Accurate Fictions: A Conversation Between Artists and Historians

The Bicentennial year has given rise to several projects that treat historical material in an ‘artistic’ manner. These include the Bicentennial Experience, an audiovisual journey through 700 years of Singapore history, as well as Merdeka / 獨立 /சுதந்திரம் by Wild Rice, which examines the country’s colonial as well as anti-colonial legacy.

In this panel, join the makers of Merdeka / 獨立 /சுதந்திரம் and historians as they discuss the relationship between art, performance and history. What is the role of plays, films, and other media in disseminating history? How much ‘artistic license’ is possible before something loses its status as ‘historical’? And should artistic works that deal with history be ‘audited’ by historians before they are presented to the public?

This session will be moderated by Ruby Thiagarajan, editor of Mynah Magazine.

Biographies of speakers and moderator:

Dr Hong Lysa is an independent historian. She was formerly a member of the History Department, National University of Singapore. She co-authored The Scripting of a National History: Singapore and its Pasts (2008) and co-edited and contributed chapters to The May 13 Generation (2011) and The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore (2013). She also co-edited Poh Soo Kai's historical memoir Living in A Time of Deception (2016).

Glen Goei is the co-artistic director of Wild Rice. Some of the plays he has directed for the company include La Cage Aux Folles, The Importance of Being Earnest, Emily of Emerald Hill and Supervision. He is also a film director whose credits include Forever Fever, The Blue Mansion and Revenge of the Pontianak. He earned his B.A. Hons in History from Cambridge University.

Dr Nurfadzilah Yahaya is Assistant Professor of History at the National University of Singapore. She specializes in legal history, history of the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. Her forthcoming book, Fluid Jurisdictions of Arab Diaspora under Colonial Rule in Southeast Asia will be published by Cornell University Press.

Alfian Sa’at is the Resident Playwright of Wild Rice. His plays with the company include Cooling-Off Day, The Optic Trilogy and Hotel (with Marcia Vanderstraaten). In addition to Hotel, his other works which are inspired by examinations of history and historiography include Tiger of Malaya (2018) and the upcoming Too Many Lives (2020).

Neo Hai Bin is a writer and theatre practitioner. Some of his plays include 招: When The Cold Wind Blows (Singapore Theatre Festival, 2018), Cut Kafka! (Esplanade Huayi Festival Commission, 2018) and Tanah•Air 水•土 (Drama Box, 2019). His literary works can be found at thethoughtspavilion.wordpress.com

Ruby Thiagarajan is the editor-in-chief and a founder of Mynah Magazine, a periodical dedicated to untold stories about Singapore. Her commentary has also appeared in Vulture Magazine and New Naratif. She holds a Masters in Public Humanities from Brown University.
Sat Nov 2, 2019
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM SGT
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FREE General Admission FULL
Venue Address
107 North Bridge Road, #04-08 Funan Mall, Singapore Singapore