Monday, May 12, 2014

Docent training with Guggenheim's Director of Education...

While almost everyone I know back in Manila (including my own family) celebrated Mother's Day, I was at faraway Gillman Barracks and attended a whole day docent training for a special exhibit.

No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is the inaugural exhibit of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative. The exhibit was first presented at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The exhibit then traveled to Hong Kong before arriving in Singapore.

We had two speakers for the day. In the morning, the curator June Yap talked about all the works on display. She started by giving a backstory on the homeland of each artist. This was followed by talking about the art work. It was quite interesting.

I must say though that the afternoon session was much more enjoyable and inspiring. Guggenheim Museum's Director of Education Sharon Vatsky spent a few hours talking to the group about possible ways to guide for the exhibit. It was such a fantastic session. After a brief talk at the conference room, we moved to the exhibit venue where she conducted a walkthrough for us. It is just amazing how we spent a little over an hour discussing just three works.

Aside from learning about the exhibit, I certainly picked up a lot of other ideas that may be used when guiding for the museum. I was really glad I got to attend the session. If that was how sessions are conducted in contemporary art museums, then I am quite sure more people will be open to understanding and even possibly appreciating contemporary art.

Another interesting thing about the exhibit is that it seems fitting that it is staged in Singapore since most of the artists feature come from this region. Two paintings by Filipino artists Poklong Anading and Norberto Roldan are included in the exhibit. I met Norberto Roldan several years ago at Green Papaya gallery. He sold me 5 collages by Geraldine Javier. I also became a frequent visitor of the gallery and eventually bought a few more pieces by Mariano Ching and Jonathan Olazo. Really glad to see his work here in Singapore.

No Country touches on themes such as ethno-nationalism, national identity in an age of globalisation, to name a few. The 22 works on display include paintings, sculpture, photography, video, and installation. The exhibit will run until July 20 at the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Singapore, a national research centre of Nanyang Technological University.

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