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past Exhibitions

NTU CCA Singapore Exhibitions is focused on contemporary artistic production that provides a critical platform for reflection and discussion. The exhibition programme embraces artistic production in all its diverse media with a commitment to current debates in visual culture. NTU CCA Singapore presents up to four exhibitions a year ranging in format from group to solo shows giving voice to a diversity of international artists. Each exhibition is accompanied by an extensive public programme of tours, talks and workshops that foster reflections on the exhibition from various perspectives and disciplines.


Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest
In collaboration with Sudhir Pattnaik/Samadrusti and Sherna Dastur

30 July 2016 — 9 October 2016

Amar Kanwar has been filming the industrial interventions that have reshaped and permanently destroyed parts of Odisha’s landscape – a battleground on issues of development and displacement since the 1990s. The resulting conflicts between local communities, the government, and corporations over the use of agricultural lands, forests, revers and minerals, have led to an ongoing regime of violence that is unpredictable and often invisible. A long-term commitment of Kanwar, The Sovereign Forest initiates a creative response to the understanding of crime, politics, human rights and ecology. The validity of poetry as evidence in a trial, the discourse on seeing, and the determination of self, all come together as a constellation of films, texts, books, photographs, objects, seeds and processes.

The Sovereign Forest is produced with the support of Samadrusti, Odisha, India; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, United Kingdom; Public Press, New Delhi, India; and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany.

The exhibition at NTU CCA Singapore and its public programmes are curated by Ute Meta Bauer, Khim Ong, and Magdalena Magiera, in collaboration with Amar Kanwar, Sudhir Pattnaik and Sherna Dastur.


Public programmes

Conversation between Amar Kanwar (India), artist, The Sovereign Forest; Professor Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore); and Dr June Yap (Singapore)
30 Jul 2016, Sat 4:00pm - 5:30pm

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Accomplished artist and filmmaker Amar Kanwar will speak to curators Professor Ute Meta Bauer, and Dr June Yap about his unique cinematic vocabulary that opens up multiple layers of experience and comprehension. The conversation will revolve around politics of power, violence, and justice, looking at how political struggles are presented and represented as well as issues of development, misappropriation, and displacement. When engaging in various ways of seeing and comprehending, a set of propositions given by Kanwar study the notion of “poetry as evidence”.

Workshop for Teachers and Educators led by Kelly Reedy (United States/Singapore), artist and educator
30 Jul 2016, Sat 10:00am - 1:00pm

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This workshop was developed in collaboration with Kelly Reedy, a former lecturer at the National Institute of Education, who specialises in teaching how museums and galleries can be used to enhance student learning through visual arts. This workshop is created to engage educators in contemporary art and artistic practices. Highlighting the educational aspects of the various works presented in Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest, it will allow the teachers to prepare for visits with their school classes.

Screening of Leviathan, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, United States 2012, 87mins. Selected by Hila Peleg (Israel/Germany)
3 Aug 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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Leviathan (2012) | 87 mins

Filmed off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts, at one time the whaling capital of the world as well as Melville’s inspiration for Moby Dick, it is today the country’s largest fishing port with over 500 ships sailing from its harbour every month. Leviathan follows one such vessel, a hulking groundfish trawler, into the surrounding murky black waters on a week-long fishing expedition. Instead of romanticising or partaking in the longstanding tradition of turning fisher folk into images, filmmakers Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel present a vivid, almost kaleidoscopic representation of the work, the sea, the machinery, and the players, both human and marine.

This screening is part of the public programme of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest.

Tour of The Sovereign Forest led by NTU CCA Singapore curators
5 Aug 2016, Fri 7:00pm - 7:30pm
2 Sep 2016, Fri 7:00pm - 7:30pm
7 Oct 2016, Fri 7:00pm - 7:30pm

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Tours of on-going exhibitions led by NTU CCA Singapore curators are held every first Friday of the month. To register, email For more information on Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest, click here.

Image credits: Amr Kanwar, The Scene of Crime (2011). Installation view of The Sovereign Forest, dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). Photo Credit: Henrik Stromberg. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.

