National Gallery Singapore today announced a first-ever collaboration with five award-winning ASEAN film directors to celebrate Southeast Asian art. Titled Art Through Our Eyes, the directors will create short films inspired by the Gallery’s Southeast Asian art collection to give audiences unique and dramatised interpretations of the exhibits, and deepen their appreciation of modern art from this region.
Each of the five directors – Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand), Brillante Mendoza (Philippines), Eric Khoo (Singapore), Ho Yuhang (Malaysia) and Joko Anwar (Indonesia) – handpicked a masterpiece from the 19th and 20th century as inspiration for their short films. The selected artworks include Merapi, Eruption By Day (1865) and Merapi, Eruption By Night (1865) by Raden Saleh, Marketplace during the Occupation (1942) by Fernando Cueto Amorsolo, Portable Cinema (1977) by Chua Mia Tee, Aku (1958) by Latiff Mohidin and Wounded Lion (c. 1839) by Raden Saleh.
“We are excited to work with all five film directors who have produced award-winning bodies of work. The collaboration is part of National Gallery Singapore’s efforts to present not only unique perspectives about Singapore and Southeast Asian art but also to make it accessible globally to diverse audiences,” said Dr Eugene Tan, Director, National Gallery Singapore.
“Art transcends nationalities and we hope this project can spark cross-border dialogues about Southeast Asian art. We want to create a sense of curiosity when audiences view the films and encourage them to form their own connections with and interpretations of the artworks when they visit the Gallery.”
The film project follows the success of the Gallery’s My Masterpiece series where 12 well-known Singapore personalities shared their take on different paintings. Through such initiatives, the Gallery hopes to establish new connections with a wider regional audience and to encourage stronger appreciation of Southeast Asian modern art.
The film collaboration is supported by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC), in line with efforts to nurture a vibrant film sector. The short films will be separately produced in the directors’ home countries, and showcased together later this year.
Mr Joachim Ng, Director of the Singapore Film Commission (SFC), said, “Leveraging the emotive power of films to bring the stories behind the works of art to life is a wonderful initiative which SFC is happy to support. Bringing together such a distinguished group of filmmakers to realise this idea is icing on the cake, which will enable more people to better appreciate both film and art from Singapore and Southeast Asia.”
For more information on the film directors and the artworks selected, please refer to the Annexes in the press release PDF.