Shanghai, China, 9 September 2016 – The Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) longstanding partnership with Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (SPAFFC) was strengthened today through their first exchange project in arts and culture. The contemporary art exchange project - Art of Sustainability - is in line with the SIF’s Arts for Good initiative which seeks to promote awareness of social issues, share best practices and enable action for positive social impact through the arts.
The exchange between Chinese and Singaporean artists culminated in a joint exhibition – Pulse of a City – launched this evening in Shanghai. The project was led by Chinese curator Ms Fu Jun, Deputy Director of the Shanghai Oil Painting & Sculpture Institute Art Museum, in collaboration with The Living! Project from Singapore, which is represented by co-founder Mr Sun Yu-li and curator Mr Allan Lim. Eight other Chinese and Singaporean artists worked closely with the curators on this art exchange project.
The Art of Sustainability art exchange project began in March 2016 with a four-day visit programme in Singapore for the Chinese curator and artists, hosted by their Singaporean counterparts and the SIF. They visited various institutions such as the National Gallery Singapore, Dignity Kitchen, OH! Open House and the Urban Redevelopment Agency, which introduced them to Singapore’s culture, way of life and innovations in development.
The project continued with a reciprocal exchange in Shanghai in June 2016, during which the Singaporean group visited the Shanghai Dayuntang Art Gallery, the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology (Department of Animation and Public Arts), Public Arts Coordination Centre, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Centre and exchanged insights with the local arts community.
Additionally, the project allowed the artists to share insights and expertise with local communities in both countries - to raise awareness and promote action for sustainable urban living. The artists collaborated with students and youth from ITE College Central (Singapore), Shanghai Fei Ye Art Special Education for Children, Shanghai Xing Yu Intellectual Training Center, University of Shanghai, Science and Technology (Department of Animation and Public Arts) and elderly residents from Ang Mo Kio district (Singapore) and Xiaodongmen sub-district (Shanghai), in the creation of the art pieces.
As part of the art installation, visitors will also be invited to write pledges to create a sustainable urban environment through their everyday actions. The pledges will be placed in recycled bottles as part of an art installation. These art pieces will be displayed at the Pulse of a City exhibition in Shanghai from 9 to 25 September and in Singapore in 2017.
“At the Singapore International Foundation, we connect communities and enable international collaborations that result in positive change. Together with our longstanding partner, the Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, we have connected Chinese and Singaporean curators and artists to promote awareness and action towards sustainable urban living, through a very influential platform—the arts,” shared SIF Governor Mr David Chong, at the launch of the Pulse of a City art exhibition in Shanghai.
“We value our long-term relationship with SIF and are heartened by such a meaningful partnership. Art is an effective way to bring out shared emotions between people from different countries, societies and communities. This art exchange project is one of our attempts to explore new ways of promoting understanding between the people of Singapore and China,” added Ms Jing Ying, Vice President of SPAFFC.
“Culture is the driving force behind sustainable urban living as well as the soul of the city. These artworks not only reflect the personal life experience and artistic views of the artists, but also vividly capture various aspects of the cities, enriching our knowledge of them and inspiring further reflection on the sustainability of both cities,” said Ms Fu Jun, Deputy Director of the Shanghai Oil Painting & Sculpture Institute Art Museum and project curator.
“Through the exchange of views and ideas between artists from both cities, we hope to explore the concept of creating art installations that engage and inspire visitors and programme partners to explore the use of community art to build the intangible qualities of our beautiful city,” shared Singaporean Mr Allan Lim, project curator and co-founder of The Living! Project.
The SIF’s friendship with China over the past 23 years has brought about a multitude of engagements through dialogues, business exchange, visit programmes, healthcare projects and now, its first arts and cultural project. In particular, the SIF celebrates its established partnership with SPAFFC, which first began in 2004 through the Young Business Ambassadors, an exchange programme for working professionals from both countries. Singapore and China share a multi-faceted relationship, underpinned by robust economic ties as well as growing cooperation at the people level in education, culture, finance and social management. Collaborations and initiatives between Singaporean and Chinese communities like this are important because they strengthen ties and trust at the people-to-people level.