FOREWORD

Nomads are constantly on the move. They are seekers, movers, wanderers. Identity Nomads do the same, redefining themselves on their journey.

Our identity is the result of constant negotiations with the world around us, the beliefs we adopt or leave behind and the challenges we encounter along the way. The sense of belonging to a group, a religion, a tradition is no longer a safe-haven, but becomes
frayed by the introduction of global ideas and concepts. Globalization, urbanization, internationalization – life as we knew it has come apart and, at best, is reconstructed in segments, some from right where we are, others from across the globe. Migration,
religion, ideology and tradition arbitrarily mingle and give birth to new beliefs.

Indonesian artists Daniel Kho, Teguh Ostenrik and Ito Joyoatmojo, German artists Lili Voigt and Odo Rumpf and Singaporean
painter Irene S.M. Lee have embarked on a quest to explore and investigate this multitude of influences on their own identity.
As much as their artworks differ in material and style, they singularly reflect what constructs or undermines the artists sense of who they are as individuals, in a society or as part of a nation. By inquiring into the nature of stereotypes and examining symbols of race, religion or gender, they question their own set of beliefs and their place in a world of shifting paradigms. Rapid transformations in societies the world over have become catalysts for the need to constantly re-examine ourselves. These Identity Nomads navigate cultures, belief systems and traditions, they find
themselves striving for mutual understanding and acceptance.

Once the customary boundaries loosen their grip, the self becomes a construct, changing constantly as a response to an
ever-changing world. The once complete and coherent identity rooted in tradition and customs is replaced by fragments taken from ideas across the globe.

The artists unmask this global identity crisis by examining their own lives and their relationship with the very things that used to strengthen them: religion, race, ideology, tradition, philosophy. For example: Living in a foreign country might not only present new insights into another lifestyle but also make us reflect on our own beliefs. We can accept or discard that which is different.

It is a perilous yet enticing journey. It is a journey that requires courage to face what we find along the way and what we find within us.

The exhibition confronts us with the artists struggles as each explores his or her own take on identity. With uncompromising
candidness these artists tell their stories. Some might contradict, some might please, some might puzzle. But all of them are
authentic. And all of them will keep moving. For some, this search is a chance to add value to their identity and self.

In a world of multiple cultures and beliefs, the artists navigate through the unknown, dealing with their own complexity of being through painting, sculpture, or video installation. The language of self-expression does not know restrictions unless we form them. It is a language which grows stronger with conviction, knowledge and truth. Identity Nomads are on their way. Seeking. Learning. Sharing. Laughing.

The visitors of the exhibition are invited to examine what is presented to them and what this means for their own life’s journey.

Jutta Odenwälder
Artist, Independent Curator
Regional Curator Singapore

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