Hong-Ling Wee, ceramic artist, New York
With a life divided between New York and Singapore, Hong-Ling Wee uses clay as her primary medium to create work that centers on the theme of home to recreate the place we escape from and return to. To her, home is defined by relationships, shared memories, and experiences. Her installation 50 Stories was created in celebration of the Golden Jubilee. Wee’s works are in the permanent collections of the National Gallery (Singapore), the Ministries of Law and Foreign Affairs (Singapore), the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park (Japan), the Fule International Ceramic Art Museum (China), and the Guangxi National Art Center (China).
Sheryo & Yok, street artists, New York
Sheryo and The Yok started painting on the streets in 2005 and have since exhibited and painted murals around the world. In 2011, they moved to Cambodia, where they worked from a home studio in the red light district of Phnom Penh, and delved into the twisted world of exquisite lines and quirky mythology. They were featured among Complex magazine’s “10 Street Artists to Watch in 2013,” “15 Street Artists to Watch in 2014,” “Top 10 Street Artists To Watch In 2013 & 2014,” and “10 Rising NYC Street Artists You Should Know”; CBS New York’s “Six Women Street Artists You Should Know”; and Huffington Post's “Top 25 Street Artists Shaking Up Public Art.”
Jonathan Teo, photographer, Boston
Jonathan Teo is a Boston–based photographer. He is drawn to urban spaces and portraiture, and particularly enjoys illuminating the subtleties and nuances of a subject that would otherwise go unnoticed by the casual observer. Teo’s interest in photography stems from his passion for tinkering with gadgets. He loves the alchemy of a variety of techniques to create a world, tell a story, jolt a memory, and evoke an emotion. In finding his subjects through his lens, he is also discovering himself. For this exhibition, Teo presents couple portraits of similar yet culturally different food items that will remind us of home.
Angie Tan, photographer, & Gregory Burns, painter, San Francisco
Angie Tan and Gregory Burns are artists based in Singapore and California. As the daughter of one of Singapore’s pioneering contemporary painters, Tan approaches architectural and landscape photography with an impressionist’s eye, resulting in abstract, painterly compositions that blur the lines between photography and painting. Burns holds an MFA in painting and has exhibited in seventeen countries throughout the world over the last 30 years. Together, they have published two books in English and one in Mandarin. They have appeared on BBC, CNBC, ESPN, CNA, and CCTV, as well as the AWSJ, Time magazine and The China Daily. Their latest series Singapore Shophouses was created in celebration of Singapore's 50th year of independence.
www.angarts.com and www.gregoryburns.com
Sze-Chin Lee, mixed media artist, Chicago
Sze-Chin Lee is an artist, art therapist, and art educator, based in Chicago. His art focuses on culture and nostalgia, using borrowed memories to reimagine familiar and banal spaces. Lee often combines video, photography, and performance in order to create multimedia experiences that question concepts of memory and time. His works have been exhibited at Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan, and Sullivan Galleries in Chicago. He has also participated in the Busan Biennale in South Korea and the Ars Electronica Festival in Austria. Lee celebrates Singapore’s 50th year of independence with his latest work Virtually Home, and invites New Yorkers to explore virtual memories of Singapore through the piece.
Jimmy Ong, painter, Vermont
Jimmy Ong focuses on representations of the human figure. His paintings in this exhibition are partly autobiographical: they mediate on the artist’s forays into an unfamiliar artistic medium, the politics fuelling his journey to a new country, and the emotional estrangement of being away from home. Ong’s works have been exhibited at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art and ArtTrain Gallery in New York; at FOST Gallery, The Private Museum, and the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore; and at the National Art Gallery in Malaysia. He is a winner of the Charles Toppan Drawing Prize and a recipient of the Anna K Meredith Fund Scholarship.
