Stories > Art In Action

2016 • Issue 2

Art In Action

Under the Art of Sustainability project, artists from Singapore and China leveraged the arts to explore issues of urban sustainability.


art of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Arts For Good initiative, the Art of Sustainability project saw artists from Singapore and China exchanging ideas on how to use arts and culture to promote awareness of and action for sustainable urban living in their communities.

SIF partnered the Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (SPAFFC), a non-governmental organisation for people-to-people exchanges with citizens of foreign countries, to organise the cultural exchange project.

For the first leg of the exchange, five Chinese artists and curators visited Singapore in March to learn about its sustainability initiatives. They visited places like the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Singapore City Gallery for insights into Singapore’s holistic and long-term approach to urban planning.

Then, in June, five Singapore artists went to Shanghai where they visited the workshops of several Chinese artists and the Shanghai Public Art Coordination Centre, among other sites, and shared ideas on incorporating art into urban spaces.

The exchanges culminate in a joint, mixed-medium exhibition from Sept 10 to 25 in Shanghai’s Da Yun Tang Art Gallery, showcasing works by artists from both cities. The artworks will travel to Singapore in 2017.


“These artworks not only reflect the personal life experience and artistic views of the artists, they also vividly represent various aspects of our cities, enrich our knowledge and inspire us to reflect on the sustainability of both cities. Through such cultural exchanges and public art installations, we increase the publicʼs understanding of urban sustainability issues.”

Fu Jun, vice-director of the Shanghai Oil Painting and Sculpture Institute Art Museum

“Such exchanges offer a structure to better understand each otherʼs cultures and, just as importantly, the opportunity to connect, converse and collaborate. Culture is best felt and experienced through interaction with people and places.”

Tan Sock Fong, Singaporean visual artist

“It was interesting to see Singaporean and Shanghainese artists working together through their similarities and differences during this project. The visits allowed us to distil these experiences and form a unique piece of work that advocates for sustainability in the September showcase.”

Sun Yu Li, co-founder of The Living! Project

“We value our long-term relationship with SIF, and would like to broaden and deepen our cooperation in different fi elds. We believe that art is an effective way to bring out shared emotions between people from different countries, societies and communities. This art exchange project is one of our attempts to explore new ways of promoting understanding between our peoples.”

Huang Yang Bin, council member of SPAFFC


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