Essays on Colonial Legacies win AAP’s Young Writers Contest 2020
By The Editors
Singapore-based writer and researcher Cheng Mun Chang is the winner of ArtAsiaPacific’s third annual Young Writers Contest. Coming in second place is Lynda Tay, assistant programmer at Singapore’s performing arts center Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, while the third-place entry is from writer and researcher Tadasu Takahashi in Osaka. Presenting articulate, cohesive, and original arguments, the three articles were selected from the 33 submissions to this year’s competition, which invited participants to consider colonial histories or the “posthuman” in contemporary art.
Titled “Whose Land? Examining Claims to Sand and Memory,” Chang’s winning text asserts that although Singapore is “postcolonial, [it] is not yet decolonized.” Specifically, Chang looks at the country’s land-reclamation projects as extensions of colonialism, and delves into the ramifications of such development initiatives through the installations of Charles Lim, Zarina Muhammad, and Debbie Ding. Her article will be published in the Sep/Oct 2020 edition of AAP.
Tay’s essay “Reimagining Monuments—Colonial Histories, Memory, and Meaning” examines the continually shifting cultural processes that shape colonial legacies. Her discussion is anchored in Hsu Chia-Wei’s video installation Black and White – Malayan Tapir (2018), Iswanto Hartono’s wax sculptures in Monuments (2017), and Motoyuki Shitamichi’s photographic torii series (2006–12), and will be published on the AAP website.
Through the projects of Keiko Kurachi and Satoru Takahashi, Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung, and Makoto Aida, Takahashi reminds readers that maintaining a skepticism about official historical narratives is important, “especially in Japan where the government makes little effort to confront its colonial history.” His article “Selective Amnesia: Questioning Japan’s Historical Revisionism through Art” will also be published on the AAP website.
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