Loo Zihan

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Loo Zihan
Born (1983-11-11) 11 November 1983 (age 36)
Alma materSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago
OccupationActor, film director and dancer
Years active2007–present
AwardsYoung Artist Award (2017)
Best Multimedia Design (2017)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese羅子涵
Simplified Chinese罗子涵

Loo Zihan (simplified Chinese: 罗子涵; traditional Chinese: 羅子涵; pinyin: Luō Zi Hán; born 11 November 1983) is a gay Singaporean actor, film director, artist and dancer. He was a part-time teacher at School of the Arts, Singapore, National Institute of Education (Singapore) and Nanyang Technological University.

Professional background[edit]

He received his Masters of Fine Arts (Studio) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago[1] and is a candidate for a Masters in Performance Studies from New York University.[2]

He has been open about both his own homosexuality and depicting gay themes in his films, despite the subject being particularly taboo in Southeast Asian society. His first film, Solos, was withdrawn from its début screening at the 20th Singapore International Film Festival due to its explicit depiction of homosexual sex.[3][4] Instead it premièred at the 12th Busan International Film Festival in the city of Pusan in South Korea and became the first Singaporean film to be selected for the American Film Institute Festival in Los Angeles, going on to win the Nuovo Sguardi Award in the 23rd Turin Gay and Lesbian Festival, in the city of Turin in Italy. It was awarded by the jury to the film which "reflects the evolution of queer cinema".

Loo appeared in Pleasure Factory (Kuaile Gongchang), a film directed by Thai director Ekachai Uekrongtham about the red-light district in Geylang, Singapore. The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

In February 2012, as part of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, Loo staged a one-night only performance of Cane, which re-enacted a performance art piece by Singaporean artist Josef Ng that resulted in a 10-year no-funding rule for performance art. In December 2012, Loo organised his first solo exhibition Archiving Cane at The Substation, which consisted of an installation of 12 artefacts to do with Cane and Loo's artistic practice, along with a durational performance.[5]

From October to December 2013, Loo put on Artists' General Assembly – The Langenbach Archive, a durational performance-cum-installation as part of Ghost: The Body at the Turn of the Century group exhibition, a parallel event of the Singapore Biennale. The installation archived a selection of approximately 150 of Dr. Ray Langenbach's materials surrounding the Artists' General Assembly and its peripheral events.[6] In 2016, Loo was commissioned by the Singapore International Festival of Arts to stage I Am LGB, a four-hour durational performance created in collaboration with Dr. Ray Langenbach and the LGB Society of Mind.[7] The performance included materials from Dr. Ray Langenbach's archive.[8]

Loo opened the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2015 with With/Out, a performance installation based on The Necessary Stage's Completely With/Out Character (1999), a monologue by the late Paddy Chew, the first person in Singapore to come out as being HIV-positive.[9] Loo told The Straits Times: "As a queer person, I have always been inspired by Paddy's strength and fortitude. I often wonder, if I was put in his position, whether I would have the courage to step out like he did." With/Out featured the first public screening of taped performances from three evenings of Completely With/Out Character, which Chew performed a few months before his death.[10]

With/Out was restaged in 2017, commissioned as part of The Studios season featuring the works by Singaporean playwright Haresh Sharma at Esplanade, Theatres on the Bay.[11] The restaging featured actor and ex-Member of Parliament Janice Koh performing the text from Completely With/Out Character in cadence with video documentation of the 1999 performance.[12][13][14]

Loo was awarded the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council of Singapore in 2015.[15] He was commissioned to produce an installation for the Presidents' Young Talents competition at the Singapore Art Museum in the same year.[16] He won 'Best Multimedia Design' for Manifesto, a theatre production by The Necessary Stage and Drama Box Singapore at the Straits Times Life! Theatre Awards 2017.[17]

Filmography and theatrical works[edit]

  • With/Out (2017 / 2015 play) — director
  • I Am LGB (2016 theatre production) — collaborator and artist
  • Manifesto (2016 play) — multimedia design
  • "Chancre" (2011 short film) — director
  • "Aemaer" (2010 short film) — director
  • Threshold (2009 film) — writer and director
  • Past Carin' (2009 play) — multimedia design
  • Frozen Angels (2009 play) — multimedia design
  • Gemuk Girls (2008 play) — multimedia design
  • Pleasure Factory (2007 film) — actor
  • Solos (2007 film) — writer, director and actor
  • Autopsy (2007 documentary short) — writer, director and actor
  • Embryo (2006 short film) — writer, director
  • Untitled (2006 short film) — writer, director and actor

See also[edit]

Other Chinese LGBT film directors[edit]


  1. ^ (SAIC), School of the Art Institute of Chicago. "Zihan Loo - School of the Art Institute of Chicago". www.saic.edu.
  2. ^ "Zihan Loo". NYU Tisch. Department of Performance Studies.
  3. ^ "CV". Loo Zihan.
  4. ^ Ferber, Lawrence (4 June 2009). "Silencing Singapore". The Advocate.
  5. ^ Chia, Adeline (15 November 2012). "Controversial performance art piece by Loo Zihan to go on exhibition". Singapore Press Holdings. The Straits Times. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  6. ^ Ho, Louis. "GHOST: THE BODY AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY". ArtAsiaPacific. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  7. ^ "I Am LGB". Singapore International Festival of Arts.
  8. ^ Tan, Corrie. "I Am LGB – an experiment by the LGB Society of the Mind". Corrie Tan.
  9. ^ Martin, Mayo (21 October 2014). "Next year's S'pore Fringe Fest embraces Loss". MediaCorp. TODAY. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  10. ^ Ting, Lisabel (21 October 2014). "New director to keep Fringe fresh". Singapore Press Holdings. The Straits Times. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  11. ^ "With/Out". www.esplanade.com.
  12. ^ "Review of 'With/Out': AIDS, Archives, Activism | Arts Equator". artsequator.com.
  13. ^ "Completely With: Remembering Paddy Chew, Reflecting on Loo Zihan". artsequator.com.
  14. ^ "With/Out". www.facebook.com.
  15. ^ "NAC - 11 of Singapore's artists honoured with Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Awards 2015". www.nac.gov.sg.
  16. ^ "President's Young Talents show celebrates rising Singapore artists". The Straits Times. 19 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Family drama Falling hits a high at Life Theatre Awards". The Straits Times. 11 April 2017.

External links[edit]