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Curator June Yap Withdraws from Singapore Pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale

Curator June Yap and project manager Neo Kim Seng have withdrawn from the Singapore exhibition at the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale due to the team’s “differences in operational approaches,” Huang Lijie of the Strait Times reports.

The National Arts Council, which announced in August that Yap and artist Zai Kuning were chosen to represent Singapore, said in a statement that it received a request from the pavilion team for Yap and Neo to step away from the project. It added that the change up was “a mutually agreed upon decision” and that the project remains “on track.” The council thanked Yap and Neo for their contributions and said it will provide Kuning with additional support if necessary.

Kuning is preparing to exhibit a body of work that focuses on the history and culture of the nomadic communities along the coasts of Indonesia’s Riau Islands Province, as well as on historical figures such as Dapunta Hyang Sri Jayanasa—the first maharaja of the Southeast Asian kingdom of Srivijaya, which was founded as early as 200 BCE and dissolved in the fourteenth century.

The artist said that he hopes his work will expand Singaporeans’ knowledge of their history and identity. The studio where Kuning is preparing for the exhibition, the Gilman Barracks art enclave, will be open to the public on January 13.