The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is once again doing its part to help elevate the creative arts field. Following an open call for their inaugural residency program, SAM has announced its first international batch of residents.
One of the most comprehensive residencies programmes in Asia, SAM Residencies aims to support artistic experimentation and innovative practices, encourage collaboration, and exchange, and engage both the art community and the public at large.
After attracting close to 1000 applications from across the globe, 18 residents have been selected to be a part of the first cycle of the program. The first batch of SAM Residencies include 15 independent practitioners and 3 art collectives. Each have been offered a studio based residency across four residency types – Artist Residency, Community & Education Residency, Curatorial & Research Residency and EX-SITU: Art Spaces Residency.
Enhancing Art & Talent
Residents hail from countries and regions across the world, including Argentina, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and more. Each residency will span a period of between one to six months, starting from October 2021.
In addition to allowing these talents to further develop their creativity, SAM Residencies will also offer opportunities for the public to interact and engage in dialogue with the residents. Part of the overall programme curated by the Singapore Art Museum will include studio visits, film screenings, talks, performances, and workshops.
Featuring four residency types, the interdisciplinary SAM Residencies is open to artists, curators, art organisations and artist-run spaces, as well as community and education-focused art practitioners. These residencies will take place in physical spaces in Singapore and will offer open spaces for social interaction between the residents. It is catered towards the wider art community, and the public, serving as a catalyst for collaborative and collective activities to develop.
Eager to find out more, we speak to Khim Ong, Head & Curator, Biennale and Residencies at SAM to discover more about the inaugural residency program.
18 were selected from close to 1000 applications. How hard was it narrowing it down to this number?
We received many interesting applications from all over the world and it was certainly a challenging selection process. This really reflects how residencies continue to be an important aspect of artistic development and exchange, in spite of how the pandemic has changed the way we connect and work with one another. It was ambitious for a museum to launch a comprehensive international residencies programme that supports artistic processes and provides a platform for exchange during this time, but the response we received was very encouraging.
Were you surprised with the interest as well as the diverse background of these applicants?
While we had intended the SAM Residencies programme to have an international scope and as wide of a reach as possible, we were still pleasantly surprised by this tremendous response.
What gave these 18 the edge over the others?
One key factor was how their respective practices approached the focus of this residencies cycle in interesting ways. In arriving at the final selection, we also considered how the practitioners could benefit from being in Singapore, how they intend to use their time in residence to engage, exchange and experiment both within and beyond their own disciplines.
What served as the inspiration for this inaugural residency program?
The SAM Residencies is a natural extension of our work as a museum and our mission to be in active collaboration with artistic communities and our audiences. It is conceived so that every cycle will have focused subject areas. This allows the programme to respond to pressing topics and emergent practices of the now, which aligns with SAM’s focus on exhibiting art of the present. Cycle 2021/2022 focuses on notions of “intimacy” and “infrastructure” and the impact of technology on contemporary life. It invites residents to rethink these concepts, especially during the time of the pandemic.
What are you hoping for both the art community and these residents for this program?
The SAM Residencies programme is created as an open platform for exchange and interaction across but also beyond artistic disciplines. It is also intended as a social space where the local art community can gather and stay connected, and where the wider public can interface with a range of artistic practices. We hope these engagements serve as a catalyst for other forms of creative collaborations to develop and take on a life of its own, beyond the residencies programme.
(Images: Singapore Art Museum)