The quality of un-belonging: Singapore's contemporary art, geography, and the embodiment of the marginal other

Teo, Elaine Thanye Marie (2017) The quality of un-belonging: Singapore's contemporary art, geography, and the embodiment of the marginal other. Masters thesis, LASALLE College of the Arts.

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Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: The quality of un-belonging: Singapore's contemporary art, geography, and the embodiment of the marginal other
Synopsis:

“The Singapore Story” weaves history into a narrative with moral takeaways for the country’s entire citizenry. Ideas of vulnerability, meritocracy, and constant economic progress are held up as key defining traits of the nation-state. Of the three, vulnerability is the underlying force driving all else. The economic imperatives of the state post-independence meant that what was marketed as fundamental to Singaporean identity played upon Orientalist fantasies. In particular, the late 1960s to early 1970s saw the adoption of a curious set of icons: The Singapore Girl, the Merlion, and the white-polymarble replica statue of Raffles. This trinity sealed Singapore, and her people into a time capsule of sorts, allowing it to play its hand as a (formerly) colonised state to lure foreign capital.
Contemporary artists in Singapore have had to reckon with a notion of identity that is strongly rooted in this binary. The totalizing narrative of the nation-state has made the discourse addressing tensions beneath Singapore’s assumed global role relatively moot in the country. However, as contemporary artists in Singapore travel overseas, they assume this role of the marginal ‘Other’, many of them portraying “otherness” to its very hilt. These works have come to gain prominence either in Singapore’s art historical canon, or in numerous exhibitions. This thesis examines two specific series of artworks by two contemporary artists from Singapore.
These are Yellow Man (Lee Wen), and Singirl (Amanda Heng).The study considers these works within the concept of a continual feeling of alienation, as outlined in Irit Rogoff’s Terra Infirma, and the concept of being “un-homed” as outlined by Homi Bhabha. In considering the artworks from this perspective, this paper hopes to fully recognise the different pressures that contemporary artists from Singapore face when engaging with sanctioned discourse.

Subjects: Art History
Art History > Art Singaporean influence
Divisions: Faculty of Fine Arts > Master - Asian Art Histories
Depositing User: Ms Ashalatha Krishnan
Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 04:11
Last Modified: 13 May 2019 04:11
URI: http://drlib.lasalle.edu.sg/id/eprint/580
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