After recently joining the Women In Art committee, set up by Nuwa founder, Elaine Friedlander, I was asked to moderate the Be Bold Be You panel discussion, featuring three inspiring role models from Singapore’s arts scene. Anita Kapoor is a TV host, writer, moderator and advocate for equal rights. Sukki Singapora, a professional burlesque dancer and a role model to young men and women in the arts in Singapore and Amanda Chong a lawyer, published poet and co-founder of ReadAble, a not for profit organisation helping migrant women to read. I felt excited about putting the conversation together and seeing where the questions would lead with such a great panel.
The event was all about connecting women working in the arts in Singapore through networking, a panel discussion and other activities. It is wonderful to have events like this running in Singapore because there hasn’t been any networking platform here exclusively for people working in the arts.
Although there has been a significant increase in interesting new women’s groups in recent years, from Connected Women and She Says to Lean In, they tend to be more corporate and tech based. Be Bold Be You was run by women in the arts, for women in the arts. What is more, the theme was chosen for the panel discussion based on feedback that Nuwa had received about women wanting more inspirational role models in the arts.
The discussion was based around the external and internal factors that enable and disable women in their careers. In an open and honest discussion, we talked about barriers, drivers, the need for courage and how to embrace failure and disappointment head on and turn them into something positive and future focused.
All three women passionately shared their personal experiences with the 60 strong audience at Mox Co working space. It was so interesting to consider these questions from the perspectives of these incredibly talented and successful women, all at different stages in their careers who surprisingly had so many commonalities in the struggles and triumphs they have had.
So what does it mean to be a woman in the arts in Singapore? My key takeaways from a really lively discussion and some great audience questions were:
1. the importance of connecting with your true self. Regardless of where you have come from, knowing yourself and projecting a genuine version of you that you have accepted, is important for your sense of confidence.
2. the acknowledgement that it takes a persistent type of inner bravery (not necessarily strength) to overcome that sense of imposter syndrome and face moments of failure and disappointment.
3. women need to take the time to celebrate your own successes and own your expertise because we are so busy trying to succeed that we don’t stop to reflect on the brilliant things we have already done and our incredible achievements.
4. that with success also comes the responsibility to represent others and to help and empower them. Championing those that do not have a voice is a great driver and motivator and makes what you do deeply rewarding and meaningful.
The next Women in Arts event called Bloom is celebrating International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March 2019. Mark it in your calendars and look out for more details here.
For more of our blog posts about women in the arts and social progress read here. For coverage of the best exhibitions and art happenings in and around Singapore and SE Asia, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. You can read more of our articles here and artist interviews here.
Creative Arts Social is a not for profit organisation. We believe that art is for everyone. We all have the creative potential to understand, connect with and benefit from the arts. For more information about the work we do here.