Launch of Present Realms Launch of Present Realms

Launch of Present Realms

  • 17 Dec 2021

The Singapore Art Museum launched its pilot residency programme in January 2021, featuring Chu Hao Pei, Salty Xi Jie Ng and Johann Yamin. Present Realms is a fluid project space, which has emerged from their explorations and conversations. Presenting ongoing inquiries into the intimacies that emerge through everyday life rituals, their practices offer a glimpse into both familiar and lesser-known methods, visualities and beliefs in contemporary worlds.

Chu investigates seed sovereignty and cultural loss across Southeast Asia as they came to be shaped by infrastructural and social factors. Ng explores the intersections of grief, rituals, ancestor worship and Chinese religions, as well as the complex relationship between museum acquisition processes in relation to social forms of art. Yamin focuses on histories of eSports and its ecosystem(s) from a Southeast Asian vantage point to consider nationalism, capitalist logics and queer games communities.

Present Realms reflects the shared and interactive working environment that defines SAM Residencies. By inviting participation from visitors, it intends to extend the dialogue on critical questions raised by the artists through their works.

Click here to register for a slot from 17 Dec – 6 Jan

SAM Residencies is committed to supporting the development of innovative artistic and curatorial practices that respond to current global discourses. Developed in line with SAM’s vision of engaging local and international artistic communities across a wide range of disciplines, the programme will feature four residency types to support emerging and innovative practices, facilitate collaboration and foster understanding of art among the general public . The studio-based residencies are open to artists, curators, art organisations, artist-run spaces, and community- and education-focused art practitioners . For more information, visit

Associated Programmes

Dear Singapore Art Museum Acquisition Committee
Sun, 16 Jan | 2pm

Do relational and social forms of art inherently resist collection by institutions? How are these process-oriented and ephemeral works defined, conserved and valued within the contemporary art institution? Salty Xi Jie Ng presents her ongoing research, based on interviews with Singapore Art Museum’s directors and curators, as well as fellow artists, in the form of a template museum acquisitions agreement. In her lecture, she will propose that SAM collects artist Zarina Muhammad’s recently formalised work on the spiritual and energetic lives of art spaces, titled 9 Questions as Instructions to Construct Pragmatic Prayers for Peculiar Habitats. Zarina’s work presents insights on non-monetary modes of exchange and living, which may also be acquired by a museum. The SAM Acquisitions Committee is cordially invited to attend.

In-person registration:
Livestream link:

She Became My Ancestor

She Became My Ancestor by Equatorial Research Centre for Ritual & Ancestor Worship is a transdisciplinary and dimension-crossing constellation exploring relationships between living and deceased loved ones. The Centre maps relationships, investigates cultural identity and pursues self-invention through its experimental and collaborative research. It was founded by Salty Xi Jie Ng following her grandma's retirement from physical form.

Register here:

An ornate tunnel to the other side
Sat, 22 Jan | 3–3.30pm

This performance explores ancestor worship as a means of continuing relationships between the living and the dead, wish-fulfilment on behalf of the deceased and rituals as everyday acts of self-invention.

Everyday Devotion
Sat, 22 Jan | 3.45–5pm

While discussing collected responses about Chinese ancestor worship and rituals, you are invited to reflect on lived experience and cultural identity, and imagine new ways of making rituals.

She Became My Ancestor
Zoom discussion
Sun, 23 Jan | 4pm

Ng discusses her work on Chinese ancestor worship and rituals with writer, artist and anthropologist Jill J. Tan, who researches death and funeral professions .

About the Guest Speaker
Jill J. Tan is a Singaporean writer, artist and researcher committed to collaborative practice and multimodal exploration through games, performance and poetics. As a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Yale University, Tan studies death and dying in Singapore and works with people in the funeral industry. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Ghost Proposal, Palimpsest, Mynah, Brack, City and Society Journal, the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival anthology Film Criticism Collective 2 ( 2017) and Resistant Hybridities: Tibetan Narratives in Exile (2020). Tan is an editor at the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s Visual and New Media Review and co-runs the publication and literary collective Little Study. For more information on her practice, visit


Rice Tea Ceremony by Chu Hao Pei
Artwork activation
Weekends in January 2022 | 2–5pm
Registration required

To activate his presentation in Present Realms, Chu Hao Pei will be hosting a Rice Tea Ceremony – a reinterpretation of the traditional tea ceremony that involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of tea.

Chu’s Rice Tea Ceremony invites audiences to take a moment to share their knowledge and memories of rice. Audiences are invited to bring a handful of rice to take part in the ceremony.

Register here: