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Past Events

Seminar-Cum-Book Launch: Singapore as Abode of Early Malay Journalism: Yusof Ishak and Nationhood

05 May 2017

REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

LAUNCH OF


About the Seminar

Singapore was the hub of Malay cultural and intellectual expression. Malay journalism first began with the Jawi Peranakan community in 1876, and since then, Singapore was destined to be a site for Malay publishing. The growth of numerous newspapers became channels for intellectual, cultural and political expression, accommodation and resistance. What made this possible was that Singapore’s cultural-geographical location saw the collusion of colonial communication and maritime activities, to that of newspapers and journalism.  Until World War II, Singapore was a market-place for the Malay-Muslim community expressing a diversity of beliefs and identities.

Tolerance, and a tinge of republicanism were canons of the day.

Yusof Ishak was at the centre of this fateful interplay of history, geography and nationhood. The milieu and vibrancy of intellectual and journalistic activities inspired progress for the Malays alongside other communities. This culminated in his founding of Utusan Melayu – a newspaper that manifested a strong sense of Malay identity, but that was at the same time liberal enough to accommodate the views of other communities. Singapore was a world where diasporic communities converged, after all, and their search for expression ushered in an era of inter-ethnic cooperation that propelled Yusof ultimately to the position of President of Singapore.

About the Speaker

Professor Dato' Dr Ahmad Murad Merican is a faculty member at the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies (CenPRIS), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang, and an adjunct professor at the National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (ASWARA) in Kuala Lumpur. He was a visiting professor at Universitas Andalas in West Sumatera in 2006 and has helped to establish the media and journalism program there. Professor Ahmad Murad was the first recipient of the Honorary President Resident Fellowship, Perdana Leadership Foundation 2009-2011. 

Professor Ahmad Murad began his career as a journalist with the Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA) in the early 1980s. He is a columnist for the New Sunday Times and the New Straits Times, and a contributor to Bahasa Melayu dailies and periodicals such as Utusan Malaysia, founded by Yusof Ishak as Utusan Melayu in 1939. His interest in journalism, social science, and public advocacy was inspired by the scions and descendants of a 16th-century Minangkabau family which runs to more than 11 generations now, among them Tun Yusof Ishak, and his younger brother Aziz, and also Sulaiman Ahmad (the youngest brother of Tun Yusof’s father, Ishak), an intellectual in his own right who was a journalist and editor in Singapore in the 1930s.

He has a PhD in the history and philosophy of science and baccalaureates in Political Science and Journalism and has written 11 books on media, social science and history. He founded the Institute of Journalism Studies in a Malaysian public university in 2005, and sits on the panel of the Malaysian Journalism Awards and has been chairman of the Malaysian Journalism Laureate Awards. His latest book is titled In Other Words: Ideas on Journalism, Social Science and Society (2017).

About the Book

ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute is proud to launch this pictorial volume on Yusof Ishak, which consists of a biography of the man and a large collection of pictures depicting his eventful life.

Yusof Ishak, the first president of Singapore, was very much a child of his times. Being in the thick of things, he had a pioneering role in many aspects of late colonialism and in the early nation building process in Singapore. Of his generation of young and gifted men and women, few would achieve the profound impact that he came to have on his society and country. It is often forgotten today that he was the man who established the highly influential Malay-language newspaper, Utusan Melayu. His principles as a journalist, however, did not allow him to continue running the newspaper for too long after independence came to the Federation of Malaya. Yusof Ishak’s good ties with the newspaper’s lawyer, Lee Kuan Yew, and the mutual respect these two men had for each other saw him rising to become the Head of State of Singapore for three terms, first as Yang di-Pertuan Negara in 1959, and then for two terms as President of an independent republic in 1965. Always by his side was his charming and capable wife, Noor Aishah. His life was a hectic and meaningful one, and remains an inspiration for future generations of Singaporeans and Southeast Asians.

