A Journey into the Testy World of Colonial Art

loading Zulkifli Yusoff’s Hujan Lembing di Pasir Salak (Raining Spears at Pasir Salak, 2008) based on Swettenham’s Malay Sketches.

Whether welcome or not, colonialism was a profound fact. Its complex reality found expression in art that can be approached with a healthy historical distance today.

A makeshift platform next to the replica statue of Sir Stamford Raffles set up on July 22, 2000, at the man’s purported first landing site allowed those who wanted to interact with Singapore’s founder go eyeball to eyeball instead of having to obsequiously look up his crotch.

The video and photography from this “Artists Investigating Monuments” event by performance artist Lee Wen, presently ailing, now sets the tone if not tenor of Artist and Empire: (En)countering Colonial Legacies.

It is National Gallery Singapore’s (NGS) Grand Exhibition No. 2, in association with London’s Tate Britain, using Tate’s A Journey into the Testy World of Colonial Art Whether welcome or not, colonialism was a profound fact.


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