Visual art of Singapore

Singaporean art
Chua Mia Tee, National Language Class, 1959, Oil on canvas, 112 x 153 cm, Installation view at the National Gallery Singapore

The visual art of Singapore, or Singaporean art, refers to all forms of visual art in or associated with Singapore from its history to present. The history of Singaporean art includes the indigenous artistic traditions of the Malay Archipelago and the diverse visual practices of itinerant artists and migrants from China, the Indian subcontinent, and Europe.[1] Singaporean art includes the sculptural, textile, and decorative art traditions of the Malay world; portraiture, landscapes, sculpture, printmaking, and natural history drawings from the country's colonial period; along with Nanyang style paintings, social realist art, abstract art, and photography practices emerging in the post-war period.[1] Today, it includes the contemporary art practices of post-independence Singapore, such as performance art, conceptual art, installation art, video art, sound art, and new media art.[2]

The emergence of modern Singaporean art, or more specifically, "the emergence of self-aware artistic expression"[1] is often tied to the rise of art associations, art schools, and exhibitions in the 20th century, though this has since been expanded to include earlier forms of visual representation, such as from Singapore's colonial period.[3]

Presently, the contemporary art of Singapore also circulates internationally through art biennales and other major international exhibitions. Contemporary art in Singapore tends to examine themes of "hyper-modernity and the built environment; alienation and changing social mores; post-colonial identities and multiculturalism."[4] Across these tendencies, "the exploration of performance and the performative body" is a common running thread.[4] Singapore carries a notable history of performance art, with the government historically having enacted a no-funding rule for that specific art form from 1994 to 2003, following a controversial performance artwork at the 5th Passage art space.[5][6]

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  4. ^ a b Teh, David (2017). "Insular Visions: notes on video art in Singapore". The Japan Foundation Asia Center Art Studies. 3 – via Academia.org.
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