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  • Jun 14, 2024

Weekly News Roundup: June 14, 2024

From left to right: TIFFANY SIA and AHMED UMAR. Courtesy Baloise, Switzerland.

Baloise Art Prize Names Winners  

New York-based artist and filmmaker Tiffany Sia and Sudanese-Norwegian visual artist Ahmed Umar were awarded the Baloise Art Prize on June 11. A collaboration between international art fair Art Basel and Swiss insurance company Baloise, the award aims to support emerging artists through a prize of CHF 30,000 (USD 34,000). The sponsors will also acquire the winner’s works, which will be donated to the MUSEUM für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt and the MUDAM Museum of Modern Art in Luxembourg. Sia’s winning installations include her landscape films The Sojourn (2023), on a curved curtain, and Antipodes II (2024), on a rear-view mirror, the latter of which shows a recorded 24-hour live-stream video of an Okinawan port. Umar’s wall-mounted installation work takes souvenirs that are considered cliché and imbues them with spiritual connotations by lining them up like prayer beads in 15 different arrangements. Demonstrating the complexity of Islam, Umar brings to attention the possible spirituality held within objects. During Art Basel 2024 in Messe Basel, the artworks will be presented at the Baloise Studio from June 13–16, 2024.

LISA REIHANA with her artwork GLISTEN at National Gallery Singapore in 2024. Courtesy National Gallery Singapore.

National Gallery Singapore Unveils Commission 

On June 13, the National Gallery Singapore announced its presentation of Lisa Reihana for the seventh iteration of the annual Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Commission Series. This marks the first time Reihana, a multidisciplinary New Zealand artist of Maori and Welsh-English descent, has had an individual showcase in Southeast Asia. Taking up some of the rooftop garden space, the artist’s three-sided outdoor kinetic sculpture GLISTEN (2024) is inspired by Southeast Asian Songket and Māori Tāniko weavings, with floral and geometric patterns arranged by hand using 114,000 shimmering discs. It also incorporates a handmade wind chime by collaborator Gary Hunt using repurposed materials. With free admission, GLISTEN will be on display at the Ng Teng Fong Roof Garden Gallery at the National Gallery Singapore from June 14, 2024 until March 30, 2025.

Still from HIEN HOANG’s Made in Rice, 2021, three channel video: 90 mins. Courtesy Foam, Amsterdam. 

 Hiền Hoàng Wins the Foam Paul Huf Award 

On June 13, Amsterdam’s photography museum Foam named Vietnamese multimedia artist Hiền Hoàng as the winner of this year’s Foam Paul Huf Award. The first recipient from Southeast Asia, Hoàng will receive EUR 20,000 (USD 21,000) and a solo exhibition at Foam. Her winning photo series Asia Bistro – Made in Rice (2019–23) employs food symbolism and unconventional surfaces to challenge Western perceptions of Asian culture, creating an enthralling sensory experience that combines photography with installation and diverse media. The five-member jury for the award’s 18th edition lauded Hoàng’s “powerful and innovative visual language,” commending her ability to “bridge the gap between reality and imagination, building layers of diversive [sic] meanings.” The jury also extended a special mention to Australian-Iranian documentary photographer Hoda Afshar, whose project In Turn (2023), on the women’s rights movement in Iran, astutely challenges the boundaries between documentary and conceptual photography. 

Entrance of Tang Contemporary Art in H Queen’s building, Central district, Hong Kong. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. 

Tang Contemporary to Open First Singapore Gallery

The art gallery Tang Contemporary (Bangkok/Beijing/HongKong/Seoul) is set to unveil its first Singaporean branch on June 28, fostering closer collaborations with regional artists and collectors. The gallery will occupy a 700-square-meter penthouse at the Delfi Orchard building, located in the commercial District 9 neighborhood.  Established 27 years ago in Bangkok, the gallery has expanded its presence across Asia and plans to open its first Europe-based gallery in London. The gallery represents more than 80 artists, including leading figures in Chinese contemporary art such as Huang Yong Ping and Shen Yuan, and calligrapher-painter Yang Jiechang. The gallery also announced its inaugural exhibition in Singapore, titled “Ambiguous Yesterday, Fated Tomorrow.” The group showcase will spotlight the works of Chinese dissident artist-activist Ai Weiwei, Thai painter Kitti Narod, Bangkok-based artist Gongkan, and Filipino painter Tiffany Lafuente. 

The Hong Kong Tourism Board’s "Cha Chaan Teng" cafe experience at Art Basel Hong Kong in 2024. Courtesy Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Hong Kong Signs Deal with Art Basel

On June 12, the Hong Kong Tourism Board announced a three-year global partnership with mega art fair Art Basel to promote Hong Kong’s art and culture worldwide. The initiative was sparked during Art Basel Hong Kong 2024, when the tourism board was invited to create an immersive cha chaan teng exhibit that highlighted the city’s signature food and drinks. The board will take part in all four annual fairs in the coming years, the first being Art Basel Paris in October. A spokesman from the board stated that the Paris exhibit would be an “immersive Hong Kong-themed zone,” with details yet to be finalized, and its executive director Dane Cheng Ting-yat stated: “By sharing the city’s unique character through immersive experiences on the world’s most prestigious art platform, we hope to inspire travelers to visit our city and discover its thriving creative community and rich cultural experiences.”

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