As We Were  presents selected works, from the collection of Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson, which celebrate the diverse practices and conceptual concerns of artists in Southeast Asia. Although each artwork engages with specific contexts, the exhibition aims to present a broader narrative found in the thoughtful dialogues between materials, subject matter, and artistic processes. The works reflect different political and social landscapes, environmental issues, and varied spiritual ideas but also provide a glimpse into the shared humanity and similar lived experiences of the peoples who call this region home. In this expanded perspective, we are offered an insight into ourselves, expressed through the relationships we have with each other, with our physical environment, and with something greater than ourselves.

In her book, “The Year of Magical Thinking,” Joan Didion wrote, “We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.”  We recognise in the passage of time the inevitability of change. And yet in such contemplations, there is a need to pause in order to recognise these changes. The pandemic seems to have offered us such a pause. Few have been left untouched by grief, loss, and anxiety during these dark days but we have also been given time to reflect on the world we inhabit and the lives we have led. This exhibition is thus offered as a contemplation of how much has changed, and how much still remains the same. As we were. Perhaps as we are still.

The exhibition features over 40 works by contemporary artists from 8 Southeast Asian countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Ranging from painting, sculpture, installation, photography, and video, the artworks in this exhibition reveal the dynamic breadth of artistic practices across the region. Conceived as part of the Helutrans Collector's Series, As We Were exemplifies the strong collaborative partnership between the collectors, the exhibition organisers, SEED The Art Space, and venue and logistics partner, Helutrans Singapore Pte Ltd. We are proud to present to local audiences this unique opportunity to view and appreciate contemporary art from a notable private collection.


16 SEPTEMBER - 17 OCTOBER 2021  
ArtSpace@HeluTrans, 39 Keppel Road, #01-05 Tanjong Pagar Distripark, Singapore 089065
1:00pm - 7:00pm Tuesday to Sunday, Closed Monday 



 From 13 October 2021 onwards, all visitors will be required to show their vaccination status before entry to the exhibition. Aligned with the Vaccination-differentiated measures requirements, all visitors must be fully vaccinated, recovered individuals, unvaccinated individuals with a valid pre-event test (PET) result, or children aged 12 and below. If there is more than one child aged 12 and below in the group of 2 persons, both children must be from the same household.

Our curatorial team is also leading several tours for the public on the weekends. Slots are limited and participants must adhere to the Vaccination-Differentiated Safety Measures above and are reminded to stay in sub-groups of two persons during the tours. 



 Notice: All visitors must don a face mask, complete the TraceTogether check-in, and practice social distancing upon entry. Please note that due to safe measurement requirements, the gallery can only accommodate a limited number of people for each time slot. Visitors are encouraged to book an appointment to avoid disappointment. Those with prior bookings will be prioritised. We thank you for your understanding.  

Image: Poklong Anading, Detail of Anonymity, (2004-2010), Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson Collection