Southeast Asian Arts Forum 2021: Schoolhouse Mavericks
A true space for art teaching and learning

16 July 2021

  • The Forum will host livestreamed presentations, performances, and dialogues aiming to inspire practice-led teaching and learning of Southeast Asian arts.
  • In the backdrop of the pandemic, the featured thoughtleaders and changemakers afford us new ways of thinking and finding new methods to communicate and consume ideas through art.

28 Jul 2021 (Wed), 2.00pm to 4.00pm
29 & 30 Jul 2021 (Thurs & Fri), 2.00pm to 4.30pm
This event is free to attend with registration
Register here and watch the livestream on:
Enquiries: [email protected] / 6512 4000

How do we consume and communicate the arts differently in the backdrop of the pandemic? When physical interactions in artistic expressions become limited, how do artmakers find new ways to connect to the world? The Southeast Asian Arts Forum 2021: Schoolhouse Mavericks, a three-day hybrid Forum running through 28 – 30 July, gathers 32 global changemakers from a diverse background of creative and academic disciplines to speak on the current state of the arts. Organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Arts (ISEAA) at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), the Forum, alongside satellite hosts Arcolabs (Indonesia) and Suma Orientalis (Malaysia), will host livestreamed and video-on-demand presentations, performances, and dialogues from eight different cities in Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Ireland.

Joining the livestream from Bali is Indonesian visual artist, Ari Bayuaji, who saw a silver lining amidst Bali’s dwindling economy in the pandemic. Championing cultural and environmental sustainability, Ari spearheaded Weaving the Ocean, an art project connecting the wider Balinese community to weave textiles from marine trash by using traditional Balinese weaving techniques. He believes that now is the opportune time to “learn more about so many things when people are slowing down and having more time to talk and listen to each other”.

Chiming in on the importance of relationship building in the process of artmaking and learning, is young Singaporean artist, Fitri Ya’akob. She credits the timeliness of the Forum, “As artists, we take on the roles of the creator and the receiver — we produce just as much as we consume. Neither is complete without the other. To be privy to the minds of other creators alike and share what is in yours — it is a privilege not many have.” Ya’akob will present on the topic of artmakers and their connection to the world by exploring the idea of kinship and memory in her video-on-demand presentation titled To Be Here With You Even For A Little While.

Beyond active listening in the learning and consumption of the arts, Founder of Absolutely Thai Company Limited, Dr Paphutsorn Koong Wongratanapitak, offers her teaching philosophy of “learning by doing”. Joining the Forum from Bangkok, Dr Wongratanapitak will speak on the importance of physical interactions in performance arts limited by the pandemic and share how temple dancers in Phra Phrom Erawan overcame this by adapting the way they practiced and performed. Other notable speakers lined up for the Forum include Young Artist Award recipient, Playwright and Director Chong Tze Chien and Indonesian street artist and winner of the 2019 UOB Painting of the Year in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, Anagard.

Media partner for the Forum, Asia-Europe Foundation, said, “The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is delighted to be the media partner for the Southeast Asian Arts Forum 2021. This is essential in times of a pandemic, when limited face-to-face encounters hinder opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing among arts organisations, artists, and cultural professionals. We hope to continue collaborating with like-minded institutions such as NAFA, strengthening multi-lateral cultural cooperation in Southeast Asia and beyond.”

Covering a wide range of art disciplines across varied topics, including photography to street art, to material culture, communicative strategies, and even performance arts from a medical perspective, Southeast Asian Arts Forum 2021: Schoolhouse Mavericks provides a truly dynamic outlook on what it means to make, learn, teach and consume art today.

Participants are to register their interest at

ANNEX 1 – SEA Arts Forum 2021 Schedule
ANNEX 2 – SEA Arts Forum 2021 Key Visual
ANNEX 3 – Background Information