Exhibition (de)Tour: The 'Crime' of Haze: The Politics of Land, Nature and Human Rights with Dr Helena Varkkey (Malaysia)
12 Aug 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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The Southeast Asian region has been experiencing increasingly frequent events of transboundary haze for several decades. Much of this haze originates from Indonesia, mainly caused by fires related to traditional and commercial agricultural activities. While these activities have been credited for fuelling rapid development in Indonesia and the larger region, human and non-human communities around Southeast Asia have had to suffer its ill effects. This talk explores the concept of such pollution as a crime, both in terms of human and environmental rights. It also touches on the intricacies of local and regional politics that have permitted this ‘crime’ to continue unabated.

This Exhibition (de)Tour is part of the public programme of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest.

The Haze: An Inquiry, Ongoing Research Project
12 Aug 2016, Fri - 23 Oct 2016, Sun

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This ongoing research project is inspired by Amar Kanwar’s The Sovereign Forest. Referencing Kanwar’s artistic approach, The Haze: An Inquiry brought together people from different disciplines in a focus group that takes the haze situation in Southeast Asia as the main topic for investigation.

How do we bridge the gap from the banal to the sensual, the tactical and visceral? What steps of inquiry leads us from the scientific to the notion of immediacy? How do we define abstract terms such as “crime” – Is the haze a crime? What is a crime against society? Different perspectives are offered in this process by participants from diverse backgrounds, including a research scientist, theatre director, community leader, writer, tech consultant, co-founder of a hackerspace, activist, designer and curator, geographer, architect, and postgraduate student.

A core group of specialists from varied fields of law, natural and social sciences, literature, art and architecture, media and theatre, is brought together in a series of workshops and discussions to explore the haze situation as an environmental, human, and legal challenge, given its transnational impact. The aim is to create a collection of “evidence” and to investigate the potential of the haze to be considered a “crime”. This collecting which include factual information and data, compilation of ancestral knowledge, media clippings, commentaries, unrecorded oral knowledge, as well as writings, photographs, and films will be gathered in the space amidst working notes of the core group. Using these “evidences”, participants will uncover social and environmental impacts beyond the haze, and deliberate on questions of social justice, corporate environmental responsibilities, agronomy cultures in industrial developments, amongst others. Each participant brings to the discussion individual responses that stem from their respective interests and disciplines. This research platform aims to assemble a diversity of viewpoints to provoke alternative ways of looking at and talking with a wider public about contemporary situations of urgency.

In addition to the series of closed and public workshops, discussions, and presentations participants in the core group is engaged in, they are also encouraged to invite guests who will make further inquiries into the “evidences” in The Lab and to look into collaborative working methods of shared agency.

The Lab at NTU CCA Singapore is a platform for introducing transdisciplinary research processes involving artistic and curatorial practice as shared knowledge production, in its various formats, different temporalities and modalities of expression.

Image credit: Central Kalimantan, December 2015. Courtesy of Theresa Wong.

Screenings of exodus of nowhere: episodes 1 – 3, Lee Wai Yi, Enoch Ng, and Kelvin Wu (Hong Kong). Selected and introduced by Ting Chun Chun (China/Singapore)
17 Aug 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 10:00pm
19 Aug 2016, Fri 7:00pm - 10:00pm
20 Aug 2016, Sat 1:00pm - 4:00pm

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Wednesday, 17 August, 7.30 – 10.00pm
Screening of exodus of nowhere, episode 1: the water is wide, Lee Wai Yi, Enoch Ng, and Kelvin Wu, Hong Kong 2002-13, 75mins. Selected and introduced by Ting Chun Chun (Hong Kong/Singapore), Assistant Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences (Chinese Division), NTU

the water is wide evolves around the intensifying conflicts between mainland Chinese migrants and local Hong Kong people in recent years. It tells the story of the very first controversy — the right of abode of Hong Kong citizens’ children who were born in Mainland China before the 1997 handover. The controversy ended in 1999 when the National People’s Congress in the People’s Republic of China reinterpreted the Hong Kong Basic Law to deprive these citizens of their right of abode in Hong Kong. Fourteen years after, we look back at this story and the right-of-abode fighters’ continuing struggle with this hardening border, in order to ask what defines us as humans, peoples, and communities.

