The NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore presents the debut presentation of The Sovereign Forest in Southeast Asia by New Delhi based artist Amar Kanwar. The Sovereign Forest initiates a creative response to our understanding of crime, politics, human rights and ecology. The validity of poetry as evidence in a trial, the discourse on seeing, on compassion, justice and the determination of the self, all come together in a constellation of films, texts, books, photographs, seeds and processes. This internationally acclaimed project has been presented in numerous contexts, including at dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), the 11th Sharjah Biennial (2013), and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2012 – 2013). With each iteration, new materials are added, which builds on the installation’s focus and premise — the exhaustive struggles over the resource-rich land of Odisha in east India and the issue of its ownership.
Kanwar was first presented at the NTU CCA Singapore in the exhibition No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia featuring The Trilogy (1997 – 2003) as part of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative in 2014. Recognised for his complex, contemporary narratives that connect intimate personal spheres of existence to larger social and political processes, Kanwar’s projects are based on ongoing research that takes a critical look at how political struggles are presented and represented. By exploring ways in which one can take an open-ended approach towards archiving these acts of resistance.
The Sovereign Forest is presented in collaboration with Sudhir Pattnaik/Samadrusti and Sherna Dastur, and produced with the support of Samadrusti, Odisha, India; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, United Kingdom; Public Press, New Delhi, India and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany.
The exhibition at NTU CCA Singapore is curated by Ute Meta Bauer, Khim Ong, and Magdalena Magiera, in collaboration with Amar Kanwar, Sudhir Pattnaik and Sherna Dastur.