Regardless of age, language or experience, you’ll easily find something to pique your interest at this year’s Singapore Art Week.
BY PAMELA HO
The visual arts isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Mention Singapore Art Week (SAW) and it may conjure up images of intimidating art fairs, snooty art connoisseurs, or installations that make you rack your brains for something intelligent to say.
But SAW 2017, which returns for its fifth edition this month, is not so much an invitation to a fancy gourmet dinner as it is to a potluck gathering. In many ways, it’s an open platform for the visual arts community in Singapore to come together once a year and contribute a dish to the buffet table. And these dishes are often delightfully diverse — with something for everyone.
Initiated by the National Arts Council, Singapore Tourism Board and Economic Development Board, SAW 2017 will see a line-up of about 100 events happening across the island from 11 to 22 Jan. Whether you’re a serious art collector or a curious newbie, you can customise your own personal itinerary by taking a fun quiz at www.isaw.sg. But to start you off, here’s our selection from the scrumptious spread.
FOR THE OUTDOORSY
You don’t have to step into an art gallery or museum to experience art. If you prefer alfresco adventures, head down to Gillman Barracks and retrace the march route army recruits took during their training with LOCK ROUTE (13 Jan-30 Jun), a public art showcase curated by Khairuddin Hori. A wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors, explore Gillman Barracks on foot, and check out some newly commissioned works by Singaporean and international artists.
FOR THE WANDERLUST
Travellers, photographers and fans of Chinese contemporary art will like Welcome to BIRDHEAD World Again — Singapore 2016, the inaugural solo show by acclaimed photography duo BIRDHEAD (Song Tao and Ji Weiyu), whose works are in the permanent collections of London’s Tate Modern and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. For the first time, the duo has turned their attention to Southeast Asia, and will showcase their travel-inspired, diary-style works at ShanghART Gallery.
FOR THE HERITAGE BUFF
If culture and heritage is more your thing, chances are you’ll enjoy ARTWALK Little India (12-17 Jan), a public art project set in the colourful cultural precinct of Little India. Themed ‘Your Path to Remember’, this moving adventure (no pun intended) will bring to life stories and memories of the precinct through storytelling of folktales and mythologies, art installations and performances.
FOR THE FILM FAN
The many faces of Singapore have been captured in film through the years. The 2017 edition of State of Motion: Through Stranger Eyes will take you through a history of Singapore cinema through film screenings and a three-hour roving bus tour to five film locations featured in the selected films. At each location, a site-specific artwork in response to each film awaits you — with newly commissioned works by artists such as Amanda Lee Koe, Hilmi Johandi, Randy Chan, and The Observatory.
FOR THE ART CONNOISSEUR
Private collectors own priceless artworks from around the world, but few lay eyes on them except the owners themselves. For the first time, six leading Singapore-based collectors will be sharing a selection of their private collections in an exhibition at Art Stage Singapore. The Collectors’ Show signals a growing sense of responsibility among private collectors towards sharing and educating, by going public. A rare opportunity not to be missed!
FOR THE CURIOUS CAT
Ever wondered what printmaking is or how it’s done? Satisfy your curiosity at the inaugural Contemporary Printmaking Festival 2017 (11-22 Jan) held at the Capitol Piazza. Not only will you get to view the works of 20 artists and printmakers, you’ll also learn from live demonstrations and workshops on silkscreen, letterpress and intaglio printing — try your hand at creating your own prints.
FOR THE PARTY ANIMAL
Even if you’re not that into art, you have a brilliant excuse to hang out late with friends at Gillman Barracks’ signature Art After Dark (13 Jan). Think outdoor food and beverage pop-ups and live music acts! And while you’re merrymaking, why not check out the various galleries that will be throwing open their doors till late? A perfect atmosphere to soak in both art and the buzzing night vibes!
FOR THE INTROVERT
If you prefer appreciating art in solitude, far from the madding crowd, The Bizarre Honour might just lure you in. An old two-storey house in a secret location is transformed into a colonial museum, a house of curiosities that only allows one viewer in at a time. With images from Singapore’s colonial days when tigers roamed the island to the killing of the last tiger in 1930, this immersive installation explores man’s contentious relationship with nature as our city-state evolves.
FOR THE FAMILY
If you have kids in tow, Tanjong Goodman 2017 — Imaginary Compound (21 Jan) at Goodman Arts Centre will preoccupy the whole family. There are performances, art demonstrations, and comics exhibitions for the little ones; while adults can shop at the Tanjong Goodman Weekend Market (21-22 Jan) or interact with the artist-tenants via Open Studio sessions. And everyone can get their hands dirty with pottery and community batik painting!
FOR THE HIPSTER
Find mainstream art too… well, mainstream? How about art inspired by international street culture? We’re talking graffiti, punk music, street dancing and skateboarding. Aliwal Urban Art Festival (14-15 Jan) returns with the Barter Workshop Market (where you can trade skills for items), live music from exciting bands and DJs, as well as ‘No Regrets for Our Youth’ (12 Jan-12 Feb) by art collective DXXXXD — an artistic urban gymnasium that examines the cult of #gymlife.