Arts Aloud: April 2017

Published on 26 March 2017

Discover how the arts have made a change in the lives of some of our fellow everyday Singaporeans.

Photo: Ki’ern Tan

“I’ve been going to galleries and museums since my university days. The most memorable exhibition I’ve attended, though, was the World Press Photo exhibition — the Oscars of photojournalism. I was really impressed by how the photos conveyed the full gamut of the human experience. I still recall seeing a photograph of a group of outraged men in one of the war-torn Middle Eastern countries, holding up the corpse of a child. It impressed upon me how documentary-style photos can be beautiful and artistic in spite of their tragic, raw and gritty subject matter.


I usually visit museums with my fiancé, who’s a photographer. He bought me a DSLR camera for my birthday last year when he found out I wanted to get into photography. Photography has since become an outlet for me to channel my creative juices. We all need an outlet that makes us feel alive, don’t we?”


“ Last November, I went for the French Film Festival after a French colleague passed me the festival booklet. I chose to watch Les Malheurs de Sophie (Sophie’s Misfortunes), a whimsical comedy about a mischievous little girl’s adventures as she circumvents a horrible stepmother. The film is based on a 1958 French novel written by Countess of Ségur. I love stories that revolve around the innocence of a child — I find that as we grow older, we take ourselves too seriously, and generally lack creativity and imagination. I appreciate the charming cinematography of independent films (sans fancy computer-generated imagery and star-studded glam squads) and I’m now more appreciative of the art of movie-making, and how even films in a foreign language are so relatable across ages. Next up: I’m hoping to watch more local films! ”


“ I love reading and have been going for the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) for the past five years. One takeaway from last year’s SWF was that good books should not just be consumed privately; they should be shared, talked about and debated over because you get wonderful new perspectives from such interactions! I particularly enjoyed the panel discussion, The Places I Write About, with Asian authors Tash Aw and Li Yongping. Li talked about how he devoted many years to writing in a classical Chinese style to win critics over, but later decided to find his own style and voice. It dawned on him that he’s a product of many cultures: he was born in Malaya under British rule and educated in the Chinese medium before moving to Taiwan. I felt his experience is one many Singaporeans can relate to, especially in terms of making sense of the Singaporean identity. ”


“ I attended the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake late last year. I’ve always loved watching ballet because of the dancers’ graceful movements and their pretty costumes made of tulle and satin. I also love how the lyrical melodies of Tchaikovsky can transport you into a fantasy world. I went with my cousin, who is studying ballet, and she was able to point out all the little details to me. Despite some minor flaws, like with the sound system, the performance still put me into a dreamy mood as I was fully immersed in the fairy-tale love story of Prince Siegfried and Odette. I believe that full-time ballet dancers are truly dedicated athletes and probably go through a lot of pain to create such beautiful movements. I’m hoping to catch a contemporary ballet performance next. ”


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