Where art invades city
Remember when being cultured meant visiting a museum where you mindlessly stand in front of the artwork and scrutinise it until you memorise every inch? Yeah, that’s soooooo 2015. While there will always be something magical about the old school charm that museums hold, art today comes in many forms – often ranging beyond a canvas.
Happening in the middle of January, the Singapore Art Week is a celebration of all things art, featuring artists both from our sunny shores and internationally. The best part is that there are concurrent exhibitions all around the island. With almost 100 events scattered over 20 locations from Kampong Glam to Chinatown, nature calls for you to get in touch with your cultured side and rediscover this place we call home.
Here’re 10 showcases you shouldn’t miss, for they open your eyes up to a whole new world, artistically and literally.
1. Watch Gillman Barracks come to life with an art party after dark
Located at Singapore’s art precinct Gillman Barracks, the former military camp that now houses 11 art galleries extends itself into the night, bringing you its annual edition of Art After Dark. Apart from special programmes and first-time exhibitions from various galleries, don’t miss the launch of the Singapore Art Club – an outdoor showcase of curated works including Social Circus, Andy Warhol’s greatest collection of polaroid shots displayed in Asia.
Source They Come to Us Without a Sound, a new exhibition available at the NTU’s Centre for Contemporary Art in Gillman Barracks
What’s more, there will be live music and performances by Noise Singapore alumnus coupled with finger foods by F&B pop-ups. To end your night with a flourish, hop over to the Red Baron, a bar just minutes away, and party the rest of the night away.
Address: Gillman Barracks, 9 Lock Road, Singapore 108937
Date: 22nd January 2016
Tickets: Free Admission
2. Scout Singapore
In this event space made out of reconstructed shipping containers, there’s an interactive video exhibition where you can enter a “drone” and watch a girl interviewing for a pornographic film – and that’s just the start. Scout Singapore is an exhibition within Art After Dark that warrants a point of its own, providing all sorts of fresh perspectives on taboo topics that we often steer clear of.
Hand-cut paper by Ashley Yeo. Source
With two routes and five themes for guests to take part in, pay close attention to the social issues each of the twenty five selected artists highlights – there are abstract ideas like a butterfly’s’ ability to feel and current themes like media and their ability to manipulate with readers’ minds.
To top it off, if you normally have issues understanding art, the artists themselves will be present for any open dialogue should you see things from a different perspective.
Address:: Gillman Barracks Carpark B, 7 Lock Road, Singapore 108935
Time: 11am – 7pm daily | until 10pm on 22 Jan
Date: 20th – 24th January 2016
Tickets: Free Admission
3. Be led on an undisclosed adventure in neighborhood of Joo Chiat
Instead of an usual guide that tells you “hey, you’re here and this happened 50 years ago,” the brains behind OH! Open House has something more immersive and exciting for those lucky enough to grab a ticket. This curated narrative trail that blends fact and fiction will lead you to different locations in Joo Chiat, each with a clue or message to the next.
At the final spot, you and 14 other guests will be ushered into a truck where you’ll be brought to one last unknown spot: a shophouse. The adventure continues when you enter the shophouse, where 5 characters. In each a separate room, recount a story that occurred right smack at Joo Chiat.
Here’s the catch, some of the characters are scripted, whereas the rest are depicting a real life experience, it is then up to you to conclude who is real and which are just smokes and mirrors.
4. Explore the nooks and crannies of Little India on an art trail
If you think Little India only comes alive during Deepavali, it’s about time you paid this place a visit. In a night glammed up with performances and art pieces, explore every corner of Little India through an artistic lens. From giant murals and music performances to giant projections, the ArtWalk begins at Campbell Lane and ends at Clive Street.
The ArtWalk is not accompanied by any guided tours, which means you’re free to explore as much as you want without any obstruction. But LASALLE students will be around to facilitate the event, so feel free to ask them any questions should you have any doubts.
Address: Little India
Date: 19th – 23rd January 2016
Time: All Day
Time: Free admission
5. Rediscover the North East Line through the stories behind its artwork
Ever took a moment to wonder about the artwork in MRT stations? Source
For most Singaporeans, train stations are merely transit areas that get us from one mode of transport to the next during our daily commute. During Art Week 2016, in Art in Transit Tour: North-East Line, you’ll notice that train stations are so much more than that. Art in Transit places the spotlight on things you see but don’t notice: the artwork at MRT stations along the North East Line from Dhoby Ghaut to Outram Park.
Sign up for the guided tours that happen twice a day, if you enjoy deeper insights into the perspectives and techniques of the artists, as friendly guides bring you through each piece of art. Learn more about the perspectives and inspiration each artist had while crafting these pieces, and the next time you’re at one of these stations with your friends, you’ll be able to wow them with your knowledge!
6. Check out abandoned film sites of Singapore’s 1960s films
This one will pique the interests of film enthusiasts. Exploring local films and their set locations of yesteryears, the State of Motion tour starts you off with a presentation of excerpts and clips from the famed Malay theatre Ketris Cathay, before whisking you off to the bus where the real fun begins.
