This month, Singapore and Asia will discover Hollywood actress and producer Lucy Liu’s long-time but under-reported talent as a contemporary artist — and a cerebral one at that. Coming to Singapore for the first time this month, the New Yorker will commemorate the opening of an exhibition featuring some of her works at the National Museum of Singapore, alongside Singaporean artist Shubigi Rao.
From January 12 to February 24, Lucy Liu and Shubigi Rao: Unhomed Belongings will connect the worlds and works of both artists — who have communicated in the lead-up but have not met in person —casting a spotlight on the astounding parallels in both their art. Themes of culture, history, identity and relationships are explored and examined; incidentally, both Lucy and Shubigi are drawn to re-contextualising found objects into new visual narratives. Having discovered intellectual chemistry as they corresponded, the two will finally meet in the flesh at this exhibition – even as works from Lucy’s Lost and Found and Shubigi’s Stabbing at Immortality: Building a Better Jellyfish meet in a curatorial dialogue.
Unhomed Belongings will be Lucy’s first exhibition in a museum. Organised in partnership with private non-profit arts organisation The Ryan Foundation, Unhomed Belongings is free to the public – accessibility being a cornerstone to promoting art awareness in Singapore and around the world. Ryan Su, the foundation’s namesake founding director and a colourful regular on the arts circuit, says Singapore’s developing art scene is ripe for showing “two artists who happen to be strong women as they navigate themes of identity and growth with such honesty and strength”.
The Celebrity Pull
Ryan is counting on Lucy’s celebrity to draw crowds: “Apart from being a serious artist, Lucy’s celebrity will certainly appeal to a large segment, especially visitors who have grown up watching Ally McBeal, Charlie’s Angels and even Kill Bill. We want these people to come out of their homes and see contemporary art.”
Adds Lucy: “I know this exhibition will have a lasting impact, and I hope to bring excitement and a sense of involvement to others who have thought about creating art, but just didn’t feel they had the instinct or ability.”
Ryan, a recipient of the Patron of the Arts Award by the National Arts Council, views this collaboration as a way to raise the profile of contemporary art in Singapore and Asia. “What The Ryan Foundation hopes to achieve is really simple: We want more people to become interested in art. By providing an entry point for people to get to know contemporary art, we grow the pie and sow the seeds of art appreciation.”
Lucy Liu and Shubigi Rao: Unhomed Belongings’ will run from January 12 to February 24 at the National Museum of Singapore. Admission is free to public.