Kok Boon Lim, mixed media artist, Singapore
Kok-Boon Lim is an educator, artist, and critic. His interest in food manifests in his photography, paintings, and installations, which relate to identity, iconography, and institutions. In this iteration of his on-going series Homesick First Aid, Lim invites viewers to consider what “comfort food” means to them, and how food is often constitutive of a culture’s identity. Lim was named a President’s Young Talent in Singapore in 2001 for his art practice. Today, he also writes art reviews as part of a 10-year art history experiment, and as his way of contributing to art education in Singapore
Jacelyn Kee, curator, Chicag
Jacelyn Kee is an artist, art educator, and public administrator, whose interests lie in the intersection of these disciplines. A graduate curatorial assistant at Sullivan Galleries in Chicago, she has also curated shows in Singapore and Hong Kong. Kee is currently pursuing her graduate studies in Arts Administration and Policy. She is on a postgraduate scholarship awarded by the Ministry of Education in Singapore, as well as the Margot and Thomas Pritzker merit scholarship, which is awarded by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Adeline Koh is Associate Professor of Literature at Stockton University and Director of South Jersey Center for the Digital Humanities. She specializes in postcolonial studies, 19th–21st-century British and Anglophone literature, Southeast Asian and African studies, international feminism, and digital humanities. Koh directs Digitizing ‘Chinese Englishmen,’ a digital archival project on 19th-century “Asian Victorians” in Southeast Asia, and The Stockton Postcolonial Studies Project, an online magazine of postcolonial studies. She is a core contributor to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Profhacker Column.
Eng-Beng Lim is Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at Dartmouth College and the author of Brown Boys and Rice Queens: Spellbinding Performance in the Asias (NYU, 2014). His fields of study include performance and cultural studies, Asian/American studies, postcolonial/diaspora studies and queer/transnational studies. Lim is currently working on two book-length studies, one on the visual and performative interplay of boy harems as a form of sensate queerness, and the other on the assembly of transnational performance through the global university complex, botanical performance, and large-scale theatrical adaptations of world authors.
Jini Kim Watson
Jini Kim Watson is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at New York University and the author of The New Asian City: Three-dimensional Fictions of Space and Urban Form (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). Her research focuses on the literature and culture of the Asia-Pacific, comparative modernities, theories of architecture and urbanism, and questions of political modernity. She has published on postcolonial East and Southeast Asia in the journals Postcolonial Studies, Contemporary Literature, and Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique. Her current book project is concerned with the problem of authoritarianism in postcolonial literature and theory.
E.K. Tan is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Stony Brook University and the author of Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary World (Cambria Press, 2013). His works on Singapore literature and culture have appeared in the Sun Yat-Sen Journal of Humanities, the Journal of Modern Chinese Literature, and the Journal of Chinese Cinemas. His essay “In Search of New Forms: Impact of Bilingual Policy and ‘Speak Mandarin’ Campaign on Sinophone Singapore Poetry” is forthcoming in Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. Tan is currently working on a project titled Queer Homecoming in Sinophone Cultures: Translocal Remapping of Kinship.
Jee Leong Koh
Jee Leong Koh is a Singapore poet and essayist living in New York City. He has published three books of poems and a collection of poetic essays titled The Pillow Book, which was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize. Other essays have appeared in PN Review, Prairie Schooner, At Length, Lambda Literary, and the Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore. His new book of poems Steep Tea was recently released by Carcanet Press. The co-chair of the Singapore Literature Festival in New York, Koh runs the arts website Singapore Poetry, and co-hosts the Second Saturdays Reading Series in New York.
Amanda Lee Koe
Amanda Lee Koe is the fiction editor of Esquire Singapore, editor of creative non-fiction platform poskod.sg, and the 2013 Honorary Fellow of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Her first book Ministry of Moral Panic is a collection of short stories that deal discursively with contemporary Singaporean identity. It was longlisted for the 2014 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and won the 2014 Singapore Literature Prize. She splits her time between New York and Singapore.
Jeremy Tiang's writing has appeared in the Guardian, Esquire, Meanjin, Ambit, Drunken Boat, Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore, and Best New Singaporean Short Stories. His short story collection Schwellenangst will be published by Epigram Books in 2015. Tiang has also translated novels and collections from Chinese, including works by Yan Geling, Zhang Yueran, and Yu Qiuyu. His work as a playwright includes A Dream of Red Pavilions (Pan Asian Repertory Theater, NYC), The Last Days of Limehouse (Yellow Earth Theatre, London), and Floating Bones (Arts House, Singapore).
