An encounter between poetry and visual art from Singapore
Exhibition opening 23 March 2018, Myanm/art Gallery, Yangon
Intersection is an exhibition of poetry and visual art by Singaporean poet Marc Nair and visual artist Nicola Anthony. The work maps an architecture of memory at the junction of three diverse cities: Yangon, London, and Singapore.
A recipient of the 2016 Young Artist Award, Singapore’s highest arts accolade for artists under 35, Marc is a poet, spoken word performer and photographer. He has spoken about poetry at TEDx and has published seven volumes of poetry. Nicola has been shortlisted to represent Singapore in the Sovereign Asian Art Prize 2018 and recently had her solo exhibition at Singapore Art Museum. She is a British artist who grew up in London and now lives and works in Southeast Asia. She often creates text-based art and uses innovative processes to create her artworks, drawings and kinetic text sculptures.
The exhibition is travelling to Yangon this March, and has been five years in the making. Both artists journeyed to each city to engage in field research, resulting in the initial body of work which debuted in 2017. Intersection, though, is a work in progress, and new work will be created on site at Myanm/art Gallery.
Nicola’s artworks reflect and even embed Marc’s poems and, in turn, the poems evolve in response to Nicola’s artworks. Best experienced as a creative dialogue, the exhibition consists of installation works, sculptures, poems and drawings. A limited edition artist book has also been published. Printed using a risograph technique, it lends the pages the exquisite feel of handmade screen prints.
In this show, Marc’s poems organically bloom within everyday objects which are reinterpreted by Nicola. For example, To Mecca, a poem which reminds us that the port area of Kampong Glam in Singapore was once the pilgrim hub for Southeast Asia, is written onto a ship and imprisoned in a bottle (as pictured above). Three miniature sculptures, created in the form of a saung (traditional Burmese harp), are suspended from the ceiling and paired with a haiku poem.
Referring to Yangon’s history and the strata of memories in all three cities, fragmented drawings become dislocated and relocated (such as in the artworks Pilgrimage, 2016 and In small amounts we are made whole, 2018). Meanwhile, in other works such as After Oud, laser-cut letters taken from Marc’s poetry are displayed in glass vessels, resembling objects in a cabinet of curiosities.
Throughout her career, Nicola has made extensive use of paper and text in experimental forms, such as her signature technique of hand-burning her drawings with incense sticks; which subtly refers to themes of faith and death, genesis and destruction. In other pieces, when Marc’s poems address the passage of time and change, the dilution of watercolour ink on calligraphy paper epitomises the constant transformations of Yangon and the ephemeral nature of life.
By comparing cross-sections of neighbourhoods in their home cities of London and Singapore, and exploring Yangon as a completely new city, Marc and Nicola strive to express the secret links which bind personal and national stories. Ultimately they show how a universal dimension exists in any personal experience, transcending time and space.
Nicola Anthony is a British artist living in SouthEast Asia and working internationally. Born in London, she studied at University of the Arts London (CSM) and Loughborough University. Nicola has just been shortlisted for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize 2018.
Her recent museum solo exhibition was commissioned by Singapore Art Museum. Her previous solo show and published book, Intersection, were created during her time as artist-in-residence the NPE Art Residency, receiving National Art Council Singapore funding to exhibit in Singapore 2017 and Myanmar 2018. Recently her traveling sculpture Great Soul has been shown at the Kuala Lumpur Art Biennale, National Art Gallery in Malaysia, Vargas Museum in Manila, the Aceh Tsunami Museum in Indonesia, and Oil Art Space in Hong Kong.
Around the world Nicola has exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery Project Space (London), the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (USA), Shinjuku Creators Fiesta (Tokyo), & featured in shows around Asia and Europe. Her artwork has received sponsorship from Tate Britain, & been exhibited in Tate Modern’s ‘No Soul for Sale’.
Nicola’s artwork is an assemblage of ethereal moments. She focuses her research on untold stories, social memory, oral histories, and the process of capturing fleeting moments.
www.nicolaanthony.com | @Nicola_anthony
Marc Nair is a poet and photographer from Singapore. He is a recipient of the 2016 Young Artist Award.
A graduate of the National University of Singapore, he majored in English Literature and taught for five years at a junior college before striking out as a full-time writer, photographer and curator. He has published seven volumes of poetry and has been featured in numerous anthologies both print and online.
A seasoned poetry slammer, he has performed spoken word for over ten years in more than ten countries and has represented Singapore in international poetry slam competitions. He is also a founding member of local spoken word troupe, Party Action People. A TedXSingapore speaker, he has worked on projects with companies and institutions such as Nespresso, Costa Coffee, Perrier Jouet, AWARE and BURO 24/7.
Marc was the 2015 Writer-In-Residence at Gardens by the Bay and the 2016-17 NTU-NAC National Writer in Residence. He is currently Poet-In-Residence at Eunoia Junior College in Singapore.
Marc is also a musician who sets his poems to music. To date, he has released two spoken word albums with his band, Neon and Wonder, and has collaborated with well-known Singapore musicians such as Bani Haykal, weish and Tim De Cotta.
Exhibition opening reception Friday 23 March, 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Exhibition continues 23 March – 8 April
Workshops led by Nicola Anthony and Marc Nair will be held on 24 & 25 March respectively.
An evening of poetry by Marc Nair and leading Myanmar poets will be held on 24 March from 7:30 – 9:00pm.
Gallery opening hours
Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 – 7:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 – 5:00 pm
Location Myanm/art, 3rd Floor, 98 Bogalay Zay Street, Yangon, Myanmar
+95 9421161755 // +95 9421721293 // +65 91268957
Exhibition curated in partnership with Myanm/art (Yangon, Myanmar) & Intersections Gallery (Singapore).
Myanm/art is a project space and resource center located in Yangon, Myanmar. The centre represent artists from all over Myanmar, both young and emerging, and work to raise awareness of their ongoing creative projects, both locally and internationally. Myanmar/art sell artwork to support artists and ourselves, rent their venue for events, and provide free space for artists to host screenings, workshops, exhibits, concerts, and research.
Intersection is presented in partnership with Intersections Gallery in Singapore, a supporter of the arts in Singapore, Myanmar and beyond. Last year, the debut Intersection exhibition took place in Singapore, at Intersections Gallery, who has kindly supported and given a home to the first leg of this touring collection.
Works from the Intersection series have been collected all over Asia and further afield, now existing in collections in Manila, Singapore, Hungary, Thailand, Germany, France, and the temporary collection at the French Residence of Singapore.
Images of artworks by Nicola Anthony, as featured in this press release, in chronological order:
Hollowed in all manner of conclusions, incense-burned calligraphy paper and ink, 60x40cm, 2016.
To Mecca, mixed media, 18x18x20cm, 2016.
Saung, incense-burned calligraphy paper, ink, wire, 30x60cm, 2016.