State Of The Art

Venka Purushothaman, Provost of LaSalle College, is excited about Singapore’s buzzing arts scene and believes that technology aids creativity

3/2/2017 3:56:59 PM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

The growing and vibrant arts scene in Singapore is being further advanced by art schools such as LaSalle College of Arts, which are fostering new talent. At its helm is Venka Purushothaman, Vice President (Academic) and Provost.

A third generation Singaporean, Purushothaman, has a blend of Telugu and Tamil lineage, with the latter adding some Sri Lankan connections. “The cultural consciousness of my family setting is located within South India, but I consider myself a South-east Asian and that is a sensibility I’ve started to articulate as I grow older,” he said.

The artistic streak in him seems to have come from his paternal side who came here in the 1800s. These relatives were not just civil servants under the British rule, but also had theatre companies. They travelled through the region before settling down in Singapore. He felt that the movement between India and South-east Asia was very fluid at that time, but it flowed less post colonialism when countries started building nations. Hopefully this will increase in the 21st century. “I will always say that people in the 1700 and 1800s were much ahead of the game. They discovered cultures, people and took the best of it. Today we categorise ourselves as nation states and structures which are important but at the same time it stops us from border crossing,” he added. 

Talking about his own sensibilities, Purushothaman said, “There was a time when I used to say I am a global citizen, but this does not work anymore, location means something and what do you say from the point of view of where you are standing. Having a world lens is something that I try to infuse in my students too.”

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