Yen Yen Woo & Colin Goh
Yen Yen Woo and Colin Goh are a husband-and-wife team that has helmed an eclectic slate of projects, the multi-award–winning feature film Singapore Dreaming, and, most recently, Dim Sum Warriors, a graphic novel and bilingual iPad app series about kung fu–fighting dumplings. Dim Sum Warriors has been praised by Time magazine, BBC, the New York Times, and Fast Company, amongst other publications. Yen Yen is also a tenured professor at Long Island University’s College of Education and Information Sciences, while Colin is a former litigator turned writer and cartoonist. They live with their six-year-old daughter in the bustling Chinatown of Flushing, Queens, where, as if they didn’t have enough on their plates, they also run Yumcha Yoga, a boutique yoga studio.
Lilin Wee - Autograph Book
A schoolgirl’s autograph book is an eclectic collection of poems and truisms about friendship. In this short, it is also the cause of a rift between two twelve-year-old friends, who must decide if their friendship is worth keeping.
With almost 10 short films under her belt, Li-Lin Wee is known as the most prolific female short filmmaker in Singapore. Three of her films have won awards at the Singapore International Film Festival and two of her shorts have won awards at American film festivals. She received her B.A. in Art Semiotics from Brown University and recently completed an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing at Tisch Asia. Wee’s first feature film Gone Shopping (2007) received critical acclaim, and her second film Forever (2011) premiered at the Jakarta International Film Festival and Cairo International Film Festival.
AWARDS AND FESTIVALS
Best Singapore Short Film – Singapore International Film Festival 2003 (SINGAPORE)
Official Selection – Tribeca Film Festival 2005 (NEW YORK)
Junfeng Boo – Homecoming (Keluar Baris)
A young man returns home from studying abroad in Europe just two days before enlisting in the army. Homecoming is a sensitive depiction of an 18-year-old's struggle between national duty and personal liberty.
Junfeng Boo is one of Singapore’s most prolific short filmmakers in recent years. He has received awards for Best Film, Best Director, Special Jury Prize, and Special Achievement at the Singapore International Film Festival. His debut feature film Sandcastle (2010) premiered in-competition at the Cannes Film Festival’s International Critics’ Week, and he was subsequently invited to film festivals around the world, including Toronto, Busan, Vancouver, and London. Boo was accorded the Young Artist Award in 2009 and the Singapore Youth Award in 2011 by the Singapore government.
AWARDS AND FESTIVALS
Best Film, Best Director, and Best Cinematography – Singapore Shorts, Singapore International Film Festival 2008 (SINGAPORE)
Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival 2008 (USA)
Sun Koh - Singapore Panda
Two old-school radio deejays struggle to stay relevant after their company was bought over by a Mainland Chinese Multinational Corporation. They are thrown into a trans-media project about the Chinese diaspora, which mirrors their lives. The film makes its U.S. premiere at this festival.
Sun Koh started her career with The Secret Heaven (2002), which won the Silver Hugo award at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2003. Her film Bedroom Dancing (2006) was touted as the most sexually explicit Singaporean film when it was released. In 2009, she was commissioned by the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) to pay tribute to Claire Denis’s work. Koh’s short, Dirty Bitch, premiered together with Denis’s 35 Rhums at the 2009 IFFR. Koh won the Young Artist Award from Singapore’s National Arts Council in 2010, and in 2014 she spent time in Thailand researching a feature as an ASEAN in Residence fellow.
AWARDS AND FESTIVALS
International Film Festival Rotterdam 2008 (NETHERLANDS)
Best Fiction and Best Director – Singapore Short Film Awards 2010 (SINGAPORE)
Srinivas Bhakta - Curry Fish Head
Curry Fish Head tells the story of a girl experiencing the changing landscapes of Singapore from the late–1960s to the present day. The film makes its New York City premiere at this festival.
Srinivas Bhakta is an animation instructor at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore. His films have been screened at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Hiroshima International Animation Festival, and the World Festival of Animated Film Animafest Zagreb. Bhakta’s film Elephant:OK has been adapted and published as a children's book by Puffin Books, New Zealand.
AWARDS AND FESTIVALS
Anima Syros International Animation Festival 2014 (GREECE)
KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival 2014 (NETHERLANDS)
Sin-Yee Lee - The Longest Distance Relationship
Four friends laugh, ponder, doubt, and struggle as they embark on a journey to understand one another's religions and beliefs. Questions and conflicts surface as they attempt to make sense of the existing differences in religions. The film makes its New York City premiere at this festival.
Sin-Yee Lee specialized in Digital Filmmaking at Nanyang Technological University’s School of Arts, Design and Media, Her debut documentary With Him looks at her relationship with her autistic brother. The film won her the Emerging Filmmaker Prize at the 2014 Endeavours Documentary Film Festival.