About the Author

Dr Ooi Kee Beng is the Deputy Director of ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. His book, The Reluctant Politician: Tun Dr Ismail and His Time (2006) won the “Award of Excellence for Best Writing Published in Book Form on Any Aspect of Asia (Non-Fiction)” at the Asian Publishing Convention Awards 2008, while Continent, Coast, Ocean: Dynamics of Regionalism in Eastern Asia (Ed., 2007), was named “Top Academic Work” in 2008 by the ASEAN Book Publishers Association (ABPA).

His other noted works include The Eurasian Core and Its Edges: Dialogues with Wang Gungwu on the History of the World (2015); Merdeka for the Mind. Essays on Malaysian Struggles in the 21st Century (2015); The Third ASEAN Reader (Ed., 2015); Young and Malay. Growing up in Multicultural Malaysia (Ed., 2015); Lim Kit Siang: Defying the Odds (2015); Young and Malay: Growing Up in Multicultural Malaysia (2015); In Lieu of Ideology: An Intellectual Biography of Goh Keng Swee (2010); March 8: Eclipsing May 13 (2008); and Lost in Translation. Malaysia under Abdullah (2008). He is a columnist for The Edge, Malaysia (2011- ); editor of Trends in Southeast Asia (2013- ); and founder-editor of ISEAS Perspective (2012- ) and Penang Monthly (2009- ).

About the Discussant

Dr Norshahril Saat is a Fellow with ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in International, Political and Strategic Studies by the Australian National University (ANU) under the MUIS postgraduate scholarship scheme. His research interests are mainly on Southeast Asian politics and contemporary Islamic thought. In 2015, he published Faith, Authority and the Malays: The Ulama in Contemporary Singapore. In 2016, he co-edited Majulah!: 5o years of Malay/Muslim Community in Singapore. His articles have recently been published in journals such as Asian Journal of Social Science (AJSS), The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life, Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, and Studia Islamika. Dr Norshahril’s pioneering work on Singapore’s first President, Mr Yusof Ishak, was published in 2015 on the occasion of the renaming of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) to ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.  


Programme


Click here for the programme.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to <iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg> by 3 May 2017.
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Seminar: Visualizing a New Kampuchea: Developing a Post Khmer Rouge National Art Identity

12 Apr 2017

REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

 Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series


About the Seminar

In a post Khmer Rouge world Cambodian culture is often defined by its connection to the past, yet many young Cambodian artists and designers are looking towards the future to create a new understanding of what it means to be Cambodian. This paper examines the role Cambodian contemporary artists play in helping to develop a post Khmer Rouge national identity, through examining the current events, which are transforming the Cambodian art world. Focus over the last two decades, in regards to defining Cambodian national identity, has shifted wildly from control over language, morality, and dress code to implementation of nationalistic business practices, and political reform. Control over the arts has only recently become a topic of public concern, yet for decades the artistic community has struggled with the formulation of a post Khmer Rouge voice. This paper will closely look at what is traditionally defined as “Cambodian”, and will question how contemporary artists choose to represent these elements, or for that matter, to ignore them. These artists are constantly pushing against pre-conceived notions of what it means to be Cambodian, and are striving to show both Cambodian’s and the world that their national identity is filled with more than just sacred temples and Apsara dancers.

About the Speaker

Christine Ege grew up in Northern California, but has spent the last 12 years living outside of the United States. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland and her Master’s Degree in East Asian Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. She has been living in Cambodia for the last six years, where she has been involved on a day-to-day basis with emerging artistic talent. She is currently the Director of The Institute for Executive, Professional, and Community Education and Head of the Digital Arts and Design Department at Zaman University. She teaches many courses in the fields of art and design, with focuses on art history, business practices in art, web design, and animation. She is currently working on research related to buying and selling practices in the Cambodian contemporary art market. Her research focuses on evaluating business practices and market potential to understand how to get Cambodians more active in the local market.

Registration

To register, please fill in this form and email it to <iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg> by Tuesday, 11 April 2017.

