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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Press Release Re-woven: Featuring The Works of Benny Ong Butterflies in Samsara 16 November 2007 – 22 February 2008 (10 October 2007) Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is proud to present the exhibition Re-woven, featuring Buddhist-inspired silk weavings by internationally renowned Singaporean fashion designer Benny Ong. For the first time, Ong will create an exclusive collection of 46 pieces of hand-woven artworks with each piece uniquely designed. The exhibition will be on show at the Museum from 16 November 2007 to 22 February 2008. One of the first Singaporean designers established in London, Benny Ong‟s fashion designs have been collected by individuals like the Queen of Jordan, Duchess of Kent, and the late Princess Diana. Benny‟s exclusive designs for the installation in Singapore Art Museum convey his personal appreciation for physical, intellectual and spiritual balance, including “the preservation of what would otherwise be lost”. An interpretation of inner contemplation, thought, stillness, joy and meditation conveyed in a contemporary setting, the exhibition features the traditional Lao art of silk weaving. The silk fabric designs by Benny Ong feature a series of standing and sitting Buddha images, as well as profiles of Buddha, meditative hands and doves. The works measure up to an impressive 178 centimetres high and 112 centimetres wide. Ong‟s collection of woven art is an expression of his belief in the simplicity in life, the essential inter-dependence of people, and that the beauty in life resides in the essence of our environment. Consequently, this exhibition embodies the message of social responsibility and Buddhist philosophy, especially through the collaboration with a family of traditional artisans in Northern Laos to produce the woven silk pieces. These weavers are skilled in a craft that is passed down through the generations. Through this exhibition and related public programmes, Singapore Art Museum hopes to provide Buddhist-inspired art as well as the traditional Lao heritage of weaving, a contemporary avenue of expression. Says SAM curator of the exhibition, Joyce Fan, “Benny‟s work is very much Inspired by nature, and the installation that he has created for this exhibition exemplifies this introspection. As a result, as reflective in this group of works, he is able to archive that fine balance between the physical, the intellectual and the spiritual, conveying his vision and philosophy. He has aptly entitled this series of artworks as Jubilation, Contemplation, and Mind Field, and it comprises images of Buddhist icons on silk, which are created using traditional weaving techniques from Laos,. The textile works are displayed in three groupings within the gallery so to evoke for the visitors, a spiritual journey to embark on.” The Contemplation series comprises 8 standing and 8 sitting Buddhas; each measuring 1.75 metres in height and 0.5 meters in width, the series will be installed in a semi-circle. The Mind Field series arises from a study of the profile of Buddha shown from various angles. In contrast, the Jubilation series dwells into the elements associated with Buddhism; it is an interpretation of objects, images or thoughts expressed in a way of living. These associations are shown in images of two hands gesturing in a meditative posture or doves resting on a palm signifying peace and harmony. Says Benny Ong, “Re-woven is an installation of woven art which are creations in textile, traditionally woven in contemporary designs. These designs are an interpretation of inner contemplation, thought, stillness and meditation based on Buddhist thought and philosophy. In focusing on the themes of contemplation, remembrance and reminiscence, these woven art installations provide visitors with both aesthetic and artistic experience, as well as a spatial and spiritual one.” Re-woven is part of Celebrate ASEAN!, a programme series under the National Heritage Board, that celebrates ASEAN‟s 40th Anniversary as well as marks Singapore taking over the chair of ASEAN in November 2007. Re-woven is also part of Singapore Design Festival 2007. Please refer to the following Annexes for more information: Annex A Selected artworks Annex B About Benny Ong Annex C About Singapore Art Museum For media interviews and further information contact: Sybil Chiew DID: 6332 3291 Senior Marcom Officer FAX: 6334 7919 Singapore Art Museum E-mail: Sybil_Chiew@nhb.gov.sg For more information, visit www.singart.com Mondays to Sundays : 10am to 7pm, with extended hours and FREE Admission on Fridays from 6pm to 9pm Singapore Art Museum is located at 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555 General enquiries, please contact Front desk at 6332 3222. Annex A Selected artworks Annex B About artist Benny Ong (Photography by: Tan Kheng Ju) 1971 TO 1979 - Set up Benny Ong Ltd and presented first collection which was brought by prestigious British store Harrods and Selfridges. - Invited to participate and become a founding member of