Kawita Vatanajyankur, Scale of Injustice, 2021
Estimate: $3,000 - 5,500 (S$4,100 - 7,500)
Lot 37, National Gallery Singapore Benefit | Past. Future. Present. Online Auction, January 10-20
Since opening in 2015, National Gallery Singapore has established itself as one of Asia’s premier cultural institutions, housing the world’s largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian modern art. Phillips is proud to support the museum in its upcoming 2022 Gallery Benefit.
The event is National Gallery Singapore’s main fundraising benefit and brings together a community of like-minded artists, individuals, collectors and patrons for an evening of lively discussion and art appreciation. The highlight of the evening is the Charity Auction, with 13 lots from a diverse group of artists working across the globe, particularly Southeast Asia. Running alongside the Charity Auction is an online sale of 47 lots, which runs from January 10-20.
National Gallery Singapore houses the world’s largest public collection of Singaporean and Southeast Asian modern art.
Proceeds will support the museum’s vision of fostering and inspiring a thoughtful, creative and inclusive society. Patrons can select among individualized pillars of support to dedicate their donations to, including Community and Access, Curatorial Research and Education.
The theme of this year’s benefit is “Past. Future. Present.”, which encourages attendees to reflect on their relationship with technology as well as its effects and repercussions on society. In line with this theme, we’ve selected works from the sale that reflect on our shared past, interrogate contemporary issues of the present and offer bold visions for the future.
Khairulddin Wahab, Words in Amber, 2019
Estimate: $4,000 - 5,500 (S$5,400 - 7,500)
Lot 35, National Gallery Singapore Benefit | Past. Future. Present. Online Auction, January 10-20
Khairulddin Wahab’s paintings weave narratives drawn from anthropology, environmental history and post-colonialism in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Words in Amber is part of his Island Story series, inspired by Singapore’s early history, myths and folklore.
The series chronicles the journey of Toah, a sea nomad in 14th-century Singapore, alongside Chinese explorer, Zheng He, for whom he acts as a convoy and guide to an unknown island, as they search for a mysterious figure who ruled the land. Along the way, they encounter characters who threaten to derail their quest.
In this painting, the characters are able to sign their way to a semblance of understanding despite speaking different languages. Amidst the calls of cicadas and chirps of crickets, they share tales of life and adventure around the glowing embers of a bonfire.
Estimate: $4,800 - 6,500 (S$6,500 - 8,800)
Lot 16, National Gallery Singapore Benefit | Past. Future. Present. Online Auction, January 10-20
Ripple Root is the moniker of artist duo Liquan Liew, born in Malaysia, and Singapore-born Estella Ng. Their carefree works reflect the themes of nature and wildlife with distinct Southeast Asian ornamentation seen in folkloric patterns combined with a contemporary twist.
This particular work is a fantastical interpretation of Sir Stamford Raffles, who was instrumental in the founding of modern Singapore. The piece features coconut palms and pineapples in a playful, rhythmic composition, as rubber, gambier and pineapple plantations were part of the natural landscape of 19th-century Singapore.
Estimate: $3,800 - 5,000 (S$5,200 - 6,800)
Lot 23, National Gallery Singapore Benefit | Past. Future. Present. Online Auction, January 10-20
Indian-born artist Kanchana Gupta’s practice has been described as a process-driven exploration of and response to urban environments. The pressures of unprecedented migrations, rapid urbanization and overwhelming globalization are expressed through the extreme manual and industrial duress to which she subjects her medium.
Her Edges and Residues series contemplates the reciprocal relationship between the surface and layers of paint, as well as the social significance of the materials. Gupta focuses on acts of tearing and peeling tarpaulin and jute sheets, materials used extensively at construction sites in India and by migrant communities to build temporary homes. In doing so, she engages the space between the support surface and layers of paint. Each surface not only leaves its unique imprint on the layers of paint but also creates ragged edges, traces left behind by force.
Estimate: $5,500 - 12,000 (S$7,500 - 16,300)
Lot 29, National Gallery Singapore Benefit | Past. Future. Present. Online Auction, January 10-20
A graduate of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and 2000 recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award, Hong Sek Chern is known for her experimentation in Chinese ink and stylistic interpretations of Singapore’s urban landscapes. Here, the towering skyscrapers of downtown Singapore’s Shenton Way are immaculately rendered in Chinese ink on rice paper.
Estimate: $3,200 - 5,000 (S$4,300 - 6,800)
Lot 15, National Gallery Singapore Benefit | Past. Future. Present. Online Auction, January 10-20
Belgian-born, Singapore-based Delphine Rama sees each geometric shape and color on her canvases as an interpretation of our society. In this triptych, “escape pod” refers to the emergency capsules found aboard vessels. These works reflect on the role and power that symbols and instruments of quantum supremacy and quantum mechanics have in social structures. By interpreting, abandoning and re-contextualizing them, these tools represent new systems of order and coding, finally offering an alternative of escape.
Rama’s training in architecture and fine art from the Academie Royale des Beaux Arts is evident in her artistic process, which involves meticulously researching the composition and colors in her paintings. Warm and cool colors constantly battle to provide a sense of visual equilibrium, while the irregularities in geometric forms provide a sense of materiality to her paintings. It is in these details where we find the overarching theme of her work: an existential exploration of the self.
Estimate: $2,600 - 3,500 (S$3,500 - 4,800)
Lot 34, National Gallery Singapore Benefit | Past. Future. Present. Online Auction, January 10-20
Marla Bendini’s work focuses on the politicized body and its hypervisibility. Drawing on her trans identity and lived experiences, she resides and operates in the in-between, interrogating the existence of absolute dichotomies. By providing us with a stark reminder of our physicality and self-identity, Marla points to the queering of these liminal spaces, towards the inevitable arrival of the trans-/post-human.
This painting expresses the transience of our emotional states. Pink clouds usher a plodding figure gently towards the edge of a plank, as if signaling to them: “Be on your way. You can’t stay here forever.” When one envisions a firm grip on an unseen object, a feeling of optimism and assurance arises — a feeling that can only be achieved when one is open to emotions.