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Seminar: The Culture of Impunity and Alternative Memories in Films: A Comparative Study of Indonesia and Thailand

31 Mar 2017

REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

 Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series


About the Seminar

Political violence is not uncommon in Southeast Asia. This seminar looks at artistic articulations of political violence in Indonesia and Thailand. Two controversial incidents, namely the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-1966 and the bloodshed on 6 October 1976 in Thailand, were ignited by
anti-communism sentiments and resulted in acts of violence from respective states. The consequences of these two political events are gradually and slowly addressed today but the process of justice and reconciliation is still far from complete.

The seminar will discuss the construction of state narratives and describe how current forms of arts such as documentary films are used to counter the state’s narratives in both countries. These documentaries, directed by foreigners and local film makers, have played significant roles in giving voice to victims and exposing the trivialisation of violence. 40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy (2009), The Act of Killing (2012), The Look of Silence (2014), Pulau Buru: Tanah Air Beta (2016), Silence-Memories (2014) and Respectfully Yours (2016) are documentaries revealing the stories and memories of victims and perpetrators from the two incidents.

This seminar will argue that these films have become testimonial artworks in revealing victims maltreatment and exposing how violence and impunity have become the norm. Such artworks are also responsible for paving the way for ‘alternative memories’ for the nation.

 

About the Speaker

Chontida Auikool is a lecturer from International Studies (ASEAN-China) programme, Thammasat University, Bangkok. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Southeast Asian Studies and completed her Master’s Degree in International Relations from Thammasat University. Her research interests include Indonesia, Chinese Indonesian, conflict and violence, and Southeast Asian film. She published articles such as “The Ambivalent of Chinese – Indonesian Position in Medan, Indonesia” in Journal Lakon (Airlangga University), “Ethnic Relations in Transnational Context: The Case Study of Chinese Indonesians-Indonesians in Medan after Suharto” in The Asian Conference on Arts & Humanities proceedings, “Breaking Silence of Indonesian Mass Killings between 1965 and 1966” in TU-UGM Research Seminar Making Southeast Asia and Beyond proceedings and a short article “Indomie: Political Food and Hidden Hugger in Indonesia” in Sarakadee Magazine. She is also a member of Film Kawan, an informal group organising Southeast Asian film events in Bangkok. She also published film reviews for the ASEAN film column in a Thai Magazine, Bioscope. She reviewed films such as Yasmine, Cinta Tapi Beda, As You Were, Sayang Disayang, Lilet Never Happened, The Tales of Waria.


Registration

To register, please fill in this form and email it to <iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg> by 30 March 2017.

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Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series: Colonials or Cosmopolitans? Vietnamese Artists in Paris in the 1930s-1940s

23 Nov 2016
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series

About the Seminar

 In the early decades of the 20th century, Paris was a cosmopolitan site of exchange for artists from all over the world. For artists from the territories of Indochina, Paris was also the centre of colonial power. This seminar looks at how these two facets of Paris interacted in the careers of Vietnamese artists who exhibited there in the 1930s and 1940s. The French colonial state actively promoted the export of Indochina artwork for sale in Paris, and exhibitions of Vietnamese art were part of this strategy. Artworks from Vietnam were also shown at the two massive international exhibitions of the 1930s - the Exposition coloniale internationale of 1931, and the Exposition des arts et techniques de la vie moderne of 1937. These exhibitions framed Vietnamese artists firmly within a discourse of colonial propaganda. However, they were also the catalyst for further engagements in Paris, with some artists (such as Le Pho) settling there permanently. By looking at how Vietnamese artists were exhibited and received in the French capital, this seminar investigates their place in the Parisian art world, and the tension between its colonial and cosmopolitan aspects.

This seminar builds on research that grew out of the Reframing Modernism exhibition of the National Gallery Singapore, and is now part of an ongoing research project about Southeast Asian artists in Paris.

About the Speaker

Dr Phoebe Scott has been a curator at the National Gallery Singapore since 2012. She was a co-curator of the inaugural exhibition Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century and of the March 2016 exhibition, Reframing Modernism: Painting from Europe, Southeast Asia and Beyond, in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou. Prior to joining the National Gallery, Phoebe completed her PhD in art history at the University of Sydney, focusing on modern art in Vietnam from the 1920s to 1950s. She has written and taught on modern and contemporary art from Asia. 