the prestigious The London Designer Collection. - Chosen to represent Britain in the Young Designer Fashion Extravaganza in Milan organized by giant fibre conglomerate SNIA VISCOSA. The event also showcased the work of top young European designers Gianfranco Ferre, Claude Montana and JC Castlebajac. - Created and presented Britain premier fashion shows twice yearly in London, Paris and New York to top international buyers and press. - Created 2 new design collections for the middle price international market: o International Collection for special occasion dressing o Sunday Collection for weekend and cruisewear. - Develop private label design for prestigious London store, Austin Reed. - Created first ever lux cashmere knitwear for premier designer store Barney‟s (New York). 1980 TO 1990 - Represented his company at London Fashion Week receptions hosted by the Right Honorable Margaret Thatcher ( Prime Minister ) at 10 Downing Street. - Commissioned by Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales to design her wardrobe for her first ever royal tour to Australia. - Selected to tender for the British Telecom new corporate uniform design. - Selected to design and develop branded merchandise for the premier British mail order company Great Universal Store ( GUS). - Represented company in fashion forums in television programmes Pebble Mill BBC. - Introduced unbranded collection for the middle market range of the British chain store C&A. - Lectured regularly at fashion forums to both students and industry. - Lectured at design colleges – St. Martins School of Art, Newcastle Polytechnic. - External examiner for St Martins School of Art and Design – final year degree examinations. - Invited by the European Silk Commission to promote Silk in all their major fashion shows in Europe. - Opened two Benny Ong boutiques in Singapore at Raffles Hotel and Paragon by Sogo. - Lectured at Fashion Colleges – Epsom and the American College in London. - Invited (along with 5 other eminent British designers) to tender and won the prestigious British Airport Authority (BAA) corporate clothing contract. The brief is to design uniform for all the seven major British Airports. - Approach by Boots (Pharmaceutical) PLC UK to reappraise their uniform. - Launched Diffusion Label BENE in association with Sogo for S.E.A market. LIST OF MAJOR PROJECTS ACCOMPLISHED 1990 TO PRESENT (2007) - Tendered and won the prestigious uniform design contract for the reopening of Raffles Hotel, Singapore. - Design/ Consult uniforms for Raffles International Group Hotels: o Cambodia, The Le Royal Hotel in Phnom Penh o The Grand D‟Angkor in Siem Reap o Singapore, The Merchant Court Hotel o Germany, The Hotel Jahrezeitan in Hamburg - Design/Consult for Economic Development Board Singapore their corporate ties/scarves and staff uniform for official functions. - Design/ Consult corporate ties/accessories for National Computer Board Singapore. - Design/Consult corporate ties/accessories for Nanyang Polytechnic Singapore. - Commisioned to design the art installation silk hand woven textiles for the new SGH museum - Participated in The premier Gift Fair in New York - Design and consult for the new uniforms for the Singapore hospital Tan Tock Seng - Design and consult corporate tie for IE Singapore - Design and consult for the new uniforms of The Nailert Park Hotel Bangkok - Exhibited premier collection of woven art in Vientienne Laos ( 2005) - Design and consult for the new uniforms for Raffles Beijing (2006) - Design and consult for the new uniforms for The Beijing Hotel (2006) - Exhibited a collection of woven Art works at The Mori Museum Tokyo ( 2006) - Exhibited a collection of woven Art works at The Mori Museum Tokyo ( 2006) - Design and consult for the new uniforms for ST Regis Hotel (Singapore) (2007) - Exhibited a collection of woven Art works at The Mori Museum Tokyo ( 2006) - Exhibit a collection of Benny Ong gowns-„The Prince of Gowns” at The National Museum Singapore ( 2007) Annex C About Singapore Art Museum Opened in January 1996, the mission of the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is to preserve and present the art histories and contemporary art practices of Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. To date, SAM has amassed the world‟s largest public collection of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian artworks with a growing component in international contemporary art. The museum has presented shows covering both local and international art practices, traditional and cutting edge art expressions. Through strategic alliances with international arts and cultural institutions, SAM has been facilitating visual arts education, exchange, research and development within the region and internationally. Through forging collaborative partnerships and staging innovative programmes to engage different audiences, SAM aims to contribute to an enlarged role in the regional visual arts community and Asian art museology, as well as facilitating developments in art as well as the art sector in Singapore.
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