Bring Wu Xiao Kang back to Singapore!

@sakana (260)
June 21, 2007 9:34am CST
Original topic posted at livejournal community sg_ljers. Text adapted from petition site. Singapore-based collective A Dose Of Light presented Wu Xiao Kang. The series of haunting images are the final roll of film taken by Singaporean photographer Wu Xiao Kang before he committed suicide at the age of 26. The photographs lead us through the deserted mental hospital where Wu Xiao Kang received treatment previously for acute schizophrenia. The building was documented by Wu Xiao Kang repeatedly in his work and the images reflect his associations with the institution and his desire for escape. Excerpts from his diary are interspersed with the images. Wu Xiao Kang has been exhibited in several places around the globe (most recently in London), and has received tremendous applause and unbelievable immediate feedback. For a moment, the collective felt proud to be Singaporeans in a foreign land. Everyone wanted to know more about Singapore and Wu Xiao Kang. His work was described as "haunting" in The Daily Magazine, a blog by the Saatchi Gallery in London. However, Wu Xiao Kang, though Singaporean, has never been showcased in Singapore before. The collective has been turned down several times in their proposal to show Wu Xiao Kang's work. Disappointed and at the verge of giving up, the collective stopped pushing his work in mid 2006. One of the most disturbing comments received by a Singaporean curator, which the collective still remembers word-for-word, was: "he is such a loser". Thus the collective made up their mind that Singapore would never be ready to view his work. Shortly after, a curator from Germany called, and Wu Xiao Kang's work was all over the globe in a matter of weeks. He was immensely popular in China. In September 2006, the collective's online servers crashed due to overwhelming traffic pouring in after his work was exhibited in Andere Galarie, Germany. Through that show, his original slides were acquired by a photographic research institute for research. Contracts were drawn and the release date for the slides to be returned to the collective is in 2010, a move the collective regrets deeply as they feel they should try one last time to bring Wu Xiao Kang to Singapore. The institute argues that Singapore has a culture that does not recognize its own local creative talent (thus causing most of our artists to leave for greener pastures overseas), and that Singaporeans will not be able to appreciate Wu Xiao Kang's work. The collective hopes to showcase Wu Xiao Kang's work this July, and is desperately trying to get the agency to release the originial slides to be exhibited. Singaporeans and art/photography enthusiasts, what are your thoughts on this issue? Personally I feel that Singapore should wake up and appreciate our very own artists before we become hollow island with no arts scene and purely economic culture. This will be the very first time his original slides will be showcased alongside his works, if the collective can get enough signatures and convince the agency to release the slides. What other place should this happen besides his homeland? I urge you all to sign the petition (link below) and leave your email so the collective can invite you to the private view of his work on opening night of the exhibition in Singapore. If it happens, it will all be thanks to you!
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