Colonialism and modernity, tropics and the arts. In 1955, Ho Kok Hoe, then president of the Singapore Art Society made a months-long journey to the UK, Europe and the US. An artist and architect of local repute, curatorial legend has it that he embarked on the journey with over 200 pieces of artworks by him and 6 other Singaporean artists. His search for an exhibition venue began only upon his arrival in London, which by some minor miracle culminated in the first exhibition of Singaporean art in Europe.
Why was it that he had to go? From whence does the anxiety of artists from the periphery stem from? Perhaps it’s the hot and humid environ that some of us hail from? The fertile notion of a wild abundance sorely lacking in thought.
A work-in-progress, Seni recounts this episode of curatorial history. Taking the Malay word seni (the closest Malay word approximating the meaning of art in the Western context) as the premise in the unfolding of the film’s narrative amidst the environ of the tropics.