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  • Writer's pictureJohn Savage

5th Passage: In Search of Lost Time Opens at Gajah Gallery

“5th Passage is room for all artists in all fields - actors, musicians, painters, poets, sculptors - a lodge for Giants in the Making and those who dare to dream.” - Declaration at the launch of 5th Passage, 1991

Gajah Gallery is proud to present ‘5th Passage: In Search of Lost Time’, an exhibitionary survey of one of the seminal art initiatives in Singapore’s history. In 1991, 5th Passage opened at Parkway Parade, a suburban shopping centre in the east of Singapore. Co-founded by Suzann Victor, Han Ling, and Susie Lingham, the initiative was intended to be a haven for a multi-disciplinary range of art forms encompassing visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, music, fashion, and design. In addition, 5th Passage also organised a range of talks and forums, alongside art outreach programmes for children as well. Inaugurated with the express intention of providing “Access to the Arts”, 5th Passage situated itself within the “ready-made public” of civic centres, consequently implanting itself within a social memory. While a substantial number of exhibitions, events, and programmes were realised under the auspices of the initiative between its 6 years of operation from 1991 to 1996, explications of the initiative have generally remained peripheral to examinations of singular events occurring during this time period, and thereby defining the initiative on those terms.

In the absence of a thorough historicization of 5th Passage and its wide-ranging activities, the exhibition looks to memories of its existence to reconstitute a basis for establishing its significance within the wider arc of the country’s arts and cultural development. Yet, memory is a fickle thing, and the remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were. Bringing together artists who had presented works under its auspices, this exhibition revives within the wider public consciousness the plethora of activities that articulated the initiative’s ideals and aspirations, while intimating the passage of time that has since elapsed.

‘5th Passage In Search Of Lost Time’ is curated by John Tung, and will be held at Gajah Gallery Singapore, from 23 September to 17 October. Accompanying the exhibition will be a series of online dialogues with the curator and artists, hosted by the gallery.

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