With places like the Old Outram Prison featured in Korban Fitnah (Victim of Slander, 1959) to the former Kampong Siglap as seen in Sumpah Pontianak (The Curse of Pontianak, 1958), bring along your parents – they might have seen these movies back in those days when they hit the big screens.
Regardless of which era you belong to, these places would be creepy to go in your own leisure time, so this is the perfect opportunity to explore the more secluded spaces in Singapore without the spooks!
7. Watch the rooftop of People’s Park Complex transform into a ‘public living room’
You’ve probably seen hippy pictures like these flooding your IG feed with your friend’s back view facing the yellow and green building. Unknown to many, People’s Park Complex was once the talk of the town, being the highest residential building in Singapore during its heyday.
Today, it stands as home for those who lived there half their lives, and also as a monument signifying how far and fast we have progressed.
This art week, head up to the 6th level of People’s Park Complex, where the Lepark space is transformed into a ‘Public Living Room’. Visitors can find a cozy spot to chill while a lineup of 20 performances take the stage.
Don’t miss a modern recreation of the 60’s Tea Dance, a vintage equivalent of what Zouk is to us. Catch a glimpse of how it takes more than just fistpumping and ehwah-ing to be a part of this social activity. Quick tip, the events ground is essentially a large open space, so feel free to bring along mats or anything that’ll make you feel comfortable.
Address: People’s Park Complex, Lepark, 6th Floor, 1 Park Road, Singapore 059108
Date: 15 – 30th January 2015
Time: Tue to Thu: 6pm – 9pm | Fri & Sat: Various times | Sun: 3pm – 9pm
Closed on Mondays
Tickets: Free Admission
8. See an exclusive 5-guests-per-entry exhibition
In this installation that only limits 5 visitors per entry, Death By a Thousand Cuts throws you into a brain of a man in political exile who comes home to his family where his wife and closest friend seemingly turn against him. The installation wants you to contemplate the idea of space and how it shapes a person’s thoughts, explaining the visitor count limit.
If you want to have an alternative experience that isn’t like any of the museum visits you’ve ever made, this is it. Plus, there’s a session where you’ll meet the artists Vertical Submarine themselves, and you’ll get to know first hand, the concept behind this abstract idea.
Address: Shophouse 5, 5 Lorong 24A Geylang, Singapore 398529
Date: Until 14 February 2016
Time: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 7pm | Closed on Mondays & public holidays
Tickets: Free Admission
9. Get into the groovy street funk at the Aliwal Urban Art Fes
Here’s one that’ll prove to all your punk-rock friends once and for all art can be badass. Bringing some life to the otherwise quaint Kampong Glam, the Aliwal Urban Art Festival celebrates street culture at its finest. From 5pm till late, this evening event will feature an array of performances, with ‘live’ DJs, street dancers and graffiti artists to hype you up.
Furthermore, this year’s fest introduces its first exhibition – Cannot Be Bo(a)rdered, a visual showcase of 16 artists and their take on today’s skate culture. If you’re planning to make a trip down, better whip out your sturdiest kicks, because looking at the exciting lineup, it’s gonna be hard to just sit and watch while all this partying is going on.
Address: Aliwal Arts Centre, 28 Aliwal Street, Singapore 199918
Date: Till 14th February 2016
Time: 10am – 8pm
Tickets: Free Admission
10. See the work behind international headlining exhibitions at The Projector
If travelling around on foot just to see art sounds too tiring, Exhibition On Screen will solve all your problems. In the 5 videos showing in The Projector during Art Week 2016, you can gain an insight into all things artsy. One of the films include getting into the brain of Parisian art collector Paul Durand-Ruel – how his keen eye for collecting art and exhibiting it threw art movement impressionism into the global eye.
Be it a documentary about Vincent van Gogh or stepping into a time machine and understanding how life was in Netherlands back in 1665 – when Johannes Vermeer painted the masterpiece Girl with a Pearl Earring. You’re gonna realise that creating art is far beyond simple strokes of the brush and creating a successful art show is not just randomly selected works and slapping them on a wall.
11. Support local craft at The Local People X SAM Art Week Market
To end your Art Week off with a high, why not do it in the form of retail therapy? With over 70 booths of local retailers selling everything from fashion to lifestyle accessories, shop till you almost drop and then head over to the F&B booths to recharge yourself. Whether it’s to feast on food from The Lab or getting back to zen with Matchaya, have your fill while being serenaded by local singers. How’s that for a Sunday afternoon?
Address: Courtyards and Glass Hall, Singapore Art Museum
Date: 24th January 2016
Time: 11am – 7pm
Tickets: Free admission
Art for everyone
You could be a creative junkie who loves all things out of the box or the simple explorer who enjoys being outdoors. Regardless which category you fit into, the Singapore Art Week cannot come in more handy!
Happening from 16th to 24th January 2016, the Singapore Art Week features more than just the 10 events and exhibitions featured. Celebrating both local and international artists and their bodies of work, the best part of this event isn’t just about being more in tune with your artistic self – it’s also the opportunity to explore areas of our sunny shores we otherwise would miss.
Act fast because some exhibitions are already sold out and the extra slots are selling out even faster!
This post was brought to you by Singapore Art Week.