Illuminations: To See Art in Singapore

Chloe Ho

University Of Melbourne

Current scholarship has productively analysed the impact of organised religion upon consciously religious artistic practice. From votive images to religiously-inflected narratives, impressive work has been done on the social and material culture of faith. Less attention has been given to the impact of religious practices upon secular society. In places like Singapore, where clear links between ethnicity and nationality do not exist, historical migratory patterns have allowed diverse rituals and imagery generally associated with specific religions to naturalise as part of the local culture and society. In the declination of religion from action or image, however, the discussion of these forms is often dismissed as simply part of the local traditions.  This paper takes a promiscuous and polytheistic view of religion, borrowing primarily from Buddhist and Christian thought toward an understanding of works by Lee Wen (b. 1957-d. 2019) and Suzann Victor (b. 1959-). It considers institutionalised faith as scholarly perspectives that inform and become part of these artists worldviews without necessarily inducting the artists into any congregation. Finally, it considers illumination: what does it mean to see and encounter the spiritual and to what extent are these visual pathways productive in our reception of these artists’ work?


Biography: To come

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The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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