Grounded Conversations | Lee Weng Choy, Nora A. Taylor & Shubigi Rao in conversation with Lucy Davis

Tang Da Wu, Jantung Pisang: heart of a tree, heart of a people, The Substation, May 1999.
Courtesy of Koh Nguang How.
Date: Saturday, 7 February 2015
Time: 3.30 - 5pm
Venue: NUS Museum



Free admission with registration at

In this session, Grounded Conversations brings together artists, critics and scholars for a series of discussions on how various art practitioners located in this region have dealt with the question of materiality in their work. Ranging across various mediums such as writing, rattan and lacquer, this session will function simultaneously as a panel discussion which marks the closing of the exhibition “When you get closer to the heart, you may find cracks” | Stories of Wood by the Migrant Ecologies Project held at the NUS Museum.

About the panellists
Lee Weng Choy is an art critic and was the Artistic Co-Director of The Substation arts centre from 2000 to 2009. He has lectured internationally on art theory, cultural studies and policy. President of the Singapore Section of the International Association of Art Critics, his essays have appeared in After the Event: New Perspectives on Art History, Broadsheet, Forum On Contemporary Art & Society, Over Here: International Perspectives on Art and Culture; Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985, Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art, and Contemporary Art in Asia.

Dr. Nora A. Taylor is the Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently Visiting Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University (NTU ADM) and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Art, NTU, Singapore. She is the author of Painters in Hanoi: An Ethnography of Vietnamese Art (Hawaii and NUS press, 2004-2009) and co-editor of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art: An Anthology. She has published and curated extensively on Vietnamese and Southeast Asian art. She is recently the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship to conduct research on the history of performance art in Vietnam, Singapore and Myanmar.

Shubigi Rao is a visual artist and writer whose interests range from archaeology, neuroscience, 13th century ‘science’, language, libraries, historical acts of cultural genocide, contemporary art theory and natural history. Her work involves complex layered installations comprising handmade books, text, drawings, etchings, pseudo-science machinery and archives, and has been exhibited and collected in Singapore, Indonesia, Iran, Hong Kong, China, the Netherlands and India.

Lucy Davis is an artist, writer and Assistant Professor at NTU ADM. She is founder of the Migrant Ecologies Project. Her practice encircles nature in art and visual culture, materiality and memory in Southeast Asia.

About Grounded Conversations
Presenting a series of distinct projects on how art practitioners have begun to adopt comprehensive paradigms in their fieldwork methods traditionally associated with anthropological and historical research, Grounded Conversations brings together practitioners from the contemporary art world to unravel this ‘anthropological turn’.


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