2nd PLACE

Robert ZHAO

About The Artist

Robert Zhao Renhui (b. 1983) is a multi-disciplinary artist and the founder of the Institute of Critical Zoologists. His practice addresses the human relationship with nature. He was educated at Camberwell College of Arts and London College of Communication. His work has been exhibited in international group shows such as Busan Biennale 2020; Singapore Biennale 2019; Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland, Australia, 2018; Jiwa: Jakarta Biennale, Indonesia, 2017; 20th Sydney Biennale, Australia 2016. Recent solo exhibitions in Singapore include “The Nature Museum” and “The Bizarre Honour”, both in 2017. He was a finalist of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award 2017.

Robert ZHAO

"On Dec 22, 2019, thousands of birds suddenly appeared in Singapore. They were Asian openbill storks, birds foreign to Singapore, hailing from the northern parts of Southeast Asia. Their appearance was a great sign, but what of, to this day, I’m not sure."

And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand-Singapore)

And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand-Singapore)

And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand-Singapore). Detail

And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand-Singapore). Detail

And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand-Singapore). Detail

And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand-Singapore). Detail

And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand-Singapore). Detail

And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand-Singapore). Detail

About The Artwork

And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand-Singapore)

Digital image

As Robert Zhao relates it, an avian omen of sorts occurred in Singapore in late 2019: “On Dec 22, 2019, thousands of birds suddenly appeared in Singapore. They were Asian openbill storks, birds foreign to Singapore, hailing from the northern parts of Southeast Asia. Numbering in the thousands, they flew around Singapore for a week looking for a space to stay. They were ultimately unsuccessful and left. During their time in Singapore, the birds only roosted in spaces that were devoid of people. Their appearance was a great sign, but what of, to this day, I’m not sure. Their appearances in places that they have never been seen before is a recent phenomenon and scientists are still trying to understand exactly why they would migrate in such large numbers.” And A Great Sign Appeared (Thailand-Singapore) is testament to the effects of broad environmental change in Southeast Asia. The mass appearance of these birds in such numbers serves to remind us that our region is connected not simply economically, politically and historically, but also ecologically. The shift in behaviour of animal populations is but one sign of the impact of climate change on urban settlements and ways of life.

Julius Baer Next Generation Investment Theme

Sustainability