Culture / Art Republik

Singapore Art Museum Explores Oceanic Depths

A new exhibit aims to explore the different connotations and mysteries of the ocean.

Jun 07, 2016 | By Staff Writer

In our age of greater communication and transport technology, the world seems unbelievably small compared with the past but an exhibition Entitled “Odyssey: Navigating Nameless Seas” aims to challenge that notion. Once upon a time, not so long ago in fact, the ocean seemed ominous and unknown territory, and the skies were completely out of bounds. Yet there remains much wonder and secrecy hidden within the watery depths of the Earth, even to this day. The new exhibit at the Singapore Art Museum aims to explore this completely, using art and installations from a variety of artists to interrogate the idea of the ocean itself. “Odyssey: Navigating Nameless Seas” is running until August28, 2016 at the Singapore Art Museum.

Contemporary artists of different nationalities situated in Singapore will have their works on display – drawn from SAM’s permanent collection, artists’ collections and new commissions. Furthermore, items from Singapore’s Navy Museum and the National Library Board will be brought in to showcase tools and information on navigation and conquest – assembled in a special area called the ‘Research Room’. It will be accompanied by a series of public educational programs.

Here’s a list of some of the works being displayed at the exhibit:

Wyn Lyn Tan (Singapore) – Adrift


This time-lapse video recorded by Singaporean artist Wyn Lyn Tan was shot from the porthole of her cabin in a 16-day trip around the Arctic Circle. The color-washed spaces of the Arctic’s landscape is accompanied by the ship’s vibration and the lapping of ocean waves – highlighting the alienation yet paradoxically soothing nature of the experience.

Sally Smart (Australia) – The Exquisite Pirate: Odyssey

Sally Smart Exquisite Pirate

Inspired by Surrealism, and especially the work of poet Paul Eluard entitled “The Surrealist Map of the World,” Australian artist Sally Smart’s installation is a bricolage made out of cut-out elements, forming together into pirate ships. The multi-layered shifting nature of the different parts can reflect a variety of meanings, such as a critique of the monolithic quality of colonialism, or a commentary on a personal Odyssey.

Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan (Australia/Philippines) – Pasage III: Project Another Country

Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan_Passage III Project Another Country_2009_Image courtesy of SAM - 3

Another ship brought together from a jumble of different parts, this time used transport cargo boxes and wood – creating the impression of a ‘shantytown’. This installation calls attention to the feelings of the duo as diaspora artists – having to settle and resettle constantly on precarious ground.

Rashid Rana (Pakistan) – Offshore Accounts-1

Rashid Rana_Offshore Accounts_2006_Image courtesy of SAM - 2

This monumental and monochromatic seascape appears to float off the wall, yet, on closer investigation, it gives way to thousands of miniature images – depicting mounds of trash and detritus. Pakistani artist Rashid Rana aims to interrogate the legacy of colonialism and the wastefulness of contemporary consumer culture through this massive work.

If you’re interested in finding out more on the exhibition, you can check out Singapore Art Museum’s website.

Odyssey - 2

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