Sensual, exuberant and optimistic. These are adjectives used by one New Zealand gallery to describe the engaging works of social practice artist Tiffany Singh – works to be “encountered with joy”.
Of Māori, Indian and Pacific Island descent, Tiffany identifies as an NZ/Asian artist. The three residencies in Asia that she has had through the Foundation – 1 Shanthi Rd in Bangalore, the Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre and Taipei Artist Village – have helped define her career.
“I was able to operate as a contemporary Asian artist and further my art identity through my content inquiry and my aesthetic development,” Tiffany says.
“In New Zealand there’s more focus on Māori and Pacific art. A contemporary Asian lens is on the periphery. The residencies connected me with Asian contemporaries on a similar professional trajectory.”
Tiffany says her experiences have been crucial in giving her a foothold in Asia.
“I’m currently working with Taiwanese artist Ju-Pin Chang in a project supported by the Taipei Artist Village. Both these connections came through the Foundation. Relationships are especially important within an Asian context and being able to keep working with Asia has been vital to maintaining them.”
Residencies are fruitful because they give the artist “a space and focused time”, Tiffany says. “It gives you space to grow and hone your craft and develop where it is you want to go next. There’s a gem that comes out of the last enquiry that seeds the new enquiry, so there’s that evolution of practice.”
At times, however, it can be isolating to be a long way from home. Tiffany says she is grateful for the ongoing outreach and support the Foundation gave her at such times.
“I absolutely think New Zealand artists could benefit from more exposure to the Asian contemporary art scene,” she says. “And I would argue for specific opportunities for the Asian diaspora.”