In each edition of the Almanac is an alphabetical tour d’horizon of the 67-odd countries covered by ArtAsiaPacific, spanning Afghanistan to Vietnam. We also invite influential art world figures to contemplate the major cultural events that have shaped the past 12 months.
This year, Japanese artist and scholar Minato Chihiro and Sydney’s Art Space executive director Blair French each discuss art’s role in relationship to the region’s natural disasters and human crises. New Delhi-based collector Kiran Nadar, who recently debuted her private museum, shares her thoughts on her favorite exhibitions from the Subcontinent in 2011. From Beirut, Marwa Arsanios, an artist and co-founder of the independent art space 98 Weeks sheds light on a senior artist’s retrospective that neglected its local context in the curatorial process. Georgy Mamedov, co-curator of the Central Asia Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, and artist and Singapore Biennale artistic director Matthew Ngui, reflect on the function of art in society from their unique perspectives.
The Five Plus One section, in which editors select five artists who have made a significant impact in 2011 along with one who promises to do so in 2012, features special profiles of artists as varied in outlook as Zarina Hashmi, Walid Raad, Ming Wong, Tabaimo, Michael Parekowhai and Slavs & Tatars, our “plus one.”
The cover, titled Content Page, was designed by Singaporean artist Heman Chong, who created a mosaic of images of nondescript places in Asia, making it difficult to decipher whether it is Istanbul, Baku, Kuala Lumpur or Tokyo. In the spirit of the Almanac, Chong describes the diagonal stripe as a form of erasure, which suggests an emerging situation as well as the interconnectivity of all the elements in this annual volume.