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Pulau Sebakau

Green Zeng

Solo Exhibition

8 - 17 December 2023 Mon -Fri, 11am to 7pm Sat - Sun, 11am to 8pm

PULAU SEBAKAU continues Green Zeng’s exploration into the topics of identity, history, absence and displacement through a postcard installation.
The exhibition features an imagined narrative about a character called PB who was exiled to Pulau Sebakau, a fictitious southern island of Singapore. The 1960s-1970s saw rapid depopulation in the offshore islands of Singapore due to the socio-economic needs of the new and developing nation. Mirroring that, Sebakau would also succumb to the relentless march of progress and its inhabitants would be resettled to the mainland. While living on the island, PB encounters the indigenous communities who live along the coast and make their living traditionally by fishing. Reflecting on the island’s landscape and the lives of its friendly inhabitants, PB would share these insights with his wife in a series of postcards. By so doing, he offers a moving portrait of a place and people who are facing the prospect of leaving their island home and the uncertainty of resettlement.
Using old photographs from the personal collection of Teo Yen Teck, an islander from Pulau Seking (which no longer exists), Zeng allows these real images of a lost island to speak for themselves, while PB’s narrative runs on the other side of the postcard. Through this work, Zeng seeks to explore Foucault’s notion that “fictions are experiments in truth” and how fiction upholds 'truth' in that it allows us to imagine an “alternative interpretation of the present”.

About the Artist(s)

Green Zeng is a multi-disciplinary artist from Singapore. HIs art practice explores issues of historiography and identity, and examines how history is scripted, perceived and disseminated.
His earlier work focused on areas such as marginalised and alternative histories within the context of student activism and left politics on the tumultuous road to independence. His work also explores the connection between the archives, the State and the individual, and the role that an artist plays in truth-telling.
Zeng’s recent work explores the connection between truth, power and resistance. He is interested in Foucault’s notion of “fictions are experiments in truth” and how fiction allow us to imagine an “alternative interpretation of the present”.
In 2015, his debut feature film, The Return, made its international premiere in competition at the 30th Venice International Film Critics’ Week. Zeng has also directed short films such as Blackboard Whiteshoes, which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival in 2006, and Passenger, which in the same year was awarded the Encouragement Prize at the Akira Kurosawa Memorial Short Film Competition in Tokyo.
As a practicing artist, Zeng has exhibited widely in Singapore and abroad. In 2012, he was a Finalist for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize in Hong Kong. In 2014, he was nominated for the Asia Pacific Breweries Signature Art Prize. He won the Bronze Award in the 36th UOB Painting of the Year (Established Artist Category) in 2018. His most recent solo exhibition Notes for the Future was held at Art Outreach, Singapore in 2021. In 2020, he was an Artist in Resident at the NTU-CCA Singapore Residencies Programme.

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