From Gallery Walls into the Digital and Virtual Domain

Published January 23, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Len Amadora

Long recognized as the pinnacle of Singapore’s Visual Arts scene, the Singapore Art Week (SAW) returns in the new year, this time transporting art from gallery walls and physical spaces into the digital and virtual domain.  Happening from January 22 to 30, 2021, SAW 2021 is a joint initiative by the National Arts Council (NAC), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

Now on its 9th year, Singapore’s signature visual arts season celebrates the coming together of the island nation’s vibrant artist community during unprecedented times—simultaneously navigating new modes of artmaking and presentation while looking forward to new possibilities for the future.

Over on, online visitors to SAW 2021 can enjoy the 360-degree view function to explore the virtual exhibitions and live-streamed events. Viewers can also appreciate the largest number of commissioned works to date, with over 40 outstanding Singapore-based projects reflecting the diverse capabilities of Singaporean artists and curators.

With the goal of “going beyond the confines of the physical into the digital space,” SAW 2021 will present over 100 arts events across both physical and digital spaces, featuring new works, transnational collaborations and virtual art experiences that allow audiences from around the world to discover and experience Southeast Asian art. Offering a diverse range of works from Singapore’s arts and cultural institutions, private galleries, nonprofit arts organizations, as well as independent artists and curators, audiences can enjoy SAW 2021 through physical presentations complemented by digital programmes accessible from the comfort of their homes.

“As a hybrid event, SAW 2021 continues to reflect the ever-evolving vibrant art scene in Singapore, featuring a range of quality visual arts projects, discussions, and exhibitions for the local and international audience to enjoy,” said Ruby Liu, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Area Director for Philippines. “We invite Filipinos to reimagine their appreciation and love for art through engaging in our must-see events, as art crosses over to the digital space.”

Art enthusiasts can check out the work of Filipino interdisciplinary artist Pow Martinez in S.E.A. Focus 2021—showcase of some of the finest contemporary art from across Southeast Asia.

Anyone with a smartphone can try the Instagram Augmented Reality (AR) filter enabled Wild Critters, where five artists and collectives—Tell Your Children, Machineast, SuperCyberTown, ClogTwo and UFHO—have created a fictional endangered critter that lives across five different habitats in the Gillman Barracks.

Filipinos can also immerse themselves in Inner Like The OutAR, an art installation featuring psychotropic digital environments through augmented reality—bringing viewers closer to the magic of nature.

Even during these unusual times, SAW continues to be a spotlight, gathering and launchpad for the arts community in Singapore, in line with the larger #SGCultureAnywhere campaign, sounding a call towards the creation of new networks, shared knowledge and connectivity both locally and regionally.

Visit for the full SAW 2021 event line-up.