8– 26 March 2024
Lim Hak Tai Gallery
11am – 7pm, closed every Monday
Performance: Thursday, 21 March 2024, 6.30pm
Two passionate arts educators Grace Leong and Matthew Foo from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) in Singapore guided nearly 200 students over a decade in a learning journey across 9 Southeast Asian countries, documenting the vibrant puppetry tradition in the region that breathes life into the epic stories of Ramayana. Puppetry has long served as a powerful teacher of morals and values, cultural expression, and artistic innovation. Through photographs and films, this cross-cultural exchange unlocks a multifaceted understanding of Southeast Asian puppetry, retold by students through youthful eyes. In this project, these archives are showcased alongside a dramatic presentation of Sbek Thom puppets and Myanmar marionettes from the NAFA Collection, reliving epic stories of the Ramayana.
Selected students will be guided by master puppeteers from Laos (Khao Niew Theatre), the Philippines (Wanlu and his Puppets) and Singapore (Benjamin Ho) in a special workshop in February, learning to weave their own Ramayana stories, blending ancient wisdom with contemporary artistry. This will culminate in a mini performance in NAFA on 21 March, in conjunction with World Puppetry Day, a day of shared wonder that promises to transcend borders.
(1st picture: depicts the opening of Silent Actors I, showcasing the students’ skillful characterisation, with the presence of Sbek Thom in the background. 2nd picture: showcases a puppet presentation performed by members of the mute and deaf community at Khao Niew Theatre in Laos.)
Find NAFA at: https://iseaa.nafa.edu.sg/