19 February 2021

To Our Community,

(Content warning: mentions of a police investigation of sexual assault)

We* are writing to inform you about an ongoing police investigation of sexual assault involving one of the twelve** members who was co-organising soft/WALL/studs. He had been involved in soft/WALL/studs since 2016, organising and initiating events alongside us in these few years, in what was the capacity of a friend and collaborator. Having heard from the survivor in the past two to three weeks, it is our opinion that this individual has caused serious harm by repeatedly violating consent and abusing his power, trust, and influence within our community. We believe, support, and affirm the survivor’s experience.

The individual in question is an older and more experienced artist, holding connections with other established artists and networks. While he was in a position that accorded respect, influence, and power, his actions, in our opinion, constitute a grievous breach of trust, care, and responsibility towards the artists working with members of soft/WALL/studs and the wider community. The discovery of his actions has resulted in immense disappointment, and a sense of betrayal, anger, sadness, and grief.

In our view, the information we have received is disturbing and concerning enough that it warrants us taking immediate action by suspending this individual’s professional association with soft/WALL/studs. We are doing this in order to safeguard members of the community from what we view as further harm and trauma. As a project, soft/WALL/studs has been in close engagement with a community that includes many female, minority, and LGBTQ+ artists, and we recognise that addressing harm and community accountability is of immense importance.

Moving forward, we are taking the following measures:

  1. As of 7 February 2021, we are disaffiliating the individual’s professional involvements with soft/WALL/studs.
  2. Out of sensitivity, we are withdrawing the individual’s involvement and name from current and upcoming projects in the near future by soft/WALL/studs.
  3. soft/WALL/studs as a space, platform, and project will not professionally and publicly endorse or affiliate with the individual, as this would be tantamount to disregarding, diminishing, and silencing.
  4. The individual will not be present at future soft/WALL/studs’ events or happenings as a guest. This is keeping in mind survivors or those who might get involved in soft/WALL/studs’ activities, but are unaware of this situation and could experience PTSD and renewed feelings of invalidation, anxiety, and betrayal upon learning of it.

The individual has been informed of these terms and did not contest them, and these terms will be upheld pending the individual's accountability process and making of reparations.

Importance of privacy and discretion

We also want to emphasise that the protection of the identity of the survivor is paramount to us, and that we do not condone the sharing of the survivor’s identity. The survivor has asked that their privacy be respected by not sharing their name. Furthermore, as the police investigation is still ongoing, and to minimise further harm, discretion is advised in speaking publicly, speculating upon, or posting details about the situation.

Reflections and accountability

The individual had concealed his full actions from us, taking a long time for all of us to be informed of the severity and extent of the situation, as well as of the ongoing investigation, until as late January 2021. We are aggrieved that we did not know enough to take action sooner.

While our inaction emerged from a lack of knowledge about the full situation, we recognise that silence reinforces the violent logics of power that are so often stacked against survivors. We know that the length of time taken to address this has left many of us and those in the broader community with questions, anxieties, confusion, and anger. People with various degrees of involvement with this situation have also been distressed and traumatised— please know we are trying our best to take appropriate action with the survivor’s welfare in mind. We are truly sorry for prolonging or exacerbating the turmoil the survivor, or anyone else who has learned about the situation, has already experienced.

We have been having difficult conversations with one another and as a group to figure out the best way to carry forward in a way that facilitates both accountability and healing: accountability from us towards the survivor, towards the community, and internally, towards ourselves. Some of us are in the process of working out ways to provide and direct support towards the individual’s process of being accountable, making reparations, and taking responsibility for the impact of his actions towards the survivor, the wider community, and his peers. We underscore that this is not an easy process but we recognise that these efforts are important in the long run for the survivor, the individual who has committed harm, the community at large, and last but not least, ourselves. As many of us remain deeply hurt and appalled by his actions, these efforts are voluntary and only undertaken by those with the capacity to do so.

We empathise with the survivor and wish them the space and time for healing, keeping in mind that the process is long and complex. We thank the survivor for their immense strength and their efforts to engage and communicate with us.

Signed by:
Huiying Ng
Johann Yamin
Kamiliah Bahdar
Kenneth Loe
Luca Lum
Marcus Yee
Moses Tan
Shawn Chua
Godwin Koay

*This statement was written by the following members of soft/WALL/studs: Huiying Ng, Johann Yamin, Kamiliah Bahdar, Kenneth Loe, Luca Lum, and Marcus Yee. This group’s composition and this statement were formed in and through communication with the survivor.

**There were twelve members co-organising soft/WALL/studs until January 2021.