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The Art Of Anti-Exclusion

Date: 5 & 6 September 2016 (Monday and Tuesday), 9am -6pm

Venue: Goodman Arts Centre

Symposium synopsis:

We live in the times of ‘Liquid Modernity’ (Bauman 2000). The preservation of privacy is a hallmark of such times, to protect individuals and elite communities against the risk of unpredictability and calamity. Exclusion ensues as gated communities, from the secure position of distant critic, disengage with others not like them and engage in the safety of liquid global connections instead.

The Art of Anti-exclusion seeks to preserve a connection between the excluded and the gated, between the spaces of no-man’s land and spaces of high value. It seeks to establish communication across spheres that otherwise never collide and as a result, miscommunicate towards further segregation, separation and conflict. It is essential that platforms of communication and engagement be envisioned and enacted to create a space where differences can stand tall and proud yet work together for the proliferation of positive development within a pluralistic space.

Across the world, artists have sought to do this, in varying capacities, with limited resources. The Art of Anti-exclusion aims to address the issue of exclusion by presenting the following areas based on the particularistic social contexts that each artist and community comes from

  • Description of the community/communities that each artist has worked with and how they have been excluded in the context of each country that the artist comes from.
  • The form of arts applied to the community’s situation and how this addresses their excluded situation.
  • The roles that the community plays in the areas of project conceptualization, co-creation and presentation.
  • The response of the community to the arts and how the work has impacted the larger social context to address situations of exclusion.

The symposium also aimed to discuss issues of access and aesthetics in working with communities through the presentation of the process of creating the artwork.

Featured Artists:

1 June Goh (Singapore) Elderly Issues by the elderly Theatre
2 Syahirah A. Karim (Singapore) Mental health issues Photography
3 Ming Poon (Singapore/Netherlands) Persons with HIV in SG Dance
4 Alecia Neo (Singapore) Visually Impaired communities Asia Photography/Art
5 Syed Ibrahim (One Heartbeat, Singapore) Elders, SN, Youth at-risk Music
6 Nadia Arouri (Palestine / Vienna) Various communities Dance
7 Vincent Rumahlonie (Indonesia) Squatter community in Indonesia Art
8 Fagarazzi Zuffellato (Italy) Refugees, Rehabilitation centre residents Multi-disciplinary
9 Bellini Yu, Sophia Law (Hong Kong) Disability groups Art/ Art Education
10 James Brennan (Australia) Ex-offenders Theatre
11 Ashwini Raghupathy (India) Transgender community Dance
12 Makoto Nomura (Japan) Rural community, various communities Music


Workshop Synopsis:

These workshops will be led by the artists: Each artist will spend 10 mins presenting their point of view about the issues discussed through their work experience. They then facilitate a discussion with the participants and locate pertinent issues, which will be presented by each artist group in the concluding whole group discussion: Pertinent Issues for Future Practice.

Each workshop will run a total of 5 sessions for the day. The main purpose is to facilitate audience interaction and contribution to discuss the various themes which focus on how artists have approached the work.

1)     ‘Faceless’ and transient communities: Ming Poon, Ashwini Raghupathy, Syahirah Karim

The means of representation for communities who do not wish to be identified is a challenge for the artist to work with. Faced with real social stigma, for being HIV positive, for being mentally ill or as a transgendered person, members of these communities risk being recognized and discriminated against by taking part in art projects which publically represent their concerns and community. This workshop will discuss possible strategies and ethical challenges in working with these communities to make their presence seen and heard.


2)     Pedagogical approaches through art: Alecia Neo, Sophia Law & Bellini Yu

This workshop focuses on the bridging visual art processes and practices with communities such as the disabled and visually impaired. The word ‘pedagogy’ is defined as a method of teaching. In this instance, the pedagogy discussed stems from an artistic approach, which aims to enable specific communities to explore and express aspects of their lives through visual art. This workshop discusses ways in which a visual artist can design and develop his/her workshops in response to these communities, along with the challenges involved.


3)     Doin’ It for Themselves: June Goh, James Brennan, Nadia Arouri

Community-led arts groups and art productions attest to the democratization of creativity beyond elitist constructs. This workshop discusses how, through the set up of a collaborative environment, artists work with community members to co-create performances through the sharing of creative, performative and production roles. Presenters will discuss how a group of seniors in Singapore, ex-offenders in Australia and various disadvantaged communities in Palestine have created their own work to talk about the issues that they face through the theatre and dance, alongside the challenges of sustaining these groups.


4)     Flexible practice, challenging contexts: Makoto Nomura, Syed Ibrahim

Rejuvenating rural and ageing communities in Japan through music and making music make sense to youth, those with special needs and the elderly in Singapore. As artists who work across communities, it is essential that one’s practice remains flexible and responsive to the needs of each community. This workshop discusses strategies of flexible practice alongside the successes and challenges of such an approach.


5)     Working in-situ: Art in odd places: Vincent Rumahlonie & Fagarazzi Zuffellato

What happens when the artists bring in the arts to spaces unassociated with such practices? How does one enter such spaces? How does one live in such spaces? How does the art become part of the lives of the people who live in these spaces? This workshop discusses issues of access and how the presence of an artist can impact both positively or negatively upon the community in-situ.


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