A Reflection of our Heritage, Cultural Identity and Nationhood

 

SINGAPORE, 30 November 2015 – Inspired by the country’s vibrant development over the past 50 years, three unique art installations, titled 24 Hours in Singapore, Cloud Nine: Raining and The Rising Moon, were launched yesterday under the auspices of the National Art Council’s (NAC) Public Art Trust (PAT). The PAT is an initiative, launched in 2014, to bring art closer to Singaporeans and international visitors all across Singapore.

 

Besides being the first works commissioned by the PAT, the works are significant as they were conceived by four Singaporean artists to commemorate Singapore’s Golden Jubilee year. Young Artist Award (YAA) recipient Mr Baet Yeok Kuan created 24 Hours in Singapore, and Mr Tan Wee Lit, also a YAA recipient, is the artist behind Cloud Nine: Raining; while Cultural Medallion recipient Ms Han Sai Por and artist–architect Mr Kum Chee Kiong collaborated on The Rising Moon.

 

All three works are situated at strategic sites along the newly opened Jubilee Walk within Singapore’s Civic District. Located within scenic park spaces and close to historical and iconic landmarks such as Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, The Arts House (the former Parliament House), Asian Civilisations Museum, National Gallery Singapore and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, the three installations allow the public to reflect on our heritage and identity while discovering the pleasure of their visual aesthetics. In time, NAC envisions that the artworks will inspire new shared moments and memories as they provide a common thread for conversation and enjoyment for everyone who encounters the artworks.

 

NAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Kathy Lai said: “We’re delighted that members of the public will freely enjoy these meaningful art installations along the Jubilee Walk. The Council is continually looking to introduce art in spaces where we live, work and play, and to further make art an intrinsic part of Singapore’s urban fabric. With the PAT’s future plans for unique and impactful public art, we envision that public spaces across Singapore, from the city to the heartlands, will acquire their own distinctive character and identity.”

 

The PAT is also a platform for cultivating and catalysing arts philanthropy in Singapore. Private and corporate cash donations towards commissioning costs enjoy tax incentives, and are eligible for dollar-for-dollar matching through the Cultural Matching Fund.

 

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and the Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (REDAS) are the first two corporate donors to partner the PAT to raise awareness and promote the development of public art in Singapore. Their strong support reflects how public art has the power to engage, initiate dialogue, create enjoyment, and revitalise Singapore’s urban spaces. MBS and REDAS have contributed $750,000 and $250,000 respectively.

 

Ms Lai added: “We are indeed grateful to both MBS and REDAS for being first movers through their generous philanthropic support for the Public Art Trust. Their valued support has enabled our artists to push boundaries with some of the artworks and challenge traditional notions of what constitutes public sculpture. Such private–public partnerships benefit artists and audiences, and we hope this will encourage more individual donors and corporations to come forward in future.”

 

Drawing from MBS’ $750,000 contribution to the PAT, Cloud Nine: Raining is a distinctive and site-specific piece created to acknowledge Singapore’s quest for a more secure future through water self-sufficiency. The artwork, by Mr Tan Wee Lit, appears as a ‘cloud’ made of perforated stainless steel with a constant flow of ‘rain-fall’, seemingly defying gravity and floating above the water. This work is mounted on a glass reinforced polyurethane base and located at the Singapore River next to the Esplanade Park. Wee Lit’s installation is a visual celebration of the achievements thus far in Singapore’s sustainability journey. Juxtaposed in historic significance and meaning is the nearby Victorian cast-iron Tan Kim Seng fountain, which was commissioned in 1925 to celebrate the development of piped water to the town area.

 

President and Chief Executive Officer of Marina Bay Sands, Mr George Tanasijevich said: “We are humbled by the opportunity to support NAC’s Public Art Trust with the aim of bringing art closer to the people. Having been in Singapore for the past five years, Marina Bay Sands is always looking to give back to the development of this nation in creative ways. We hope that this installation will foster a greater appreciation of the arts and give local artists a wider platform to display their talents.”

 

24 Hours in Singapore by Mr Baet Yeok Kuan is made possible with REDAS’ contribution of $250,000 to the PAT. It is Singapore’s first longstanding audio sculpture. Sited near the Asian Civilisations Museum along the Singapore River, passers-by can lean in to listen to recordings of life reflective of Singapore’s daily scenes, including the sounds of traffic in the heartlands, neighbourhood parks, wet markets, coffee shops and MRT trains, through five large, polished stainless steel spheres.

 

“As part of our contribution to the development of Singapore as a distinctive global city, we are pleased to partner the Public Art Trust to promote a more gracious society through arts and culture,” said Mr Augustine Tan, President of REDAS. “A unique sculpture, 24 Hours in Singapore captures different aspects of recognisable Singapore life, something that REDAS is equally committed to through our role in the real estate sector.”  

 

The third artwork, The Rising Moon, is a tribute to the role that the Singapore River has played in the country’s economic progress as a maritime nation. Located within the Esplanade Park, the installation by prominent artists Ms Han Sai Por and Mr Kum Chee Kiong is an artistic interpretation of Singapore’s national symbols – the five stars and crescent moon – and a reflection of the notion of nationhood and our timeless core values. Visitors to the Park are encouraged to move between the spaces of each sculptural element as well as to contemplate it from afar.

 

Members of the public can look forward to a number of tours led by the artists, who will share their inspirations behind their artworks, and introduce both old and new public art pieces along the Jubilee Walk. These guided tours will take place over three Saturdays in December and registration is required. Please refer to the Annex for details.

 

The PAT was established in 2014 by NAC with $10 million seed funding from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY). More public artworks are in the pipeline, and the public can look forward to unique and innovative art installations in public spaces in 2016. 

 

ANNEX

Meet the Artists: Public Art Walking Tours

Join the artists on a series of free walking tours as they introduce the three new Public Art Trust artworks alongside other existing artworks and monuments in the area.  Please register at https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/public-art-walking-tour-tickets-19723844550 to attend these tours. Participants are to meet at Cavenagh Bridge (near Fullerton Hotel) at the designated times:

 

Artist Tour with

Date / Time

Language

Baet Yeok Kuan

(24 Hours in Singapore)

Saturday 5 December,

5 pm & 6 pm

Tour conducted in Chinese

Tan Wee Lit

(Cloud Nine: Raining)

Saturday 12 December,

5 pm & 6 pm

Tour conducted in English

Han Sai Por and Kum Chee Kiong

(The Rising Moon)

Saturday 19 December,

5 pm & 6 pm

Tour conducted in English

 

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