Registration
To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by Tuesday, 22 November 2016.
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Seminar: The Rise of Refugees and Migrants: Challenges for and Reactions from Europe and Southeast Asia

07 Nov 2016
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

Since mid-2015 the dramatic pictures of refugees on their way to Central Europe raised attention and emotions worldwide. Leaving their war-torn countries in the Middle East behind, several hundred thousand people started their arduous journeys to look for a better life for themselves and their families. The global media coverage has focused heavily on the refugees in Europe. However, the current refugee crisis is not only a challenge for Europe. The growing numbers of refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers are a worldwide issue. The arrival of thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi people on the shores of several Southeast Asian countries in May 2015 and the following human ping-pong between the ASEAN member states made clear that this region will also have to deal with this issue in a larger scale in the near future.

In his presentation Dr Patrick Ziegenhain will explain how the European Union and its member states reacted to the refugee challenge in the last year and why they have been incapable of managing the crisis in a proper and common way. He will also discuss why Germany opened its borders for refugees and what kind of consequences this policy will have on the national and European level. In a next step, he will then focus on current and future migration problems in Southeast Asia and analyze what lessons the ASEAN member states can learn from the current refugee crisis in Europe.

About the Speaker

Dr Patrick Ziegenhain from Germany is since May 2015 Visiting Professor at the Asia-Europe Institute of University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia. Previously, he had been a Visiting Professor at the Department of Business Administration at Atma Jaya University in Jakarta/ Indonesia, an Interim Professor at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at Goethe-University Frankfurt/ Germany (2015), a Visiting Professor at De la Salle University Manila/ Philippines in 2014 and Assistant Professor (Akademischer Rat) at the Department of Political Science, University of Trier/ Germany (2007-2014). Since 2005, Patrick Ziegenhain holds a PhD in Political Science from Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg/ Germany. Beside numerous academic articles, he is the author of the books "Institutional Engineering and Political Accountability in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines” (2015), “The Indonesian Parliament and Democratization" (2008) and co-author of the book “Parliaments and Political Change in Asia” (2005). These three books were all published by ISEAS, Singapore. More information about Dr Patrick Ziegenhain can be found on his website at http://www.patrick-ziegenhain.de.

Registration

To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by Friday, 4 November 2016.

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Seminar: Representations of the Ottomans in Javanese Reverse Glass Painting

04 Nov 2016
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series


About the Seminar

Indonesian reverse painting on glass is seldom studied because it is considered to be one of Java’s ‘minor’ arts. Produced mainly by Javanese painters for urban and rural Javanese, it was also much appreciated by Chinese and Arabs communities. While European or Chinese artists probably introduced reverse glass painting to Java in the late 19th century, its golden age was between the 1930s and the 1960s. An expression of mixed modernity, combining Javanese, European and Islamic features, the themes ranged from so-called ‘traditional’ Javanese wayang figures and mosques to new technologies and modern lifestyle in the Dutch Indies.

In the first part of this talk, I will present the main features of Javanese reverse glass painting such as technical aspects, themes of representation, and production issues. I will then focus on one of the trends from the early 1900s: the representations of the Ottomans (or Turkey). These representations show the emergence of a clear narrative linking the Ottomans with an idea of political and religious modernity at the turn of the 20th century amongst the local population in the Dutch Netherland Indies. This theme will also allow me to demonstrate the swift circulation of iconographic models throughout the Muslim world, from Istanbul to Java, through the Holy Land and Singapore.

About the Speaker

Professor Jérôme Samuel is a sociolinguist and historian specialising on Indonesia. He is the co-director of French National Research Center’s laboratory Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CASE) and lectures in Paris’ INALCO on Malay and Indonesian language and civilisations since 2002. He published widely on politics of linguistic and terminology history and authored a seminal book on teaching Indonesian language for a French public published in 2012 (second volume forthcoming). He has been working on reverse glass painting for 10 years and has published several articles on this subject, in Journal Archipel, and is currently working on a book. He was awarded a PhD from INALCO in 2000 and obtained a full professorship in 2015.

