The National Arts Council, Singapore (NAC) is pleased to announce the appointment of artist Shubigi Rao and curator Ute Meta Bauer as the artistic team for the Singapore Pavilion at the 59th International Venice Biennale.
Shubigi Rao and Ute Meta Bauer were selected by a Commissioning Panel convened by NAC which comprised leaders in the local arts community. Ahmad Mashadi, Co-Chair of the Commissioning Panel and Head of NUS Museum spoke of the recommendation, “The Commissioning Panel is convinced by the proposal presented by the artistic team which has a universal appeal and ability to connect with diverse cultural contexts. Both Rao and Bauer have exceptional records of practice one can describe to be global, but critically grounded to Singapore. We are confident that their efforts for the Biennale Arte can serve as a valuable reference to successive generations of artists and curators in Singapore.”
Commenting on the significance of this edition’s selection, Rosa Daniel, Co-Chair and Chief Executive Officer of NAC stated, “This is an exciting milestone for Singapore’s multicultural visual and literary arts scene. The pandemic has reminded us how art is essential to our wellbeing, and news of the resumption of international biennales such as the Venice Biennale has been enthusiastically received by the arts community. Singapore’s participation in the Biennale Arte underscores NAC’s commitment to presenting Singapore arts internationally, and we look forward to celebrating the work of Singapore’s best with the rest of the contemporary art world.”
Shubigi Rao is an award-winning multidisciplinary Singaporean artist who has exhibited in international biennales and institutions and won accolades for both her visual art practice and literary works. Rao has also been featured in March Meets 2019, 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018), 10th Taipei Biennial, (2016); 3rd Pune Biennale (2017), Digital Arts Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark (2013); and 2nd Singapore Biennale (2008). Recently, she was invited to the upcoming 10th edition (2021/2022) of the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Australia. Rao is the curator of the upcoming 5th Kochi-Muziris Biennale, South Asia’s biggest visual arts event. As an artist, Rao’s films, art, texts, and photographs have critically, poetically and humorously engaged with systems of knowledge that structure our world.
Ute Meta Bauer is the Founding Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (CCA), a renowned institution in Southeast Asia that bridges academia and artistic research, and a professor at the Nanyang Technological University School of Art, Design and Media (NTU ADM). She was co-curator of documenta11 on the team of Okwui Enwezor (2001/2002) and the artistic director of the 3rd Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2004). She also co-directed the World Biennial Forum No. 1 in Gwangju, South Korea with Hou Hanru. She has been a commissioner of the Nordic Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003), the commissioner/curator of the Norwegian contribution for the 26th São Paulo Biennial (2004) and co-curated with Paul Ha the US Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) which featured preeminent artist Joan Jonas and was awarded a Honorary Mention for best National Pavilion by the Biennale’s International Jury.
Following a one-year postponement of the Biennale Arte due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this announcement marks Singapore’s 10th participation in Venice. Since 2015, the pavilion has featured artists such as Song-Ming Ang (2019), Zai Kuning (2017) and Charles Lim (2015). In 2009, Ming Wong’s representation of Singapore received Special Mention at the 53rd La Biennale di Venezia.