Painting with Light returns to National Gallery Singapore

News | Written By, NOW!Singapore | September 14th, 2018

Running from 5 October 2018, the second edition of the festival of international films on art brings a special focus on lives around the world caught in transition.

Singapore, 13 September 2018 – To showcase the role of art in society, National Gallery Singapore presents the second edition of Painting with Light: Festival of International Films on Art, using the evocative medium of film to shed light on important issues around the world in a bid to create new ways of seeing. This year, there will also be a Special Focus section on communities in transition.

Taking place from 5 to 28 October 2018, the only film festival in Singapore dedicated to art returns this year with over 30 thought-provoking films by Singapore, regional and international filmmakers and artists. Comprising a mix of award-winning feature-length and short films, as well as single-channel works, the selection is thoughtfully curated to facilitate conversations on the role of art and museums in offering new perspectives to critical issues in society today.

Ms. Suenne Megan Tan, Director for Audience Development and Engagement at the Gallery, and the Festival Director of Painting with Light said, “This year, Painting with Light traces the ways in which we are moved by the transformative power in art. Through film, we take a closer look at the challenges of transition, migration and displacement, and the role art plays in shaping new realities in the face of these issues. By harnessing film’s storytelling power, we hope to connect with a wider audience, encourage appreciation for the arts, and to foster a thoughtful and inclusive society.”

The Festival consists of four sections, with this year’s Special Focus drawing attention to the reality and experience of displacement, an issue that is central to many of today’s most critical global debates.

Films on artists and their interventions on society

Films on institutions of art and their communities

Films that capture the reality of transition

Short films on the stories of Southeast Asia

The festival will open with the debut feature of acclaimed Singapore visual artist John Clang, entitled Their Remaining Journey (2018), which examines the intertwining stories of three seemingly unrelated groups of people around the world as they negotiate personal loss and displacement. Clang’s film enters the intimate worlds of his characters with sensitivity—portraying their private consternation from being in between states—and tells of an existence that transcends time and space, life and death.


This year’s Special Focus section highlights the unsettling experience of transition, capturing the challenges of displacement, migration and the diasporic experience for millions around the world.

Glimpse (2017) by Polish visual artist Artur Żmijewski, and Central Airport THF (2018) by based-in-Berlin Brazilian visual artist Karim Aïnouz, reflect the nature of the directors’ engagement with the current refugee crisis. Żmijewski’s film presents the living conditions of displaced families living at four refugee camps across Europe, and forces us to confront the way we see. Aïnouz’s film, on the other hand, follows asylum seekers at the massive hangers of the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, which were now turned into emergency shelters, where they cope with homesickness and the anxiety of their future residency or be deported.


Glimpse (2017) by Artur Żmijewski


Central Airport THF (2018) by Karim Ainouz

Ms. Pauline Soh, Painting with Light Festival Programmer said, “Żmijewski’s unrelenting take on the refugees’ bleak living conditions, and Aïnouz’s sensitive compositions surfacing their humanity, together bring to light the immense sense of loss but also abiding hope of these displaced peoples. The refugee crisis has ignited fiery debates across the world in recent years; we hope these films can bring about a deeper reflection on such issues as we navigate an uncertain future.”

Festival goers can also catch screenings of romantic comedy The Tailor (2017) by Vietnamese directors Kay Nguyen and Tran Buu Loc. This heartwarming film celebrates the enduring beauty of Vietnamese artistry through the adventures of a young heiress to an ao dai fashion house in Saigon and her attempt to save her family business by creating the modern ao dai.


At selected screenings, the audience will have the opportunity to meet with some of these filmmakers and artists during intimate post-screening dialogues. As part of the opening weekend, the Gallery will also be organising a public forum on 6 October with filmmakers Kamila Andini and John Clang, as well as historian Dr Mohamed Effendy as they explore cultural notions of performative spirituality and displacement surfaced in the films.

More information on Painting with Light: Festival of International Films of Art 2018 can be found

on Tickets are available from the Gallery, as well as SISTIC websites and ticketing counters.

General Admission
$10 per ticket (includes booking fee)

Early Bird
$8 per ticket (Available from 13 to 27 Sep)

Group Bookings
$8 per ticket (purchases of 4 tickets or more in a single transaction)

Gallery Insiders: $8 per ticket
Local and international students, NSFS, and seniors aged 60 and above: $8.50 per ticket

*Please bring along a valid ID for checks at the door. Patrons unable to present proof of eligibility are required to upgrade their concession tickets to full price tickets.

About National Gallery Singapore

National Gallery Singapore is a visual arts institution which oversees the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Situated in the heart of the Civic District, the Gallery is housed in two national monuments—City Hall and former Supreme Court—that have been beautifully restored and transformed into this exciting venue. Reflecting Singapore’s unique heritage and geographical location, the Gallery features Singapore and Southeast Asian art from Singapore’s National Collection in its long-term and special exhibitions. The Gallery also works with international museums to jointly present Southeast Asian art in the global context, positioning Singapore as a regional and international hub for the visual arts.

In 2016, the Gallery won the awards for “Best Attraction Experience”, “Breakthrough Contribution to Tourism” and “Best Customer Service (Attractions)” at the prestigious Singapore Tourism Awards for its role in adding to the vibrancy of Singapore’s tourism landscape.





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