Registration

To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by Thursday, 3 November 2016.

 

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Seminar: Political Art in Southeast Asia: The Role of LEKRA in Indonesia

26 Oct 2016
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

ARTS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA SEMINAR SERIES


About the Seminar
Curator Jim Supangkat and other participants in the Southeast Asian art world have argued that writers, particularly Western art theorists and historians, have over-emphasised politics in the analysis of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art. This paper explores the importance of the political dimension of contemporary Southeast Asian art, and asks whether it is over-stated, or whether the political, broadly defined, should be seen as the basis of what artists do. I will examine this question by exploring the role and historiography of LEKRA, the People’s Art Movement in Indonesia in the 1950s and 1960s. I will look at questions of Soviet and European influence on art, and the roles of social realism and socialism in delimiting the content of art. I will also explore the legacy of LEKRA in the depiction of social issues in Indonesian art of the late twentieth- and early twenty-first centuries.

About the Speaker
Professor Adrian Vickers holds a personal chair in Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Sydney, where he is director of Asian Studies. His publications include Bali: A Paradise Created (1989, latest edition 2013, previously translated into German, Dutch, Japanese and Indonesia); A History of Modern Indonesia (2004, new edition 2012, translated into Chinese, Indonesian and Turkish); Balinese Art: Paintings and Drawing of Bali (2012), and, with Julia Martìnez, The Pearl Frontier: Labor Mobility across the Australian-Indonesian Maritime Zone (2015). The Pearl Frontier was 2016 winner of the Northern Territory Chief Minister’s History Book Award, winner of the Queensland Literary Awards 2016 USQ History Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2016 Ernest Scott History Prize of the Australian Historical Association. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge and the Cambridge University Joint Centre for History and Economics; Senior Visiting Fellow at the Asia Research Centre at the National University of Singapore; and a Visiting Fellow at the Royal Institute for Linguistics and Anthropology, Leiden.

Registration
To register, please fill in this form and email to <iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg> by Tuesday, 25 October 2016.

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Seminar: Japanese Artists and Art Policy in Japanese-occupied Indonesia and Singapore, 1942-1945

28 Sep 2016
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

ARTS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA SEMINAR SERIES

About the Seminar
Throughout the Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia from 1940 to 1945, approximately 300 Japanese and local artists were sent to the battlefront. This was part of the Japanese government’s policy of utilising the arts as a tool for the military campaign in the region. The collaboration between the army and these prominent Japanese and local artists gave birth to new art projects. This presentation will explore the role of Japanese artists and art policy in Indonesia and Singapore during the Japanese occupation from 1942-1945. It will examine the journey and works of Japanese artists employed in Indonesia and Singapore, such as Tsuguharu Fujita, Tsuruta Gorō, Saburō Miyamoto, Kenichi Nakamura, Kenichi, Koiso Ryōhei and Takashi Kōno among others. It will also address the decades-long debate over the discontinuities in art history caused by the Japanese occupation. Did occupation radically change the course of Indonesian and Singaporean art history and how much did Japanese artists assist to foster a “national art”?

About the Speaker
Mr Antariksa is an independent researcher and co-founder of KUNCI Cultural Studies Centre, a research collective focusing on critical knowledge production, research-action, and vernacular education. Mr Antariksa is the author of Tuan Tanah Kawin Muda: Hubungan LEKRA-Seni Rupa 1950-1965 [Tuan Tanah Kawin Muda: The relation between art and the Institute of People’s Culture 1950-1965] (CAF/IVAA, 2005). His primary research is on art and mobility of ideas in Japanese-occupied Southeast Asia. He is now working on his new book Art collectivism in Japanese-occupied Indonesia (Kyushu University Press, 2017). Mr Antariksa is an Artist-in-Residence in the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore Residencies Programme. He won the Global South fellowship at Le Collège d'études mondiales, Paris, under the supervision of Françoise Vergès and Mélanie Bouteloup, to engage in a research on the Japanese war artists (sensō sakusen kirokuga) in the Parisian art scene, 1914-1939.
 
