Preface: One Step at a Time
By Elaine W. NG
After three years of upended reality, nearly every country in the world has finally pushed ahead with the resumption of what we remember as regular life. In some places, this transition came gradually while in others substantial restrictions on movements and gatherings had been unwound. Whether the resumption of normality came earlier or later in the year, collectively the world is looking to move on from the struggles and grief of the pandemic as the new challenges await us in the third decade of the 21st century. Whether ecological or technological, economic or infrastructural, our global society is reuniting and refocusing on the future.
Throughout this 18th edition of the ArtAsiaPacific Almanac, we observe the year of transition as it played out in the fields of contemporary art and culture across the globe, and we look ahead at 2023 as a time for renewed efforts. In our 14 City Reports, we hear from artists, writers, and curators who have been closely following events in the places where they live and work. From Seoul, AAP’s desk editor Andy St. Louis reports on Korean art’s moment in the commercial limelight, with the debut of new art fairs and openings of new gallery spaces aplenty across the capital, as well as the return of a leading private institution, the Leeum Museum of Art. Our correspondents Beverly Yong and Rachel Ng in Kuala Lumpur offer an upbeat assessment of how the pandemic motivated art organizations to reach new audiences beyond the art community. From Jakarta, Chabib Duta Hapsoro reports on how Indonesia’s efforts to decentralize funding away from the capital region are proving difficult in reality, while Quddus Mirza reflects on the year in art amid devastating floods in Pakistan. In these and other City Reports, our correspondents celebrate the resilience of art communities in the face of societal and environmental challenges.