Singapore – To showcase the role of art in society, National Gallery Singapore presents the second edition of Painting with Light: Festival of International Films on Art, using the evocative medium of film to shed light on important issues around the world in a bid to create new ways of seeing. This year, there will also be a Special Focus section on communities in transition.
Taking place from 5 to 28 October 2018, the only film festival in Singapore dedicated to art returns this year with over 30 thought-provoking films by Singapore, regional and international filmmakers and artists. Comprising a mix of award-winning feature-length and short films, as well as singlechannel works, the selection is thoughtfully curated to facilitate conversations on the role of art and museums in offering new perspectives to critical issues in society today.
Ms. Suenne Megan Tan, Director for Audience Development and Engagement at the Gallery, and the Festival Director of Painting with Light said, “This year, Painting with Light traces the ways in which we are moved by the transformative power in art. Through film, we take a closer look at the challenges of transition, migration and displacement, and the role art plays in shaping new realities in the face of these issues. By harnessing film’s storytelling power, we hope to connect with a wider audience, encourage appreciation for the arts, and to foster a thoughtful and inclusive society.”
The Festival consists of four sections, with this year’s Special Focus drawing attention to the reality and experience of displacement, an issue that is central to many of today’s most critical global debates.
WAYS OF SEEING
Films on artists and their interventions on society
Films on institutions of art and their communities
Films that capture the reality of transition
SOUTHEAST ASIAN SHORTS
Short films on the stories of Southeast Asia
Opening Film: Their Remaining Journey by John Clang
The festival will open with the debut feature of acclaimed Singapore visual artist John Clang, entitled Their Remaining Journey (2018), which examines the intertwining stories of three seemingly unrelated groups of people around the world as they negotiate personal loss and displacement. Clang’s film enters the intimate worlds of his characters with sensitivity—portraying their private consternation from being in between states—and tells of an existence that transcends time and space, life and death.
This year’s Special Focus section highlights the unsettling experience of transition, capturing the challenges of displacement, migration and the diasporic experience for millions around the world. Glimpse (2017) by Polish visual artist Artur Żmijewski, and Central Airport THF (2018) by basedin-Berlin Brazilian visual artist Karim Aïnouz, reflect the nature of the directors’ engagement with the current refugee crisis. Żmijewski’s film presents the living conditions of displaced families living at four refugee camps across Europe, and forces us to confront the way we see. Aïnouz’s film, on the other hand, follows asylum seekers at the massive hangers of the former Tempelhof.
Airport in Berlin, which were now turned into emergency shelters, where they cope with homesickness and the anxiety of their future residency or be deported.
(Left to right) Glimpse by Artur Żmijewski; Central Airport THF by Karim Aïnouz
Ms. Pauline Soh, Painting with Light Festival Programmer said, “Żmijewski’s unrelenting take on the refugees’ bleak living conditions, and Aïnouz’s sensitive compositions surfacing their humanity, together bring to light the immense sense of loss but also abiding hope of these displaced peoples. The refugee crisis has ignited fiery debates across the world in recent years; we hope these films can bring about a deeper reflection on such issues as we navigate an uncertain future.”
The Tailor by Kay Nguyen and Tran Buu Loc
Festival goers can also catch screenings of romantic comedy The Tailor (2017) by Vietnamese directors Kay Nguyen and Tran Buu Loc. This heartwarming film celebrates the enduring beauty of Vietnamese artistry through the adventures of a young heiress to an ao dai fashion house in Saigon and her attempt to save her family business by creating the modern ao dai.
At selected screenings, the audience will have the opportunity to meet with some of these filmmakers and artists during intimate post-screening dialogues. As part of the opening weekend, the Gallery will also be organising a public forum on 6 October with filmmakers Kamila Andini and John Clang, as well as historian Dr Mohamed Effendy as they explore cultural notions of performative spirituality and displacement surfaced in the films.
More information on Painting with Light: Festival of International Films of Art 2018 can be found on www.nationalgallery.sg/paintingwithlight. Tickets are available from the Gallery, as well as SISTIC websites and ticketing counters.