AWARDS AND FESTIVALS
Emerging Filmmaker Prize – Endeavours Documentary Film Festival 2014 (SINGAPORE)
Film Program Curator – Kirsten Tan
Kirsten Tan is an award-winning filmmaker. Her works have been shown at over 40 international film festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Busan International Film Festival. She received a Masters in Film Production on a Tisch School of the Arts Fellowship. Her latest work Popeye was selected for the Cannes Film Festival's Atelier 2015, which highlights 15 projects by up-and-coming talents from around the world.
Maya Dance Theatre (MDT)
Maya Dance Theatre is a non-profit dance company that was founded in 2006. MDT preserves the ethos of Asian dance and melds it with a contemporary aesthetic, one that is grounded in the visceral nature of the human spirit. The company has collaborated with artists across various disciplines, yielding stimulating productions with fresh perspectives. Since its inception, it has performed extensively in Singapore and around the world. Maya Dance Theatre’s mission is also to bring the arts to the community.
Singai Tamil Sangam (STS)
Established in 1932, Singai Tamil Sangam (STS) is one of Singapore’s oldest ethnic minority organizations. It serves the needs of the Indian community and aims to propagate Singapore’s culture and heritage. STS partners with community groups such as the Association of Singapore Tamil Writers, the Tamil Language Council, and the Hindu Endowments Board to organize community and cultural events. For this festival, STS partnered with Maya Dance Theatre to create new works for the New York premiere to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.
Eli Tyler throws the audio rulebook out the window to reveal a deeper and darker experimental side. A singer, songwriter, producer, and arranger, he incorporates elements from indie music, jazz, R&B, soul, and blues into his vocal style, creating a sound that is uniquely his. His new material, which will be debuting at this festival, showcases his eclectic compositions, unconventional songwriting formats, and soaring vocals sprinkled with a dash of pop sensibility.
Shun Ng is a fingerstyle guitarist, vocalist, and an acclaimed international performer. Known for his unique and virtuosic style that infuses elements of soul, funk, blues, and jazz, Ng dazzles audiences with his flamboyant technique, soulful vocals, and hypnotic groove. Today, he stands as one of the most dynamic and innovative performers, receiving accolades from legendary producer Quincy Jones and fellow fingerstyle virtuoso Tuck Andress. Ng’s performance at this festival will be an unrivaled experience not to be missed.
Jeane Reveendran is a Singaporean producer and writer who does not love singing in the shower. She prefers singing fully-clothed in front of an audience. As she has a heart for kids and community, she has performed at a variety of charity events in New York like Backpack Snack Attack (a charity for needy children) and also wrote a song for a fundraiser for City Girl Beauty Project (an anti domestic violence and human trafficking organization).
PLAYWRIGHTS & THEIR WORKS
Damon Chua, playwright, New York
Damon Chua’s drama Film Chinois received the 2007 Ovation Award for Best World Premiere Play. The play made its Off-Broadway debut with Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in January 2015. Chua’s other productions include 1969: A Fantastical Odyssey Through the American Mindscape, A Book By Its Cover, and The Ghost Building. An NEA, Dramatists Guild Fund, UNESCO, and Durfee Foundation grant recipient, his plays have been published by Samuel French, Smith & Kraus, and the Proscenium Journal. Chua is currently a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group.
Haresh Sharma (playwright) and Alvin Tan (director), The Necessary Stage, Singapore
Haresh Sharma is the Resident Playwright of The Necessary Stage. He has written more than 100 plays to date, and is the first non-American to receive the prestigious Goldberg Master Playwright award from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2011. His plays Fundamentally Happy, Good People, and Gemuk Girls won Best Original Script at the 2007, 2008, and 2009 Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards. Last year, Sharma was awarded the Southeast Asian Writers Award, which honors literary excellence in the ASEAN region. A collection of his plays has been translated to Mandarin.
Alvin Tan is the founder and Artistic Director of The Necessary Stage. As one of the leading proponents of devising theater in Singapore, Tan has directed more than 70 plays, which have been staged in Singapore and at international festivals. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and, in 1998, was conferred the Young Artist Award for theater. He is a member of the Singapore50 Committee, which was established to coordinate nationwide celebrations for Singapore's 50th birthday in 2015.
