Five New Interactive and Larger-than-life Artworks Installed at Public Spaces Across Singapore



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A brand new commission by the Public Art Trust, "As You Were" presents a series of five public art installations by seven homegrown artists, located across three of Singapore’s nature parks.


Image credits: National Arts Council

Venue: Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Jurong Lake Gardens, and Punggol Waterway Park
Date: 12 May - 30 Oct 2022

Bring out your inner child with the simple joy of a seesaw, share your secrets through a larger-than-life paper cup, or marvel at a giant version of a Marie biscuit. From now till 30 October, the public can engage with five public art installations located across three park spaces in Singapore – Bishan-AMK Park, Jurong Lake Gardens, and Punggol Waterway Park.

Commissioned by the Public Art Trust (PAT) under the National Arts Council (NAC), As You Were is a public art showcase featuring seven artists stepping into nature to create interactive visual artworks that portray their imaginations of an endemic world.

These works were developed based on the multitude of changes experienced in our daily lives since the onset of COVID-19. As You Were offers the public an opportunity to reconnect with nature as well as one another through fun and meaningful artworks that encourage a sense of play. It is also a reflection of the nation opening up, and the artworks serve as a timely reminder for the public to connect, communicate and play as we step out of the pandemic.

This also reiterates NAC’s commitment to make art accessible to the public in everyday spaces, adding vibrancy to the visual arts landscape.

Encouraging play by evoking nostalgia

Nostalgia was a primary source of inspiration for the works – with Small Moments by Chong Zhi Wei Daniel; n o o n (at play) by visual artist Hazel Lim and installation artist Adeline Kueh; and Can You Hear Me? by Quek Jia Qi and Aaron Lim drawing on familiar objects that gesture towards the bygone days.

The artists enlarged objects representative of one’s childhood, which serve as encouragement and reminders for the public to heal and play together after a challenging two years. Members of the public are invited to unleash their inner child as they interact with these artworks. 


Image credits: Isaiah Cheng

Small Moments
Location:
 Bishan–Ang Mo Kio Park

Small Moments is an artwork about the brief unassuming moments before the pandemic, and the ones we yearn for now. Over the past few years, people have come to acknowledge that our way of living has changed. As Singapore finds ways to open up, we as individuals find ourselves renegotiating the ideas of togetherness as we find new ways to manage our relationships.

Small Moments attempts to touch on this topic through warmth and humour, using a half-eaten Marie biscuit as both a metaphor for togetherness, the past and perhaps the absurd nature of holding on. The biscuit is absurd, yet funny. This small moment is recreated and enlarged.


Image credits: Isaiah Cheng

n o o n (at play)
Location:
 Punggol Waterway Park

Taking inspiration from the Sanskrit word Lila (लीला), n o o n (at play) is a set of 2 seesaws that serve as pivoting points, that bridge between the skies and the earth. The balance between work/school and life is also foregrounded, through the big, fun and interactive seesaws that require at least 2 persons in order to activate the motions. 

Can You Hear Me?
Location: Bishan–Ang Mo Kio Park

With the phrase we often hear in the age of Zoom, "Can you hear me" is an invitation for an exercise on active listening - a lost art in an age of distraction.

With the increased screen time, online communication, and socially-distanced interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are yearning for nature and finding solace in it as they learn to hear birds and other creatures more clearly than ever before.

Natural landscape transformed by creative imagination

Taking the idea of contemplation into the wider community, artists such as Teo Huey Ling and Ang Song Nian produced works that encourage the public to press on collectively - be it through the whimsical and playful shapes that resemble daydreams in Our Dreams Must Continue or Ang Song Nian’s nod to the iconic face mask in Afloat, an object that has come to represent an act of solidarity of those around the world in fighting the pandemic.


Image credits: Isaiah Cheng

Our Dreams Must Continue
Location: Jurong Lake Gardens

In Our Dreams Must Continue, a group of quirky shapes are sprouting out and taking over at the Jurong Lake Garden. The ambiguous shapes resemble dream bubbles, whimsical and playful, popping out from the ground, infusing humour, intervening and transforming the lush landscape in a spirited way.

Its vivid colours attract attention as it shimmers under the sunlight. It daydreams and ponders Mother Nature, entertaining the imagination of those who encounter it. The artist hopes to instil a sense of positive energy, ease away worries as we re-emerged with inspiration during these changing times


Image credits: Isaiah Cheng

Afloat
Location: Punggol Waterway Park

Afloat is a eight-metre long inflatable that takes reference from two ubiquitous objects - the paper boat and the mask.

From around the region, many rituals and customs see paper boats and lanterns being put into bodies of water, representing the release of fear and desire, symbolic cleansing, and also blessings for one’s loved ones and to others. 

The mask has become one of the most synonymous objects and motifs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the ongoing global-wide fight against the pandemic, the mask naturally becomes one of its first lines of defence against the virus, while at the same time, an act of solidarity in its display of determination to overcome the challenges.

Public Art Guidebook

In line with this new series of commissions, NAC will launch a Public Art Guidebook to equip commissioners and artists with the best practices to develop public art for Singapore. This echoes NAC’s commitment to work in tandem with the arts community and foster partnerships among Government agencies, strengthening our art ecosystem for a vibrant arts scene. This guidebook will be available on NAC’s website.

 



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This article is prepared by

Malini Pannirselvam
Dedicated writer by day, avid reader by night, language fanatic all the time, and aunt to nieces and nephews every day

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