Artful surprises in Woodlands

Artful surprises in Woodlands

Woodlands might not be a neighbourhood that people associate immediately with the arts and culture, but that could change this month.

The town up north is the focus of the latest Arts in Your Neighbourhood programme, a National Arts Council initiative that brings arts experiences to people’s doorsteps island-wide. Neighbourhoods that were featured previously include Yishun and Jurong.

The latest edition will see new works of public art and roving performances in Woodlands from today to 25 November. Popular homegrown design studio WHENIWASFOUR will also launch charming collectibles, dispensed from capsule vending machines, that will pop up in three locations in Woodlands.

The collectibles, each priced at $1, come in five designs, including a keychain, erasers, acrylic pins and a magnet. Those who collect all five designs may redeem a limited-edition Arts in Your Neighbourhood tote bag.

Each collectible is inspired by a landmark in Woodlands, or a common memory that people have of the neighbourhood. The inspiration is also the basis for a short fictional essay by Singapore writer Chen Xinda, which accompanies each collectible.

Neither of the designers – Victoria Lim and Tan Li Ling, are residents of Woodlands. Nor did they know the neighbourhood well when they started designing the collectibles.

But their lack of familiarity has been a strength, allowing them to bring a sense of adventure and fresh curiosity to the everyday in Woodlands, and to turn those memories into practical and artful keepsakes.

The keychain, for example, features seafood soup, a popular dish sold in Marsiling, as the duo found out through their visit to the area. The dinosaur-shaped erasers, on the other hand, are based on the dinosaur-themed playground in Fu Shan Garden.

Tan says: “We hope the collectibles will help non-residents of Woodlands realise that there is more to the place than the Checkpoint, and for residents, to form new memories of their neighbourhood.”

Details about Arts in Your Neighbourhood here.

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