GWKL 2020 has embraced the opportunity offered through the 2020 developments to create a structured and accessible digital presence that enables extended virtual participation in the Luminary Forums and other offerings of the GWKL programme to guests from all over the world. (Scroll down for biographies of this year’s Luminaries!


Singapore Biennale 2019 / Venice Biennale 2022

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Patrick Flores is Professor of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines and curator of Vargas Museum in Manila. He was Artistic Director of Singapore Biennale 2019 and has been appointed curator of the Taiwan Pavilion for Venice Biennale in 2022. He curated South by Southeast and the Philippine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015, co-curated Under Construction: New Dimensions in Asian Art in 2000 and the Gwangju Biennale (Position Papers) in 2008. In 1999, Flores was Visiting Fellow at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and an Asian Public Intellectuals Fellow in 2004. He was a grantee of the Asian Cultural Council, an Advisory Board member of the exhibition The Global Contemporary: Art Worlds after 1989 (2011), member of the Guggenheim Museum’s Asian Art Council (2011 and 2014), and a Guest Scholar of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles in 2014. Flores has also written, convened and published extensively.

Chairman and Head of Department, Middle East and India, London Sotheby's


Edward Gibbs joined Sotheby’s in 2003. He advises private, corporate and institutional collectors across Europe, North Africa, The Middle East, South Asia and throughout the Muslim world. He oversees three major auction categories: Arts of the Islamic World, Art of Imperial India and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art. Edward’s career exemplifies his passion for Islamic Art, which began in 1988 with a visit to Al-Andalus and the Great Mosque of Cordova. Prior to joining Sotheby’s, he served for seven years as lecturer in Islamic Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, where he set up the innovative Foundation Course in Islamic and Asian Art with Sotheby’s Institute of Art. In 1997, he was invited by the British Council to co-curate the exhibition Traditions of Respect: Britain & Islamic Cultures to mark the 50th anniversary of the independence of India and Pakistan. The exhibition was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Lahore and New Delhi.

Curator of Indigenous Art Art Gallery Ontario​

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Wanda Nanibush is Curator of Indigenous Art at Art Gallery of Ontario. She holds a Master in Visual Arts from the University of Toronto, where she has taught graduate courses. Along with her curatorial work, she was an Aboriginal Arts Officer at the Ontario Arts Council, Executive Director of ANDPVA and strategic planning for CCA. Hailed by New York Times as ‘one of the most powerful voices for Indigenous culture in the North American art world’, she has curated Karoo Ashevak (2019), Rebecca Belmore Facing the Monumental (2018), Js McLean for Indigenous & Canadian Art (2018), Rita Letendre, Fire & Light (2017), and Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971—1989 (2016). As the author of ‘Violence No More: The Rise of Indigenous Women’, Nanibush has published widely in various other magazines, books and journals. Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator and community organizer from Beausoleil First Nation.

Director, Museum MACAN, Jakarta ​

Aaron Seeto of Museum Macan, Jakarta, Indonesia

The Director of Museum MACAN, Aaron Seeto, has a vast experience working to advance the goals of contemporary arts organisations and curating significant exhibitions of artists from the Asia and Pacific regions. Seeto was formerly Curatorial Manager of Asian and Pacific Art, at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia where he led the curatorial team at the eighth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8) in 2015. For eight years prior, he was the Director of Sydney’s ground-breaking 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

Senior Curator, National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum

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Shabbir Hussain Mustafa is Senior Curator at the National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum. At the Gallery, he oversees Between Declaration and Dreams, a multi-year exhibition surveying Southeast Asian perspectives from the 19th century to present. In 2017, Mustafa received the DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Award for his curatorial work. His curatorial projects include Sea State: Charles Lim Yi Yong for the Singapore Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, The Sunwise Turn, a meditation on Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy at the Dhaka Art Summit in 2018, and Ahmad Fuad Osman: At the End of the Day Even Art is Not Important (1990-2019) at Balai Seni Negara. He co-curated Suddenly Turning Visible: Art and Architecture in Southeast Asia (1969-1989) and Latiff Mohidin: Pago Pago (1960-1969), an exhibition first held at the Centre Pompidou and later at the Ilham Gallery and National Gallery Singapore.

Asia Contemporary Art, New York

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Born and raised in Afghanistan and based in New York, Leeza Ahmady is noted for curating large-scale multidisciplinary exhibitions, artistic collaborations, and experimental educational forums. Since 2005, she has directed Asia Contemporary Art Forum (ACAF) aka Asia Contemporary Art Week — a curatorial and educational platform through which she brings together leading US and Asia-based institutions and galleries to present cutting-edge exhibitions and dialogues with over 3000 presented artists. In 2014, Ahmady launched FIELD MEETING art forum, critically acclaimed for staging newly commissioned performances, lecture-performances, and pop-up projects by over 250 artists, curators, and other creative minds in 6 iterations at notable New York venues. Ahmady was a member of the Agents / Curatorial Team for the prestigious international exhibition DOCUMENTA (13) (2010-2012) and has presented numerous exhibitions and public programs at other local and international institutions including Venice Biennale, Istanbul Biennale, MoMA, Art Basel, and many others. She has contributed texts to publications such as Flash Art, ArtAsiaPacific, Ocula, Ibraaz, Creative Time Reports, Manifesta Journal, and more.

