THE SUBSTATION HAS APPOINTED
NOOR EFFENDY IBRAHIM
AS NEXT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR!
We are thrilled and excited to have Effendy join us and look forward to his official start on 17 February.
The media release regarding the announcement is appended below:
The Substation Announces New Artistic Director As it Heads towards its 20th Anniversary
SINGAPORE, 11 January 2010 – The Substation, Singapore’s first independent contemporary arts centre, has appointed Noor Effendy Ibrahim as their new Artistic Director, representing the fourth generation of artistic directors in its 20-year history.
Known for his versatility, Effendy is a visual and performance artist, a playwright, director, actor, educator and has also been known to design his own stage sets. Skilled in crafting powerful images and using the performers’ physicality to create memorable experiences for audiences, Effendy’s interest in artistic collaboration is mirrored by his interest in exploring the inter-cultural experiences of Singapore. The extensive range of his work, his willingness to push himself as an artist and to look deeply into troubling matters of the heart and soul have earned Effendy the respect of his peers.
“We are very confident and excited in appointing Effendy as The Substation’s next Artistic Director. During discussions with him, there was a sense of humanity and humane-ness about his views that recalled a perspective, and in that sense a tradition, that our founder, Kuo Pao Kun embodied. Pao Kun was profoundly steeped in Chinese culture but never confined by it. Similarly, neither was Sasi to Indian issues or ethnicity. Effendy’s appointment thus feels like a continuation and development of that profound position and tradition of The Substation, that it is a home for the arts for all Singaporeans, made up of the multi-ethnicity of its component communities of artists,” comments Mr Chew Kheng Chuan, Chairman of The Substation.
Effendy will succeed Audrey Wong and Lee Weng Choy, who have been The Substation’s Artistic Co-Directors since 2000. Audrey will remain with The Substation in a newly created role as Associate Director, responsible for the structure and development of The Substation’s education programme. Weng Choy will continue to teach at Sotheby’s Institute of Art Singapore and will pursue research and publication projects.
In 1990, the late dramatist Kuo Pao Kun founded The Substation and was its first Artistic Director. T. Sasitharan followed Pao Kun as Artistic Director in 1995 and then Audrey and Weng Choy became Artistic Co-Directors in 2000. Effendy will officially start with The Substation from Wednesday 17 February 2010.
As The Substation continues its nurturing role as an incubator of Singapore artists, there will be a re-focusing of The Substation’s raison d’être. In a world where sustainability as a practitioner seems to only come from working the international festival circuit, where funding for works is contingent on it being “internationally marketable”, and where “product” is emphasised above the artistic process, there is a necessity for an institution that guards, first and foremost, the engagement of art at home; home as a place of unresolved feelings, home as a place that is not always welcome and easy, home as a place that is often taken for granted.
In the early years, artists quickly adopted The Substation as their natural habitat for experimentation and gathering, as it was practically the only theatre and gallery space in Singapore providing space and resources for artists outside of the national institutions and big theatre halls. Under Pao Kun’s visionary leadership, artistic values were defined and talented artists emerged. When Sasi took over as Artistic Director in 1995, there was increasing demand for more professionalism in the arts. In this period, The Substation began a process of institutionalisation as operations and artistic programming processes were streamlined. Artists still needed space to stretch themselves and Sasi’s programmes challenged and nurtured artists to be more rigorous and critical. When Audrey and Weng Choy came on board in 2000, the arts was undergoing a period of exponential growth with the brouhaha over the Renaissance City Report; during the 2000s, the Esplanade opened and competition from other venues and events increased. The challenge has been to continue giving artists the opportunity to find their voices and push their practice, while reaching and nurturing a younger generation unfamiliar with Pao Kun’s legacy and The Substation’s beginnings and who have very different perspectives on the arts from the ‘original’ founding artists.
Through these changes in Singapore’s arts landscape, The Substation’s values have been to respond to the needs of the arts community, seeking dialogues with a diverse range of artists and audiences. “We at The Substation feel the urgent need to focus our energies to engage people in conversations about Singapore and the different notions of Singapore. So in refining our original mission, The Substation will nurture and challenge artists who grapple with Singapore-specific issues and concerns, and we believe that Effendy will contribute tremendously to The Substation and the arts community in his new role,” elaborates Mr Chew.
Effendy was chosen after a particularly rigorous selection process. The final short list of candidates made a short presentation during a Stakeholder Meeting that comprised current and former Board members, artists, media, partners and other notable leaders within the artistic community. After each candidate’s presentation, an energetic Q&A session followed. In the subsequent weeks the Board held its final rounds of discussions and the successful candidate was identified and approached and accepted the position.
Although Effendy won’t take up his new role until mid-February his direction is clear. He explains, “The challenge for The Substation is to be creative and rigorous in defining and articulating sustainable strategies and roles that will continue to sufficiently protect, nurture and develop both these artists and art processes. To achieve this, one of the key and urgent tasks is for The Substation is to re-establish and reconnect with the larger and diverse Singapore community through open, sincere and critical engagement and dialogues, entrusting the community as one of its key and indispensable stakeholders and partners. Over time this will ensure the continuity of a safe refuge and sanctuary for these artists and art processes, one that is inclusive and accepting, just like a home for the arts.”
About The Substation
The Substation is Singapore’s first independent arts centre with a focus on contemporary arts. Established in 1990 by the late Kuo Pao Kun, it is known for its pioneering and experimental arts programming, as an incubator for emerging Singapore artists, and its sense of adventure. With facilities including a black box theatre, gallery, dance studio, Random Room and classrooms, The Substation presents a wide range of artists and programmes. From cross-art form collaborations in the 1990s to today’s productions of theatre, film, visual and performance art, artists and audiences look to The Substation for innovative artistic initiatives.