Zai Kuning to represent Singapore at 2017 Venice Biennale

Zai Kuning (in collaboration with Mohamad Riduan), Dapunta Hyang – Transmission of Knowledge, 2015, rattan, waxed thread, stones, books, wax, dimensions variable. Commissioned and presented by Esplanade, Singapore, 2015. Courtesy of Esplanade

Artist Zai Kuning has been chosen by Singapore’s National Arts Council to represent Singapore at the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale, The Straits reports. Zai, who is described as a multi-disciplinary artist and whose work centres around Malay history and culture, will show a new body of work which explores the Orang Laut – nomadic communities from the Riau archipelago – and the historical figure Dapunta Hyang Sri Jayanasa, a 7th century character who many believe to be the first Maharaja of the kingdom of Srivijaya which occupied much of South-East Asia. Art historian June Yap, the first curator for the Guggenheim Museum’s UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, has been appointed as the curator for the exhibition.

Zai was chosen from six entries by a panel consisting of: Ms Kathy Lai, chief executive of the arts council, NUS Museum head Ahmad Mashadi. Other members of the panel included National Gallery Singapore director Eugene Tan and Professor Ute Meta Bauer, founding director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore.

19 August 2016