President’s Young Talents 2009 at the Singapore Art Museum

Singapore Art Museum will present the President’s Young Talents (PYT), a contemporary art exhibition series profiling the work of talented young artists from Singapore. PYT is jointly organised by the Istana and the Singapore Art Museum. Credit Suisse is the presenting sponsor of the President’s Young Talents in 2009 as well as the inaugural PYT 2009 Credit Suisse Artist Residency Award. This sponsorship is part of the Bank’s long-term support of Singapore Art Museum under its banner of the Credit Suisse Innovation in Art series since 2007.

Twardzik Ching Chor Leng, Stretch Your Imagination, 2004. Esplanade Linkway

With the aim of introducing the work of some of our nation’s most talented young artists to a wider audience, this biennial event is distinguished from other platforms by virtue of the freshness, energy, and experimental zest that each new generation of Singaporean artists bring to their artistic practice. Rather than being a retrospective of existing work, PYT allows the commissioning of new work from the participating artists. Inaugurated in 2001, PYT usually features four artists who are selected by a group of curatorial advisors to exhibit in each installment. This year, the PYT 2009 Credit Suisse Artist’s Residency Award is the new element added to enable the winner of the PYT 2009 to pursue an artist residency programme abroad.

PYT 2009 signals a greater commitment on the part of SAM to nurturing local talent through support for the creation of original work as well as, facilitating the entry of promising Singaporean artists into the international art scene through the exposure that an international residency provides.

The winner of the PYT 2009 will be announced on 6 November 2009 at the PYT Gala dinner. Media preview led by the Curator of the exhibition, Ms Tan Siu Li, and the artists will be held on 14 August 2009, 11:00 am at 8Q sam.

The artists nominated this year are Donna Ong, Felicia Low, Twardzik Ching Chor Leng and artist collective Vertical Submarine. They have been selected to present their work at the President’s Young Talents exhibition at 8Q sam. This marks the first time an artist collective is participating in this series and Vertical Submarine’s inclusion is indicative of shifts in contemporary art practices.

All the artists will create a new work for PYT 2009, and this exhibition offers a unique opportunity to take stock of where contemporary art in Singapore could be heading. Donna Ong’s installation will examine the representation of perspective in Eastern as well as Western artistic traditions through a series of layered landscapes. Twardzik Ching Chor Leng continues her practice of land-based art by inviting the public to reconsider the significance of the Singapore River in history, as well as in our lives today. Felicia Low, who actively engages with (often marginalised or disadvantaged) communities in her work, will conduct live sessions in the gallery, leading groups of people in an exploration of family and social relationships. Last but not least, tongue-in-cheek collective Vertical Submarine will present a work-within-a-work, inviting the public into their immersive installation which continues their earlier investigations into the relationship between text, image and representation.

As part of SAM’s initiative to foster a great appreciation of contemporary art, an information rich website for PYT 2009 ( will be launched on 15 July 2009. This website will introduce the public to the four genres of contemporary art found in PYT2009: land art, sculpture installation, new genre public art and mixed-media installations. Viewers will also be able to view the profile of the nominated artists as well as the progress of the creation of their works, learn about the artists’ inspirations and thoughts on their artwork for PYT 2009 and vote for their favourite artwork online. Two winners stand to win a Sony digital camera. The public can have their say too, and brickbats and bouquets are welcomed on the web forum pages.

Says Mr. Tan Boon Hui, Director Designate of Singapore Art Museum, “President’s Young Talents is SAM’s key platform to introduce Singaporeans to the work of a new generation of contemporary artists. The ‘can-do’ spirit that marks much of the best contemporary art coming out from Singapore now is clearly visible in these new works from Donna Ong, Twardzik Ching Chor Leng, Felicia Low and Vertical Submarine. While their work has departed markedly from the traditional conventions of what art should look like, it is nonetheless as thoughtful, enjoyable and beautiful as the paintings and sculptures we are more familiar with. Through such channels as the new PYT microsite, with its information rich content, SAM is working also to make contemporary art accessible to as large a community as possible. As one of the few platforms that regularly provides support to nurture the creation of original local art, SAM hopes to continue growing PYT along with the local contemporary arts scene.’