The Ryan Foundation, a private non-profit arts organisation started by lawyer and art collector Ryan Su, is proud to kick off Singapore’s art calendar in 2019 with Unhomed Belongings — Singapore’s first major art exhibition featuring award-winning Hollywood actress and artist Lucy Liu (USA) and Jurors’ Choice Award recipient Shubigi Rao (Singapore).

The exhibition is free to the public and will run from 12 January to 24 February 2019 at the historic Stamford Gallery in the National Museum of Singapore. Liu will also make her first trip to Singapore to commemorate the opening. The Ryan Foundation serves as a lively and accessible key player in the local and regional art scene, with a mission to promote arts awareness in Singapore and around the world.

Lucy Liu and Shubigi Rao: Unhomed Belongings is co-organised by The Ryan Foundation and the National Museum of Singapore. Unhomed Belongings presents artworks by two creative minds, Lucy Liu (b.1968) from the United States and Shubigi Rao (b.1975) from Singapore, with striking overlaps in perspective and subject matter. Through an exploration of their respective practices, the artists slowly developed into “visual penfriends” as their discourse unveiled similar themes. Liu and Rao share an interest in examining and dissecting cultures, histories, identities and relationships. Both are also drawn to the repurposing of found objects in their art, as these objets trouvés become narrators to their creations and conduits to their expressions. The artistic dialogue between these two kindred spirits will be documented for the first time at the National Museum of Singapore, with the exhibition housed in the Stamford Gallery, the museum’s oldest and most historically rich space.

“It is important for The Ryan Foundation to be a platform with an international outlook that encourages diverse cultural exchanges around art. The Singapore art scene is developing, and it is timely to show two artists who happen to be strong women as they navigate themes of identity and growth with such honesty and strength. We connected instantly with Lucy and her art, and knew at once we had to share her powerful work with everyone,” said Ryan Su, founding director of The Ryan Foundation. “We are committed to raising the profile of contemporary art in Singapore and Asia by collaborating with international artists to present publicly engaging content.”

Unhomed Belongings highlights the honest parallels between two artists who hitherto have never met before, yet possess interesting commonalities in their artistic practices. Their artworks are presented in thoughtful conversation: Liu’s installation Lost and Found echoes Rao’s Stabbing at Immortality: Building a Better Jellyfish, where the artists invite viewers to examine objects that may seem ordinary at first glance but possess peculiar character when observed up-close. Through their delicate yet deliberate craftwork, Liu and Rao transform the ordinary into the conceptual, and the salvaged into the sublime.

Liu’s artwork addresses themes of security, salvation, and the long-term effects of personal relationships on our physical and emotional selves. Her exploration spans multiple mediums, taking the forms of painting, sculpture, collage, silkscreen, video and found objects appropriated into handmade reliquaries. A key artwork featured in Unhomed Belongings is an installation titled Lost and Found, which consists of discarded objects Liu picks up on her travels, hidden in around 200 hand-made books. Visitors are encouraged to pick up the books and open them, and free to replace them anywhere within the installation. In this way, visitors become participants in a cycle of rediscovery, as the lost objects are given new meaning not only through the narrative that Lucy has created for them within her books, but also through the constant re-ordering of the books themselves.

“Many people know me as an actress, but visual art has always been an equally important part of my life. My work is personal in nature – inspired by my memories and experiences, by shifting notions of security and salvation, and how these experiences and ideas manifest themselves physically in the body. It is exciting to be able to connect with new audiences through all expressions of art, and I am so excited to exhibit my works in Singapore for the first time, presented in conversation with Shubigi Rao, a Singaporean female artist. I would like to thank The Ryan Foundation and the National Museum of Singapore for their incredible efforts in making this possible,” said Lucy Liu, featured artist, award-winning actress and director.

The Ryan Foundation is a Singapore non-profit arts organisation that aims to increase arts awareness by developing ambitious projects and exhibitions in Singapore and around the world. Previous exhibitions organised by The Ryan Foundation include Andy Warhol: Social Circus in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (featuring the largest collection of Warhol’s Polaroid photography ever exhibited in Asia), Ryder Ripps’ Diventare Schiavo in Venice and Singapore (a virtual reality artwork that challenged the boundaries of contemporary art) and Re|Collecting Asia: Selections from Singapore Private Collections.

Lucy Liu and Shubigi Rao: Unhomed Belongings is the highlight of the Singapore art calendar in January 2019, a month when the city will be abuzz with art fairs, exhibitions and gallery openings. This monumental exhibition creates an interesting interaction between Liu’s and Rao’s work by representing contemporary issues of identity and relationships, and positions Singapore as a global destination for contemporary artists. The exhibition will run from 12 January to 24 February 2019 at the National Museum of Singapore, and admission is free to the public. Events planned for Unhomed Belongings include an artist talk and an art collectors’ roundtable, details of which will be released in due course. The Ryan Foundation and the National Museum of Singapore will also jointly publish a limited edition hardcover catalogue for the landmark exhibition in a print run of 500.

Find out more here.

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