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Forget world's woes at Biennale art festival

Weary of the modern-day "global disorder" of politics and conflicts? The 57th Biennale art festival promises to lift the spirits of those frazzled by everything from Brexit to global warming.

Viva Arte Viva, which opens tomorrow in Venice, is "a passionate outcry for art" in a world "full of conflicts and shocks", curator Christine Macel said ahead of the opening.

Ms Macel, chief curator of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, has brought together 120 artists from 50 countries - with the emphasis on rediscovering great artists who may have been overlooked, rather than blowing the trumpets of rising stars.

The Biennale challenge is to give as global a picture as possible of the artistic situation across the world, she said.

Among those exhibiting are pioneering US fibre artist Sheila Hicks, West German-born American Kiki Smith and Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, the man behind the vast sun at Britain's Tate Modern in 2003 and the New York waterfalls in 2008.

Alongside the contemporary art exhibition, 85 countries are putting on their own national pavilions at the Biennale, including Singapore.

The main item at the Singapore Pavilion is a 17m ship made of rattan, string and wax. The work by artist Zai Kuning, 53, is titled Dapunta Hyang: Transmission of Knowledge, which retraces the seventh-century voyage of Dapunta Hyang Sri Jayanasa, the first ruler of the maritime Srivijaya kingdom in the late 7th century.

The Venice Biennale is held in odd-numbered years. This year's event will run until Nov 26. - AFP

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