Diobok-Obok: International Travelling Exhibition of ASEAN Contemporary Art Heritage

Diobok- Obok - 19-22 Nov, Singapore Art Museum

This exposition is a preview, conceived on a reduced scale, of a project featuring contemporary art from Southeast Asia intended as a travelling exhibition to venues in Europe in 2000AD. It is organised under the auspices of the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (COCI); in this regard it has a genealogy that reaches back into the 1980s.

"Diobok-Obok" is an exhibition of works by contemporary artists from countries in Southeast Asia. The nucleus of the title ("Diobok-Obok") is derived from a song, currently popular in Indonesia. It means stirring water in a tank or container thereby agitating / unsettling the elements in it. The title alludes to the tumultuous changes, upheavals in Southeast Asia along a number of fronts, such as the political, economic, social and cultural. In the midst of the powerful tides of change are also anxieties over disruptions or dislocations of norms and ways of life which are valued as marking traditions or distinct ways of conduct. In these circumstances, the validity of the region as constituted by ASEAN has come under scrutiny, and a deep disillusionment has set in.

Artists are in the forefront in giving expression to these changes and volatile circumstances; this exhibition seeks to convey some of the engagements. This will be undertaken by considering four themes, namely:

Social Transformation
Technology and New Media

Contemporary art practices vary in the countries that make up the region; works selected for the exhibition are to convey these variations in comparative contexts and situations.