is a Singapore curator, lecturer, and critic of Southeast Asian art. Examining the region’s cultural and political landscape, exhibitions include Negotiating Home, History and Nation: two decades of contemporary art in Southeast Asia 1991-2011, Singapore Art Museum; Aung Ko’s Village, Esplanade, Singapore; Making History, Esplanade; Intersection Vietnam, VWFASingapore and KualaLumpur; Vasan Sitthiket Red Planet, VWFA-Galeri National, Jakarta; Beasts, Breasts & Beauty, Alliance Francaise, Singapore; Stitching the Wound: Arahmaiani in Bangkok, JThompson Foundation, Bangkok; Reformasi-Indonesian art post-1998, Sculpture Square, Singapore; Subverted Boundaries: SingaporeVietnamThailand, Sculpture Square; Vu Dan Tan & Nguyen Quang Huy, Frank & Lee, Singapore; Inflated Nostalgia- Sutee Kunavichayanont, Frank & Lee.
Lenzi runs Southeast Asian artists’ residencies in France, and lectures in the Asian Art Histories MA program, Lasalle College, Singapore. She is regional correspondent for Asian Art, London, and a regular contributor- commissioning-editor of anthologies on regional art. She is the author of Museums of Southeast Asia.
Riverscapes IN FLUX is characterised by its regional scope and communitarian focus. My curating and writing centres on establishing connections between visual art practices across Southeast Asia, so rivers, linking arteries of the region, are a special draw. FLUX’s community-involvement is a second, socially-engaged art a canon-defining strand of Southeast Asian contemporary art.
Historically, the great rivers of Southeast Asia have been key to the exchanges of goods and ideas that have given Southeast Asia its plural, layered culture. This pluralism, reverberating strongly in regional practice today, provides its power and universal legibility, despite its local thematic content.
Major rivers of mainland Southeast Asia - the Mekong, Irrawaddy, Chaophraya, Red River - have, in the 21st century, become sites of contestation because they remain vital sources of traditional livelihood for local populations, while also important to the production of hydro-power and industrial development, both responsible for devastating environmental degradation. As such, waterways embody regional struggle opposing modernity and conservation. This struggle has clear political implications, citizens increasingly speaking up in defense of their communities’ way of life. Rivers and what they represent therefore prompt engagement and community organization in the face of monolithic power structures. Rivers that cross international boundaries also cause nationalist muscle-flexing, river-based regional rivalries used to deflect attention from governments’ duties as environmental custodians.
Riverscapes IN FLUX, bringing Southeast Asia together through visual art, tackles one of the most future-influencing concerns of this generation, the balancing of economic development and environmental conservation. The project also raises essential questions of individual empowerment.