Registration
To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by Tuesday, 27 September 2016.
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Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series: After Finding Francis: Teo Kah Leng’s Malayan Poetry in the Era of Decolonisation

02 Aug 2016
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

My encounter with the poetic works of Teo Kah Leng (1909-2001), a former principal of the primary section of Montfort School in Serangoon, was the unexpected result of a two-year project on Francis P. Ng’s F.M.S.R. (1937), the first notable work of English poetry by a Singaporean writer. Through biographical research, I discovered that Ng, whose real name was ‘Teo Poh Leng’, was the younger brother of Kah Leng, also a poet. While Poh Leng wrote poetry throughout the 1930s until falling victim to Sook Ching, Kah Leng survived the Japanese Occupation and wrote actively in the 1950s-60s as British Malaya moved towards independence.

During the post-war decades, Malayan poetry matured at the University of Malaya. There students such as Wang Gungwu and Edwin Thumboo ‒ later credited as Singapore’s pioneer poets ‒ focused on the creation of a distinctively Malayan poetry inspired by Anglo-American Modernist writers. Meanwhile, outside the University’s poetry community, Teo, influenced by British Romanticists such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, produced an abundance of ballads and sonnets about Malaya’s natural environment, utilising rhymes and regular rhythms.

Through the 1950s-60s, Teo’s poems gained a wide audience via his school’s annual and Young Malayans, a magazine for Malaya’s English-medium school teachers and pupils. The University’s poetry community, however, felt poems of this kind were too conventional and preferred to emphasise free verse. As a result, Teo’s contributions were marginalised.

Through textual and discourse analysis, I will demonstrate that Teo’s poems, although falling into oblivion during Malaya’s era of decolonisation, constituted a significant part of the post-war Malayan poetry. 

About the Speaker

ERIKO OGIHARA-SCHUCK is a Lecturer in American Studies at TU Dortmund University, Germany. Dr Ogihara-Schuck is the co-editor of Finding Francis: A Poetic Adventure (Ethos Books, 2015) and the author of Miyazaki’s Animism Abroad: The Reception of Japanese Religious Themes by American and German Audiences (McFarland, USA, 2014). Her current major research interest is cultural relations between Singapore and the United States from the nineteenth century to the present. Aside from being a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, she is also a European Postdoc Fellow at the Eccles Centre for North American Studies at the British Library.

Registration

To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by Monday, 1 August 2016.
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Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series: Nineteenth Century Origins of Art in Singapore

18 Jul 2016
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

About the Seminar

The National Gallery’s inaugural exhibition on Singapore art, SIAPA NAMA KAMU?, which opened in November 2015, pushes the beginnings of art in Singapore back to the nineteenth century. This seminar presentation builds on an essay I was invited to contribute to a forthcoming National Gallery publication. In my essay I argued that if the received view is that art in Singapore began with a group of artists who developed what in the National Gallery exhibition is periodised as “The Nanyang Reverie”, then what we have in the National Gallery is a revision of that received view. This seminar will probe further into the underlying assumption of the argument for extending the narrative of art in Singapore back to the nineteenth century. What unifies the rather disparate categories of natural history drawings, landscapes, historic photographs and portraits as nineteenth century art in Singapore? Were they “works of art” when they were produced in nineteenth century Singapore, or were they more commodities? When did they become appropriated as “works of art”? 

About the Speaker

Kwa Chong Guan is an Associate Fellow with the Archaeology Unit of the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre at ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute. He is also a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies where he works on a variety of regional security issues, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the History Department of the National University of Singapore. Kwa was a Director of the old National Museum and continues to serve on various advisory committees of the National Heritage Board today. He also serves on various advisory committees of the National Library Board. Among his publications is an edited volume, Early Southeast Asia viewed from India, An anthology of articles from the “Journal of the Greater India Society”, published as part of the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Series. 


Registration
To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by Friday, 15 July 2016.


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