Things To Do In Singapore

New Art Installations, Murals & Interactive Audio Trails Are Now Popping Up In These 5 Neighbourhoods

Arts In Your Neighbourhood 2021

The arts scene in Singapore has always appealed to both serious enthusiasts and casual followers. From trips to the National Museum to strolls along Arab street’s graffiti alleys, we are drawn to the aesthetics of vivid and interactive crafts. But while there are plenty of artsy hotspots, this is your chance to admire unique local artwork right in your own neighbourhood. 

Running from 11th – 28th November 2021, the National Arts Council (NAC) is back with another round of Arts in Your Neighbourhood (AYN). Enjoy art installations, murals, and interactive audio trails inspired by iconic spaces and stories told by residents from these five towns: Bukit Merah, Jurong, Marine Parade, Serangoon and Tampines. 

Check out installations inspired by bird singing communities, gardens and the future

If you’re into unique paintings and Instagram-worthy artwork, you’ll be able to enjoy a multisensory experience with these three fun art installations

Image credit: Arts in Your Neighbourhood 

For anyone who lived in the heartlands in the 1960s, caged tiny songbirds belting out their choruses of chirps and tweets would have been a common sight in HDB void decks. Kronoscapes brings back that nostalgia of bird singing competitions and communities with their interactive installation that delves into the history of songbirds found on our little red dot. 

But The Bird Colouring Social Club doesn’t just want you to look at pretty animated birds. You’re encouraged to contribute to the growing digital aviary by colouring in your own drawings, which will then be scanned and displayed in the exhibition. 

The Bird Colouring Social Club
Date: 11th – 28th November 2021
Locations: Braddell Heights Community Hub, 264 Serangoon Central, Singapore 550264; Blk 50A Marine Terrace, (sheltered stage beside the Market & Food Centre); Jurong Lake Gardens, Yuan Ching Road

The Bird Colouring Social Club website

Gathering to hear and share stories has been a communal activity for centuries. This practice is turned into two neon-lit installations with Tales Under the Neon Trees by Jaxton Su, Shauna Goh and A’shua. The visual stories are co-created with students and residents from Serangoon and Tampines.

Image credit: Arts in Your Neighbourhood 

The installations feature tales and re-imagined realities of the neighbourhoods through photographs, masks and animated videos. There’s an interactive element too where you’ll be able to chip in your own stories of Serangoon and Tampines with “try on” masks created with AR.

If you can’t make it to the physical installations, this exhibit can also be viewed online from the comfort of your home.

Tales Under the Neon Trees
Date: 11th – 28th November 2021
Locations: NEX, 23 Serangoon Central, Singapore 556083; Our Tampines Hub (OTH), 1 Tampines Walk, Singapore 528523

Tales Under the Neon Trees website

The LIVELYYY x Extra Ordinary murals aim to build an imaginative landscape of plants and flowers together
Image credit: Arts in Your Neighbourhood 

While you’re at OTH to explore Tales Under the Neon Trees, make sure to stop by LIVELYYY x Extra Ordinary too, a collaboration between French artist Guillaumit and Singapore-based artist Mary Bernadette Lee.

Working entirely over video calls and emails, the artists showcase their interpretations of each other’s works and explore landscapes inspired by nature in Singapore and France’s neighbourhoods.

These nature-inspired interactive murals have AR extensions such as a play-and-grow garden. You get to hone your gardening skills in a virtual garden through the use of technology.

LIVELYYY x Extra Ordinary
Date: 11th – 28th November 2021
Location: 1 Tampines Walk, Our Tampines Hub (OTH), Singapore 528523 – Level 2 study area & External wall facing Town Park

LIVELYYY x Extra Ordinary website

Go on interactive trails through neighbourhoods like Serangoon and Jurong

Combining the art of storytelling with music, art and the environment you’re in, interactive audio trails are just one way to get to know your community a little better. And these four trails in Serangoon, Bukit Merah and Jurong will showcase unique sides of these neighbourhoods.

Image credit: Arts in Your Neighbourhood 

From 11th – 28th November 2021, explore Serangoon North in Lost & Found: Serangoon, a  1.5-hour audio trail to 10 spots around the neighbourhood. You’ll uncover the lost names of roads and forgotten trades of Serangoon, and the memories of residents at places like The Pet Walk, Hwi Yoh Green, and the Japanese Cemetery. 

The trail starts with a story of a long-lost pet bird, and brings you down a memory lane of other things lost and found in Serangoon. Backed by a soundtrack of original music and moving images, the trail can be experienced on your own or with a guide.

Lost & Found: Serangoon
Date: 11th – 28th November 2021
Location: Central Plaza @ 151A Serangoon North Avenue 2, Singapore 551151 (Starting point)

Lost & Found: Serangoon website

Image credit: Arts in Your Neighbourhood 

Explore the Serangoon Gardens neighbourhood in search of Uncle Teong in A Collection of Things: Serangoon, a participatory audio trail that takes you around eight spots in the neighbourhood through the eyes of Uncle Teong’s son, Ben.

