It’s back! Singapore’s premier contemporary art exhibition, the Singapore Biennale, returns for its fourth edition in 2013. Titled “If The World Changed”, it will be held from 26 October 2013 to 16 February 2014.

In the 21st century, the face of South East Asia has been rapidly evolving. As a region, we encompass a multitude of communities who inhabit disparate social realities. Globalisation has served to both push together and pull people apart. Against this backdrop of past and continuous change, artists have been reflecting, mediating, envisioning, and making propositions. “If The World Changed,” is an invitation to reconsider the world we live in, and the worlds we want to live in.

At the press conference held at the Singapore Art Museum, Mr. Tan Boon Hui, Director of the Singapore Art Museum stated that South East Asian artists have been a significant group in past Biennale editions and in 2013 they would develop a distinct identity, giving the Biennale a strong South East Asian inflection.

The ever-changing dynamics: A connectedness and disconnectedness inherent in South East Asia would present an immensely challenging prospect. Internationalism is an abused notion and it is high time to ruminate on how to make South East Asia pertinent to the world instead of the other way round. The thrust of this Biennale therefore will be to root it in its context of the life worlds in which the artists navigate and to turn the region into the lens with which we will use to view the world.

To harness the energy of the region and build this distinctive Asian identity for the Singapore Biennale, Singapore Biennale 2013 (SB 2013) will adopt a bold new collaborative curatorial

Amongst the line-up is Yee I-Lan, born in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia in 1971 to a New Zealander mother and Sino-Kadazan father, but she identifies herself strongly as a Sabahan. A multi-disciplinary artist, her artworks address issues about her multi-cultural identities in relation to the globalised world. This makes her uniquely suited to the task of curating this Biennale.

Another artist-curator is Kawayan de Guia. Based in Baguio, in the northern part of Luzon, Kawayan has gained significant notable attention for his contemporary works, many of which make reference to or draw materially from his home in Baguio. Kawayan’s deep interest in the heritage and culture of Baguio can be traced to his family upbringing: his father is prominent independent filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik and his mother Dr Katrin de Guia is an anthropologist and author, as well as founder/President of Heritage and Arts Academies of the Philippines, and the family has been an vocal advocate for the arts and cultural scene in Baguio. Kawayan de Guia’s work was also nominated in the recent APB Foundation Signature Art Prize 2011.

SB 2013 will take place across a number of active art spaces in the Bras Basah-Bugis precinct such as The Peranakan Museum, The Substation and The Singapore Art Museum. The precinct is filled with rich cultural institutions and icons that SB 2013 will partner with. At the same time, SB 2013 hopes to inject cultural vibrancy into the area.

SB 2013 is inviting artists to submit their proposals for consideration. All material will be reviewed by members of the curatorial team and shortlisted artists may be invited for further discussion with the curators and possible inclusion in the Biennale. The open call which started on 7 September will close on 21 December 2012.

More details to be revealed in time. Watch this space!

*Image by the Singapore Art Musuem