Panorama @ SAM, Singapore

Sakarin Krue‐On (Thailand)
Cloud Nine, 2004
The Singapore Art Museum has been hard at work building a collection of Southeast Asian contemporary art in the last few years. Its efforts are now for all to see with Panorama: Recent Art from Southeast Asia, an exhibition of only some of the 300 works or so that the museum has acquired (some works were donated by artists) over the last 3 years. There is the very good and the not so good (and the downright awfull... so I will only concentrate on what I liked!)

The Cloud Nine installation by Thai artist Sakarin Krue-on is not only visually stunning, but is also a strong social commentary on the situation of the under-priviledged in Thailand. Mongrels are everywhere in the streets of Thailand. Transformed as angel here, they first appear to be feasting at a banquet, but a more carefull look makes it clear they are only scrapping on the left-overs. The artists succesfully use the mongrels as a metaphor for the widening gap between the have and have-not in the country. These underprivileged beings can only be dreaming they will be invited to the banquet, inside a posh home.

Entang Wiharso (Indonesia)
Temple Of Hope: Forest Of Eyes
Another work that succesfully marries strong social comentary and appealing visual is Temple of Hope by Entang Wiharsho, a large aluminium and stainless steel structure that houses a heart and has been beautifully installed in the former chapel of the school. The metal, which is entirely cut by hand and not laser, has a lace-like appearance that recalls the appearance of wayang puppets, yet don't let yourself be fooled from the pretty appearance from far-away... the details of the cut outs can be quite disturbing.

Other interesting works include:

Agnes Arellano (Philippines)
Haliya Bathing

Albert Yonathan (Indonesia)
Cosmic Labyrinth

Miao Xiaochun (China)

Zhou Xiaohu (China)
Crowd of Bystanders