Artist, Malaysian, He and his work recently featured in publication '‘Living Art: The Inspired Lives of 14 Malaysian Artists and their Art Practice’​

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Elias Yamani Ismail is a Malaysian artist, with degrees from UiTM, Lim Kok Wing University College of Creative Design and Multimedia, and Universiti Sains Malaysia. In 2008, he founded Satu: Creative Collective which supports, promotes and creates a platform for visual arts programmes. It also initiated several programmes under segments titled Nuqtah, Transit, and Saloran Seni: Malaysian Visual Arts Channel. Driven by his vision to make art accessible to the public, he would later go on to establish an NGO known as Pertubuhan Pengkarya Seni Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor (Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Artists Organisation) and PJ Arts and Culture Centre. Yamani is also a researcher; he is currently carrying out comparative research on visual arts, thinking processes and practice, mainly in a Malaysian context. His works have been acquired by institutions all over Malaysia, as well as private local and foreign collectors from Japan, Canada, Germany, and Australia.

New Views, Young Collectors


Xin Yi is an avid arts enthusiast, from pursuing arts as an interest, to being a collector, and proponent in the Malaysian art scene as a co-founder in passion project Sembilan Art Residency Program. She is most interested in discovering new artists, mediums and progressive ideas that reflect imaginative interpretations of current issues. Her recent collections include works of structural paper forms, print on aluminium, mixed medium collages, recycled and works of other natural organic media.


Upon returning to Southeast Asia, Suleyman Azhari joined The Artling, an online gallery and Art Advisory located in Singapore and Shanghai. He enjoys collecting Outsider Art, and works from emerging contemporary artists. Currently, Azhari is working on The Artling's upcoming business-to-business tool that will transform the way industry professionals source for art, as well as working on introducing a Street Art section to the Artling.


Having acquired an appreciation for the arts from his parents, Othman began assembling a small con-temporary collection during his time in the US, focusing on regional American contem-porary street artists. Now in Asia, Othman is looking to expand his focus to southeast Asian artists, with a particular interest in modern interpretations of traditional Southeast Asian mediums.


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Emelia Ong is the author of ‘Living Art: The Inspired Lives of 14 Malaysian Artists and their Art Practice’, which featured the diversity of art practice in Malaysia. After completing her PhD at University Sains Malaysia, in which she examined Sino-Malayan identities in modern Malayan art, she became Senior Lecturer in Art History at the Cultural Centre, University Malaya. Her research interests include modern and contemporary art in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, focusing on the formal aspects of the Nanyang art style and artistic creation as identity making in the context of nationalism. She currently paints full-time, producing process-driven abstract works. Ong hopes to produce more books on art, teach art history and create art every day.

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Ernesto Pujazon was the former Head of School for Taylor’s Design School, Taylor’s University, from 2014 to 2019. He is currently Senior Lecturer in the Foundation in Design programme while pursuing his PhD at University Technology MARA, titled ‘Application of the Western Interpretation of Perspectives and Elementary Space, in Malaysian Visual Arts’. A graduate from The Autonomous National Fine Arts School of Lima, Pujazon is also an artist; he favours subtle colours with thin layering of washes, giving the impression that his enormous canvases are large watercolour works. His use of icons dominates the canvas, creating an instant impact on the viewer. The viewer is drawn in, subsequently realising that these paintings work in two distinct levels.


With an interest and involvement in the Malaysian arts and crafts world spanning over three decades, Iqbal Rahim played a major role in the setting up of the Central Bank of Malaysia’s Museum and Art Gallery where he was the Creative Producer charged with putting together the content of the five-gallery museum. A graduate of Modern Languages from the University of Leeds and a Chef from Le Cordon Bleu, his career has included award winning stints in advertising, running cafes and restaurants, curating and procuring artwork for public and private collections and writing on art for catalogues and Malaysian newspapers.


Lienne Loy is a curator facilitating exhibitions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She has assisted in exhibitions that have brought artists and curators from the Southeast Asia region into the country. Bridging together art professionals of a wide scope of exposures and points in their careers; from emerging to mid-career artists, curators, writers and speakers. Along with exhibitions, Lienne has participated in publications writing about issues and events within the Southeast Asian art world. Lienne graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, with a focus in curatorial studies and exhibition design. Prior to moving back to Malaysia, she started her career gaining experience in art institutions and galleries in the USA. Lienne is continuously developing her personal writing practice and is working to progress with future exhibitions highlighting the potential of young and emerging artists within Southeast Asia.

"GWKL marks an important and necessary development in the cultural landscape of Kuala Lumpur.  The bilateral exchange taking place in this dialogue is valuable to all in bringing regional specific concerns and circumstances to the forefront so that they can be considered and contextualised in the global conversation. "

Jennifer Pratt,
Former ARSTY regional head