Friday, 19 August, 7.00 – 10.00pm
Screening of exodus of nowhere, episode 2: gamble, Lee Wai Yi, Enoch Ng, and Kelvin Wu, Hong Kong 2013-14, 140mins. Selected and introduced by Ting Chun Chun.

One says, life is a gamble. Yet for the ones who are isolated and lacking in resources and information, every move is a gamble with their bare lives.

The grandfather who survived the embargo during the Korean war and the financial crisis of 1973; the sailor who witnessed the oil crisis and the Iran-Iraq war; people who fled Hong Kong to settle in England after the 1989 Tiananmen movement; the foreign domestic workers and Chinese farmers who travelled afar from their impoverished homes to cities where their contributions had never been recognised. Stories of seemingly unrelated individuals recount similar and connected experience with migration, ethnicity, borders, responsibility, and oppression in a globalised world. Hence we ask, what are the things that connect us as individuals with the world?

Saturday, 20 August, 1.00 – 4.00pm
Screening of exodus of nowhere, episode 3: rondo for the dis/placed, Lee Wai Yi, Enoch Ng, and Kelvin Wu, Hong Kong 2002-13, 210mins. Selected and introduced by Ting Chun Chun.

In a fragmented, non-linear style, exodus of nowhere: rondo for the dis/placed recounts a series of migration stories across Southeast Asia, mainland China, and Hong Kong. As these stories of border crossing highlight the manipulation of identity politics for colonial rule, nationalist consolidation, economic domination, etc., the film eloquently debunks the mainstream narratives of political history and definition of boundary. This critical stand subsequently enables the film to find a new way to tell the stories of the powerless and reveal the hurt suffered by communities who were pit against each other by the hands of power. The screening with be followed by a casual conversation between the audience and the filmmakers.

These screenings are organised as part of the public programme of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest.

Screening of Olosho, Tanzanian Maasai community, Tanzania 2015, 15mins; and Our Generation, Sinem Saban and Damien Curtis, Australia 2010, 73mins. Selected by Professor Mark Nash (United Kingdom/Singapore)
2 Sep 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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Olosho (2015) | 15 mins

Olosho is a powerful short film exploring the ongoing land-rights struggle by the Maasai Community in Loliondo, from the perspective of those on the frontline. It was created by six members of the Tanzania Maasai community who, for over two decades, have been battling foreign companies and their own government to protect their territory. Olosho was facilitated by InsightShare in collaboration with the United Nations Association of Finland and the Loliondo-based NGO-Net. It was undertaken with funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Our Generation (2010) | 73 mins

Our Generation is a rollercoaster journey into the heart of Australia’s indigenous relations, a hidden shame that is pushing the world’s oldest living culture to the edge. Through the stories of the Yolngu of Northeast Arnhem Land, the film looks at the Government’s ongoing policies of paternalism and assimilation, examines the real issues underlying indigenous disadvantage, and opens dialogue on ways forward that respect Aboriginal culture and dignity.

This screening is part of the public programme of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest.

[CANCELLED] Exhibition (de)Tour with Mina Susana Setra (Indonesia)
7 Sep 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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Mina Susana Setra (Indonesia) is an indigenous, environmental and land rights activist from Borneo. She serves as Deputy Secretary General for the Indonesian Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago and was instrumental in securing a ruling from the Constitutional Court recognising customary land rights of indigenous people. She is also a founder of Ruai TV, a television outlet providing media access to marginalised communities in West Kalimantan. The station utilises “citizen journalism” to give community members a voice.

*Please note that this Exhibition (de)Tour has been cancelled. For further updates on the public programmes of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest, visit

Staging: Hutang Belantara — The Expansive Debt by Teater Ekamatra (Singapore)
9 Sep 2016, Fri 8:00pm - 9:00pm
23 Sep 2016, Fri 8:00pm - 9:00pm

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A play on the word from the Malay phrase “hutan” which means “forest”, Hutang Belantara –The Expansive Debt is a multi-disciplinary mono-drama centred around a seed of discord, owning and owing, and the fallen.

