In the spirit of facilitating diversity in the arts community, The Substation is shining a spotlight this December on disabled artists, and poets from the migrant workers community.

In collaboration with social enterprise Access Path Productions – which works with deaf and disabled communities – The Substation will present ‘alieNATION project’ on 12 and 13 December, the weekend following the worldwide commemoration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).

alieNATION project seeks to comment on the shared experiences of alienation from society – be it by nationality, vocation, or disability – in a pre-COVID world, and how it took a global pandemic for society to confront the alienation which some communities have always been facing, given that the world has been made less accessible now to the majority of the population due to lockdown measures implemented globally

Migrant workers Razib and Tabangura were invited by the Access Path to contribute their poetry for the project, describing their emotional states of alienation when they found themselves stuck inside their dormitories for months during the lockdown earlier this year.

Disabled artists Cavan Chang and Tung Ka Wai then developed their own visual art, poetry and movement as an artistic response. Taking the migrant workers’ poetry as a departure point, director Grace Lee-Khoo will present a visual art installation/dance-theatre performance which connects their creative impetus and lived experiences with the poetry.

“We are always jumping at opportunities to highlight the lived experiences of fringe communities, through the art of poetry, visual art, and movement in this working context,” said Grace Lee-Khoo, Artistic Director of Access Path Productions.

“Through this project, we hope to present an alternate response to what mainstream society might expect. A nation built on alienation can be transformed into an ‘ally nation’ through dialogic encounters. The key is to develop a collective duty of care for those who are different from us. This includes the socially disabled turning the lens onto the mainstream and examining what kind of power structures are currently in place to perpetuate division,” she added.

alieNATION project is part of The Substation’s sandbox programming for 2020, which aims to provide a dedicated space for artists to experiment, and facilitate an environment where arts can grow organically in the process of trying and testing.

The project reflects The Substation’s mission to support research and innovation in the arts by nurturing and challenging Singapore artists, providing an open space for artistic experimentation, promoting interaction between diverse artists and audiences

“We are always on the lookout for ways to bring Substation’s values to the world at large, and offer a space for the community to collectivise in its agency and potency to affect the world. Giving a platform for our disabled and migrant worker artists to come together signals our ongoing commitment to creating an inclusive and accessible environment in our programming,” said Woon Tien Wei, Co-Artistic Director of The Substation.

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