conversations with students, professors and the broader public that we are keen to expand beyond his residency.”