open hearts, open minds,
open spaces
The O.P.E.N. is ultimately concerned with creating a sustainable ecosystem of the arts in Singapore. Singapore International Festival of Arts proposes to move beyond sheer consumerism in the arts, with its trend of ‘use and throw’. Instead we hope to transform the cultural landscape of Singapore by encouraging audience ownership of ideas, issues and themes, 4 weeks before the Festival opens on 12 August 2014.

Too often, an arts festival is a U.F.O. which descends on the city and then leaves as suddenly as it arrives. The O.P.E.N. hopes to create an atmosphere, a climate which will welcome the Festival and persist thereafter.

We have invited both Singapore and international connectors who will connect the legacy of the 20th Century to you. There are 5 main tags to guide your journeys through the last century – legacies of violence, digital legacies, iconic legacies, personal legacies and legacies of science. Apartheid, one of the horrors of the 20th century which is still being vanquished through activism in South Africa (legacies of violence), and the internet/digitisation which transformed our lives in that same century (digital legacies), hold pride of place in this year’s O.P.E.N. Gene profiteering continues to threaten our future (legacies of science). The central proposition of SIFA 2014 is the avant garde of the 20th century from 1960s-70s has become the new, expanded classic of our 21st century (iconic legacies). Finally The O.P.E.N. puts at the centrestage, the human individual who can possibly transform the future (personal legacies).

Finally I would like to give my personal thanks on behalf of SIFA to Zanele Muholi, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Simon Castets, and Noorlinah Mohamed for sharing central ideas, issues and themes. A grateful thank you to Korea Arts Management Services (KAMS) and Prince Claus Foundation. The O.P.E.N. could not have happened without Tan Bee Thiam (curator of films), Ho Rui An (curator of 89plus panels), Teo Swee Leng (film traffic), Tay Tong who coordinated all and sundry, Fred Frumberg our fastidious production director, The O.P.E.N. team of Benedict Leong, Tan Kheng Hua, Noorlinah Mohamed, and all who have given their generous energies to realize The O.P.E.N. (26 June – 12 July 2014).

Ong Keng Sen
Festival Director


Zanele Muholi
26 June 2014, 8pm
Venue: 72–13

Don’t miss, “Collaboration, Art, Social Change”, a talk with award-winning South African photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi at the opening of Faces and Phases exhibition.

“Zanele Muholi is a photographer and visual activist who affirms and celebrates the multiplicity of human identity and sexuality. Representing the black female body in an honest and compelling way, her intimate portrayal of love reveals beauty and tenderness, and asserts the joy of close relationships with radical and liberating energy.

Parallel with the production of these inspiring images, Muholi works on Faces and Phases (ongoing since 2006), an expanding archive of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in South Africa. Muholi’s integrity and affinity with those she photographs establishes deep trust and creates dignified visual statements. In addition she has done important work on hate crimes against LGBT people, the trials of perpetrators and funerals of victims.” 
Prince Claus Award official citation 2013

Photos © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Copyright 2014. Arts House Limited.
Unless otherwise stated, other images by Jeannie Ho