Kaws Singapore exhibition: Contempt of court motion filed against parties involved

·Senior News & Video Producer
·2 min read
The 42m-long KAWS artwork, of the artist's Companion character, seen at The Float @ Marina Bay on Friday (12 November). (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
The 42m-long Kaws inflatable artwork, of the artist's Companion character, seen at The Float @ Marina Bay on Friday (12 November). (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Singapore non-profit group The Ryan Foundation (TRF) has started contempt of court proceedings against parties involved in the Kaws: Holiday Singapore exhibition, for allegedly failing to comply with a court order to halt the event.

In the application filed on Sunday (14 November), Hong Kong-based organiser AllRightsReserved (ARR) and its founder Lam Shu Kam; ARR employee Portia So Wai Kwan; Singapore-based creative agency Division Communications and its co-founder Douglas Khee; as well as Prudence Security Specialist, were all named. 

The Kaws: Holiday Singapore exhibition, which features a 42m-long inflatable inflatable artwork by the American artist Kaws, was set to open to the public on Sunday and run till 21 November. Located at The Float @ Marina Bay, the organisers said earlier that the event has been "temporarily closed".

TRF said it had served a court order at 4.20pm on Saturday just before a special preview of the event was held for invited social media influencers. The injunction obtained by TRF called for the exhibition to be stopped; all sales of related merchandise to be halted; and for all publicity as well as advertising for the event to cease.

However, said TRF, "ARR continued with its private preview until 7.30pm, with music being played at the event, and with security and public relations personnel hosting and ushering invited guests into the venue, entirely disregarding the order of court." 

TRF, which is suing ARR, said in an earlier statement that the case had to do with an alleged "breach of TRF’s intellectual property rights and misuse of confidential information".

Yahoo News Singapore understands that TRF and ARR were previously in talks to hold the exhibition in Singapore sometime in 2019, although negotiations fell apart. TRF’s suit relates to information that was allegedly shared between the parties during the discussions – which included a site visit – for the 2019 show.

Responding to media queries on Saturday, ARR said that the allegations made against them were "groundless" and that the company would be seeking "urgent legal advice and will apply to court to challenge the prohibitory injunction order".

Brian Donnelly, the American artist known as Kaws, said in a separate statement that he had "no contractual agreement" with TRF and that their "accusation is baseless".

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), which is supporting the event, told Yahoo News Singapore that it was "aware of the court injunction" against ARR and understood that the organisers are "pursuing all options".

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Related story:

Singapore court orders Kaws exhibition to be halted; organisers, STB respond

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