Huzir Sulaiman (playwright) and Claire Wong (director), Checkpoint Theatre, Singapore
Huzir Sulaiman is a co-founder and Joint Artistic Director of Checkpoint Theatre. His play The Weight of Silk on Skin opened the 2011 Man Singapore Theatre Festival and won Best Original Script at the 2012 Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards. Sulaiman last directed #UnicornMoment (2014), the 15th anniversary production of Atomic Jaya (2013), and City Night Songs (2012), to critical and popular acclaim. As a playwright, his works include the satirical Atomic Jaya (1998), as well as Singapore Arts Festival commissions Occupation (2002) and Cogito (2007). His Collected Plays 1998-2012 was published by Checkpoint Theatre in 2013, and another collection, Eight Plays, was published by Silverfish Books in 2002. Huzir is a Yale World Fellow.
An actress, filmmaker, and lawyer, Claire Wong is a Joint Artistic Director of Checkpoint Theatre. She directed Faith Ng’s For Better or For Worse, which was nominated in three categories at the 2014 Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards. She also co-directed Dream Country: a Lost Monologue for the Singapore Arts Festival in 2012, and directed Huzir Sulaiman’s play The Weight of Silk on Skin. Trained in both Asian and Western performing arts, Wong obtained her Master of Fine Arts in Theater Arts from Columbia University. She is a co-founder of Studio Wong Huzir and serves as its Senior Consultant.
The Necessary Stage
The Necessary Stage (TNS) is a non-profit theatre company founded in 1987 by Alvin Tan, Its mission is to create challenging, innovative, and indigenous theatre that touches the heart and mind. A recipient of the National Arts Council's Major Grant FY2014–FY2016, TNS has presented more than a hundred original plays around the world. The company remains focused on breaking new grounds with its intercultural explorations and original local Singaporean content productions.
Established in 2002, Checkpoint Theatre presents original, multi-disciplinary productions driven by outstanding writing, performance, and direction. With honesty and humor, head and heart, the company develops and produces vibrant and important contemporary Asian plays that connect with, challenge, and inspire audiences in Singapore and around the world. Checkpoint Theatre’s productions have won critical acclaim for their scripts, direction, virtuosic performance, and sleek production designs.
A Singapore–based writer and editor, Verena Tay has published a short story collection, Spectre: Stories from Dark to Light (2012), as well as three collections of plays. She has edited seven fiction anthologies, including the popular Balik Kampung series published by Math Paper Press. A seasoned storyteller and theater practitioner, Tay has given life to traditional Southeast Asian lore in a unique fashion, and has delighted audiences in Singapore, Scandinavia, Australia, the U.S., and Malaysia. Tay was an Honorary Fellow at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program in 2007, and holds Masters degrees in English Literature, Voice Studies, and Creative Writing.
Dan Nainan got his start by taking a comedy class to get over the nervousness of speaking on stage in his job as a demo engineer with Intel Corporation. After leaving Intel to pursue comedy, he toured with Russell Peters and other notable comedians. Dan has appeared on network television including "Last Comic Standing" as well as in feature films, on radio and in an Apple commercial. Recently, Dan voiced a character on the Fox animated series "Family Guy". He has performed in 25 countries on five continents, and has performed for President Obama, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Arianna Huffington and Steve Wozniak.
HOSTS OF THE FESTIVAL
Elizabeth Lazan is an actress and host based in Los Angeles and Singapore. She has been nominated for numerous awards for her roles in several productions, such as Pangdemonium’s Fat Pig, The Chef, and the TV series Deja Vu, Saise 2 (Paris). She also produced an adaptation of Tara Subkoff’s installation, Future/Perfect, and Ho Tzu Yen’s documentary, 4x4. Lazan is the first Singaporean graduate of The William Esper Studio in New York and a recipient of the Singapore National Arts Council’s Professional Grant for Acting. www.elizabethlazan.com
Jeane Reveendran is a Singaporean producer, writer, and singer who came to NYC for training in acting. She attended the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. After graduation, she focused on music and has performed at established music venues such as Arlene's Grocery and The Bowery Electric. When her vocal pipes are resting, she is masterminding innovative projects for her company, JR Infinite Productions, and crafting sketch videos with the actress Elizabeth Lazan. JR’s biggest inspiration is Chickie—a rooster that lived with her for three years before passing into chicken heaven.