IMPERISHABLE: sustainability.arts.together

20 July 2022

4 & 5 August 2022 (Thursday & Friday)
Admission is free, register to attend here:
registration closes on 3 Aug 2022

The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) presents Southeast Asian Arts Forum 2022: IMPERISHABLE: sustainability.arts.together, a two-day hybrid Forum hosting livestreamed presentations, performances, and dialogues aiming to inspire and highlight ways where the arts are at the heart of sustainable practices in Southeast Asia.

Organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Arts (ISEAA) at NAFA, this third edition of the Forum will see 12 regional artists, designers, artisans, and scholars from a gamut of creative and academic disciplines, speak on the artistic practices that contribute to building awareness on social and environmental issues, cultural heritage preservation, resource management, and accessibility in creative production. With a diverse representation from countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, this edition is centered on methods which are deliberate in maintaining ecological and social integrity.

The Forum aims to forge and nurture connections through facilitiating critical discourse on practice, politics, and education of creative arts. Speakers lined-up include prominent Vietnamese multi-disciplinary artist UuDam Tran Nguyen, whose provocative practice placed him as a luminary in Vietnamese contemporary art. UuDam will be presenting Why Eco-Đi, discussing how visual art can be used as a powerful intervention tool for environmental causes through Lao Tzu’s philosophy. He hopes that through Eco-Đi, the arts can influence its audiences to change their habits for a better environment.

Kuala Lumpur-based embroidery artist, Jesse Joy, will be sharing Finding Bundusan, a film that documents the vital role the Bundusan plant species plays as vessels that preserve, store and celebrate the cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge through family and the community. In line with the theme of cultural heritage preservation, Joy’s documentary delves into a declining trade of traditional mat weaving, where strips of Bundusan are intrically woven into works of art, a craft unique to the Kadazan and Dusuns of Sabah. The film also provides a lens to how societal and environmental factors have contributed to its recession. Joy hopes that through interactions and engagements at the Forum, he will “have a deeper understanding of the practices across the region”, while “finding solidarity through similarities.”

NAFA Fashion Lecturer Georgette Yu and Senior Dance Lecturer Dr Filomar Cortezano Tariao will be delivering a presentation on Khatabi, a dance theatre piece that narrates a story from the Itneg Tribe’s folktales about the origins of weaving. The costumes incorporate handwoven textiles and traditional embroidery, an extension of the stories of the Itneg Ilaud community combined with a contemporary choreography adapted from the folk dances of the tribe. Together with their presentation Cultural Heritage Preservation: Continuity and Practice, they hope to encourage artists and designers to move towards incorportating sustainable development values by tapping into creative inspiration and material resources around Southeast Asia.

Exhibition: Ari Bayuaji – Weaving the Ocean
Surrounding the Forum is fringe exhibition Weaving the Ocean by Ari Bayuaji. First presented at the Forum in 2021 as a community art project, Weaving the Ocean showcases how the artist utilises plastic ropes washed up ashore to weave traditional textiles, while also involving the local artisans and giving them an income during the pandemic. Bayuaji will also be leading a workshop with NAFA students on 3 Aug 2022 (Wed). His exhibition is open till  28 Aug 2022 (Sun).

Join us at the Southeast Asian Arts Forum 2022. We welcome you to participate in this assembly for talents and educators – join us online, or via small live audience groups at NAFA. Participants are to register their interest at

ANNEX 1 – SEA Arts Forum 2022 Schedule
ANNEX 2 – Background Information
ANNEX 3 – Key Visual
ANNEX 4 – Key Visual for Ari Bayuaji – Weaving the Ocean