But while you may want to take the reins of this exploration, this programme is conducted as a guided tour facilitated not by a human but via a Telegram bot. 

Text the bot and receive clues in uncovering the Serangoon estate, while following the fictional story of a man on a search to find his karang guni father by tracing his steps and visiting his favourite places.

A Collection of Things: Serangoon
Date: 13th – 26th November 2021
Location: 17 Serangoon North Avenue 1, Sri Darma Muneeswaran Temple, Singapore 555894 (Starting point)

A Collection of Things: Serangoon website

Image credit: Arts in Your Neighbourhood 

Those who want to take a stroll down memory lane and relive the good ol’ days of their childhood can try out the self-guided audio-visual arts trail: Brilliant Corners: Bukit Merah Diaries. This art and music installation features 14 local artists and goes behind the folklore of Bukit Merah a.k.a. ‘red hill’ in Malay, and childhood games.

Image credit: System Sovereign 

Seven art murals are accompanied by seven music tracks on the Art trail app, which will help you kickstart this memory trail.

Brilliant Corners: Bukit Merah Diaries
Date: 11th – 28th November 2021
Locations: Block 2, 7, 12, 28 Jalan Bukit Merah

Brilliant Corners: Bukit Merah Diaries website

Image credit: Arts in Your Neighbourhood 

Before it became the thriving industrial centre it is today, Jurong was a swampy fishing village. And this rapid transformation is translated into a visual-audio trail with A Fisherman’s Dream.

The self-guided arts trail includes a series of eight colourful murals from eight artists scattered around Jurong East that tell lesser-known stories of the history behind one of Singapore’s larger neighbourhoods.

A Fisherman’s Dream
Date: 11th – 28th November 2021
Location: Various Sites Near Jurong East MRT

A Fisherman’s Dream website

View short films and photographs contributed by the community

This edition of Arts in Your Neighbourhood also offers online programmes for those who prefer to stay home. There are performances to watch, with contributions from the community that were created through a series of workshops.

Image credit: Arts in Your Neighbourhood 

If spinning tales through videos is your thing, catch Stories of My Neighbourhood, produced by Sinema. The programme includes a series of short films by novice filmmakers on their walks around their neighbourhood as they show you familiar streets and landmarks through their eyes.

Stories of My Neighbourhood
Date: 20th November – 31st December 2021
Location: Online

Stories of My Neighbourhood website

Image adapted from Allesandra Nardin, a participant in Visual Diary: Storytelling through Photography

As for those who believe that a picture speaks a thousand words, you’ll enjoy the multigenerational stories from the virtual photography exhibition – Visual Diaries: Stories of a Neighbourhood

Led by photographer Deanna Ng and multidisciplinary artist Marc Nair, residents from Marine Parade and Bukit Merah share new perspectives of their neighbourhoods through personal stories as told to them by residents aged 14 to 70 years old in this digital exhibition.

Visual Diaries: Stories of a Neighbourhood
Date: 11th November – 31st December 2021
Location: Online

Visual Diaries: Stories of a Neighbourhood website

Watch opera performances from home

Image credit: Arts in Your Neighbourhood 

Get in touch with our heritage and look back on simpler times with Kampung Spirit by Singapore Lyric Opera. This heartfelt two-episode musical opera is inspired by real kampung stories shared by old residents, as well as Liu Kang’s painting Life by the River, which depicts village life in the 1970s.

Kampung Spirit
Date: 21st November – 31st December 2021 (Episode 1); 28th November – 31st December 2021 (Episode 2)
Location: Online

Kampung Spirit website

New arts experiences in your neighbourhood this November

NAC commemorates 30 years of arts and culture this year together with artists and residents, and celebrates the stories of neighbourhoods through programmes like AYN that help bring the arts closer to the masses.

Through free art installations, murals and interactive audio trails, AYN encourages new perspectives on the everyday spaces in our community in Bukit Merah, Jurong, Marine Parade, Serangoon, and Tampines.

Even if you’re not a resident in any of these neighbourhoods, there’s no reason to feel left out with its slew of other online programmes as well.

Look out for Curiosity: The Spark for the Arts online by animators Jerrold Chong and Mark Wee. It brings viewers on a journey through time and explores Singapore’s constantly developing arts scene.

Curiosity by Jerrold Chong and Mark Wee
Image credit: Arts in Your Neighbourhood 

The animated video uses a combination of digital illustrations and hand-drawn animation, and showcases different art forms like puppet shows and classical music, as well as re-designed cultural icons like the Old National Theatre.

If this is your first AYN rodeo and you’ve missed out on past live and digital showcases, don’t miss out on re-screenings of past AYN music, dance and theatre performances from 14th November online.

Short dance films and traditional Malay performances are just a couple of ways you’ll be able to experience the vibrancy of stories inspired by communities in Pasir Ris, Kallang-Geylang, Bukit Panjang, Punggol and Tampines.

Check out the other neighbourhoods AYN has covered in the past too:

Find out more about Arts in Your Neighbourhood here

This post was brought to you by the National Arts Council.
Cover image adapted from: Arts in Your Neighbourhood.

Isabella Cuevas

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