Singapore Biennale 2016: An Atlas of Mirrors

The Singapore Biennale returns on the 27 October 2016. An Atlas of Mirrors includes 62 artists, art collections and selected artworks divided into nine sub-themes and spread across seven different venues. Despite the divisions, SB2016 still maintains a central focus: the diversity of artistic viewpoints that trace the migratory and intertwining relationship of the region, as well as the shared histories and current realities of East and South Asia.

This exhibition also promotes diversity within communities, featuring artists from 18 countries and territories in Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia. The nine sub-themes Each sub-theme represents concepts, ideas and ways of seeing that maps space and place; myths, cyclical time and the ahistorical; cultural legacies, beliefs and memory; the mirroring relationship between nature and culture; the contestation of borders; agency, representation and voices of resistance; national and cultural identities; migratory experiences and displacement, and finally, re-imagining histories that have been marginalised.

One of the more notable subthemes – ahistory– is depicted by Chinese artist Qui Zhijie and Singaporean artist Lim Soo Ngee.  Zhijie’s One Has to Wander through All the Outer Worlds to Reach the Innermost Shrine at the End is a map series presenting his investigation into cartographic history, whilst Ngee’s Inscription of the Island consists of a sculpture of a large left hand emerging from the ground, with the palm facing skyward and a pointing index finger.

Meanwhile, political and topical issues are discussed: migration, and the sense of displacement in migrant experience are used as a backdrop for works such as Rathin Barman’s Home, and a Home investigates “landscape” as an idea in the space that it occupies in the mindvand in the memory of Bangladeshi migrants in Kolkata, and the idea of ’home’ which takes on new meanings for a displaced people.

An Atlas of Mirrors runs from 27 October – 26 February. Find out more:

1.   Ryan Villamael, Locus Amoenus. Courtesy of the artist.