This Staging is part of the public programme of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest.

Exhibition (de)Tour: A Fertile Land for the Taking: Conquest and Appropriation of Southeast Asia during the age of Colonial Capitalism with Dr Farish Ahmad Noor
14 Sep 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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“In an age of near-global commodification, how do we study cultural and ethnic difference, and how do we navigate the complicated map of plural multiculturalism?” Dr Farish Ahmad Noor

In this talk, Dr Farish Ahmad Noor will engage with the history of Southeast Asia. He will speak about how the colonial imaginary envisioned Southeast Asia as a land of boundless opportunities for capital, and thus regarded it as a fertile zone for conquest and appropriation, bringing the colonial enterprise within the ambit of a modernist-instrumentalist mindset.

This Exhibition (de)Tour is part of the public programme of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest.

Exhibition tours: Gillman Barracks 4th Anniversary Celebrations
24 Sep 2016, Sat 3:00pm - 4:00pm
24 Sep 2016, Sat 5:00pm - 6:00pm

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Join us for exhibition tours of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest, led by NTU CCA Singapore’s curators during Gillman Barracks 4th Anniversary Celebrations on Saturday, 24 September at 3.00pm and 5.00pm.

The Sovereign Forest, a multi-layered exhibition by New Delhi based artist and filmmaker Amar Kanwar is on view for the first time in Southeast Asia at NTU CCA Singapore. Focused on the exhaustive struggles over land ownership in Odisha in east India, this internationally-acclaimed project initiates a creative response to our understanding of crime, politics, human rights and ecology.

Image credit: Amar Kanwar, The Sovereign Forest, 30 July – 9 October 2016, installation view. Courtesy NTU CCA Singapore.

Screening of Gambut (Peat), Lau Hong Hu, Singapore 2016 , 8mins 22 secs; and Beixi Muoshou (Behemoth), Zhao Liang, China/France 2015, 90mins. Selected and introduced by Thong Kay Wee (Singapore)
28 Sep 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 10:00pm

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Gambut (Peat) is a meditation on the coexistence of man and environment. Entrapped in a vicious cycle of accusations, efforts in resolving the decades-long haze issues in Riau, Indonesia are becoming alarmingly futile. This short film is a juxtaposition of thoughts, anecdotes, opinions and images from affected locations.

From India to China, the fastest growing economies of the world are accumulative, exhaustive, and insatiable. The parallels of Odisha in east India can be found in the Wuhai area of Inner Mongolia; a dwindling pasture ravaged and disembowelled by the acts of toxic mining. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, Beixi Muoshou (Behemoth) projects a poetic, contemplative gaze over China’s search for a paradise, one that has ended up looking more like hell. This film is a winner of the Green Drop Award at the 72nd Venice Film Festival (2015).

This screening is part of the public programme of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest.

Staging: Mantrayani by Raghavendran Rajasekaran (Singapore), cross-genre composer and co-founder of Music.Love.Yoga
30 Sep 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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A state-of-mind, path to liberation or the embodiment of fulfilment, Mantrayani is an inspiration that draws poetry, music and sacred sounds in one synergy. This presentation features seven works that blend feminine and masculine energies in its sonic and visual presentations. It tells a story of integration and being present to our space to create an ultimate true self of existence amongst all beings.

This Staging is part of the public programme of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest.

Staging: C:\dialogue\towards_between.mxo by Julia Mihály (Germany/Singapore), composer and performer
7 Oct 2016, Fri 8:00pm - 9:30pm

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The Counting Sisters and Other Stories in The Sovereign Forest exhibition serves as a starting point for Julia Mihály’s performance. Considered as a multi-layered dialogue, this musical translation will use her own voice, covering a wide range of contemporary vocal techniques, in dialogue with live electronic sound extensions and spatial sound movements. Since the performance aims to stay in a constant dialogue with the exhibition, the musical structure will leave space for inherent soundscapes in the exhibition.

This Staging is part of the public programme of Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest.