Salleh Japar

update 27.09.03
born in Singapore in 1962, lives and works in Singapore.

Salleh Japar trained at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore and graduated with a Diploma in Fine Arts. He went on to obtain his Bachelor of Fine Arts with Distinction from Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia in 1990. A lecturer at his Singaporean alma mater between 1990 and 1995, Salleh Japar was appointed member on Course Validation as well as to the Overseas Student Council following his Pg Dip in Art Education at the University of Central England, United Kingdom, in 1996. Now Lecturer & Director of Foundation Studies, LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore, Salleh has also been a volunteer art tutor at the Handicap Welfare Association and an Assistant Curator of Art at the National Museum in Singapore.

Recipient of many grants and scholarships for his art and discipline, Salleh has participated and exhibited in more than 60 programmes and exhibitions in Singapore and internationally.


Salleh Japar: Gurindam dan Igauan
4 Sep - 26 Sep 2004 • Earl Lu Gallery I, LASALLE-SIA

Gurindam dan Igauan continues the pertinent re-examination and re-contextualisation of traditional Malay art and craft in an increasingly globalised world, a subject that has characterised Salleh Japar's artistic practice. This new installation by Salleh is inspired by the old Gurindam, a classical form of Malay pantun that addresses issues of morality and ethics. These issues are juxtaposed with the symbolism of traditional Malay culture in order to examine the slippages in cultural meanings that have arisen in contemporary society. Gurindam dan Igauan fundamentally re-examines the relationship of traditional Malay ideologies to contemporary art practice and extends the discourse of contemporary Asian art.

Artist Talk by Salleh Japar
18 Sep 2004 • 2.00pm - 3.00pm • Earl Lu Gallery I, LASALLE-SIA

 Gurindam dan Igauan (Detail) Installation 2004

Thought out of season


Kemelut 2001


Venice Biennale 2001

Salleh Japar’s works may be defined by a broad interest in the problem of knowledge and the limitation of rationalist inquiry. While the theme of science affords him the discursive platform to negotiate the precarious nature of rationalist positions, the artist also identifies and locates the problematic project of history in his latest work in the Venice Biennale. For the Venice Biennale, Salleh will create a series of three spaces that are sequential and experiential. The audience will first encounter a large metal-clad wall. The wall connects the two other spaces; one dominated by the presence and smell of spices, and the other, salt. For Salleh, these series of materials provide a metaphor of engagements between colonial powers and the colonised. The references to the history of Venetian and European trade, the rise of West and its colonisation of the East, and the West’s conception of its history and achievements, are some of the conceptual issues being addressed by Salleh. Salleh seeks to address the West’s assumption of its own history, as well as its ownership over that history. He dislocates and dislodges historical fragments so that they can be opened to multiple inquiries. Salleh also identifies fragments – marginalised or forgotten texts, materials and experiences – that can provide broader and richer meanings to an otherwise static and stable picture.

Trimurti & Ten years after (1999):
This exhibition features works of 3 Singapore contemporary artists. S. Chandrasekaran, Goh Ee Choo and Salleh Japar. These artists are involved in using values found in Asian cultures and philosophies as basis for their "newer" modes of expressions.

Some Works:

Axis Mundi Series
Beyond Boundaries
Born Out Of Fire
Box: Elements (Water, Wind, Fire)
Crossroads II
Fitrah (Human Nature)
Gunungan II
Mechanised Learning
Thought Out Of Season

Dingo Flat Workshop:
The Second Western Australian International Artists' Workshop was held at Dingo Flat farm, Tingledale, Walpole from 28th January to 11th February 2001. 25 artists from different parts of Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean participated. Salleh Japar participated on behalf of Singapore.



Kwok Kian Chow. Channels & Confluences: A History of Singapore Art. Singapore: National Heritage Board/Singapore Art Museum, 1996

T.K. Sabapathy. Trimurti: And Ten Years After. Singapore: National Heritage Board/Singapore Art Museum, 1998.