An enchanting year awaits!

February 21, 2017

Beginning in 2014 (Legacies), the spotlight was on international artists.

In 2015, SIFA (Post-Empires) celebrated SG50 with a focus on Singapore.

Thereafter, 2016 (Potentialities) returned once again to the international, highlighting international commissions and co-productions with MOMA, Lincoln Centre, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre.

In 2017, the spotlight blazes on Singapore artists and ordinary Singaporeans who take the international platform with their ideas and their performances in a year that promises “Enchantment”.

Not of the Disney-esque fantasies, nor the idea of escapism that one often associate the word ‘enchantment’ with, SIFA 2017’s Enchantment is something more active, or you could say, cutting-edge. It takes its inspiration from political theorist Jane Bennett.

“The overall effect of enchantment is a mood of fullness, plenitude, or liveliness, a sense of having had one’s nerves or circulation or concentration powers turned up or recharged – a shot in the arm, a fleeting return to childlike excitement about life.”

~ Jane Bennett, The Enchantment of Modern Life, 2001


Unpacking it further, SIFA digs deep into the heels of enchantment by spotlighting the artists’ diagnosis to cynicism, inertia and fatalism.

  • Enchantment will bring us back to the unusual and unexpected of everyday life 
  • Enchantment is animating pleasure.
  • Enchantment in this age of disenchantment is to stay connected to issues, to still believe, to still engage because it is important. 
  • Enchantment is opposed to cynicism for “cynicism reduces expectations of the State and thus diminishes the will to respond collectively to injustices.”
  • Enchantment is an antidote against populism, alienation, against excessive rationality and control. 
  • Enchantment is about moments of pure presence in a future of ethical generosity.


Indeed with Enchantment, and in true SIFA fashion, changes are expected. For the first time, the 2 festivals: The O.P.E.N. (our pre-festival of ideas) and the main festival will become one long festival stretching from June to September. In the past editions, there was a gap of 1 month between the two festivals. In 2017, this gap will be bridged with more “Enchantment” programmes.

Expect also more engagement as the SIFA 2017 programme line-up will draw in arts lovers as both audience and participants.

The trajectory of the 4 editions with Founding Festival Director Ong Keng Sen takes audiences through an alternating focus of international or Singapore artists. After 2015, SIFA 2017 is a biennale of Singapore expressions with 15 commissions focusing on Singapore artists and Singapore collaborations with international artists.

The Festival will span almost four months, starting from 28 June, with The O.P.E.N. and continuing with SIFA till 9 September. It will feature:

  • 13 commissions from Singapore
  • 2 commissions of International collaborations with Singapore
  • 7 International productions


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More will be revealed in April. Look out for it.

  • 2017