Curator raising the profile of South East Asian art
Every Step in the Right Direction, the title Flores has given the Singapore Biennale 2019 (of which he is the artistic director), is taken from the revolutionary fighter Salud Algabre, who resisted US occupation of the Philippines. Flores has described the biennial as an opportunity to extend the process of reimagining Southeast Asia independently of its construction by colonial powers. The Filipino curator certainly isn’t resting on his laurels, combining his responsibilities as curator of the Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center of the University of the Philippines in Manila, where he is also a professor, with a role as adjunct curator at the National Gallery Singapore. In his work at the latter institution, as at the biennial, he has resisted the trends towards spectacular gestures in favour of an idea of lasting change as effected through ‘time, patience and sustained commitment’. Which combination of positive mental attitude and elbow grease might explain why he’s moving in the right direction on this list.