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Thailand and Singapore lead comeback for Asia's art fests

Post-pandemic biennales challenge Hong Kong's regional dominance

A view of "Get to the Point," part of an installation by art collective AWKNDAFFR at Singapore Biennale 2022, also known as Natasha. (Singapore Biennale 2022)

BANGKOK -- Ever since China decided it was time to rein in Hong Kong, there has been speculation about whether new curbs on freedoms would change the lopsided balance of power in Southeast Asia's contemporary art hubs. Previously, critical focus was primarily on Hong Kong, no matter how many exhibitions and art fairs were held elsewhere.

Although the Singaporean government has been unusually supportive of cultural activities the city has never managed to capture that Bohemian atmosphere favored by artists and art lovers. Clean, orderly, law-abiding and conformist, Singapore has struggled to convince international audiences of its avant-garde street cred.

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