Indian Heritage Centre's collection grows with contributions from pioneers
Pioneers like former motor racer Sankara Das have been contributing items to Indian Heritage Centre's growing collection for over four years
He was one of the first Indians to participate in motor racing in Singapore and the only Indian in the Singapore Motor Club back in 1956.
Mr Sankara Das, who raced on both cars and motorcycles, was also dubbed the "most successful champion combination" together with his partner Frank Bradshaw at the Shell Malayan Motor Rally in 1957.
Now 85, Mr Sankara looks back at those years with fond memories, which he hopes to share with others.
Which is why he had loaned and donated a total of 25 items to the the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC), including photos of him driving a race car and a trophy awarded to him by the Singapore Motor Club.
He is not alone.
Since its opening in May 2015, the IHC has showcased a diverse collection of more than 440 artefacts.
Most of these are donated or loaned to the centre by the community.
It took four years to put together all these artefacts via the centre's collection drive, which started in June 2011.
Since then, IHC has received more than 100 items, including contributions from Indian pioneers in diverse fields such as sports, theatre, music and literary arts.
The contributed items will add to IHC's existing collection and all the items will be displayed on rotation.
One of the contributors, Mrs Gayathri Roy, sent in a total of 41 items that belonged to her grandfather, Mr Madanavelu Pillai, who died in 1971.
He used to perform as a Tamil theatre artist at temples, rubber plantations and other venues in Malaya and Singapore between the 1920s and 1960s. He also started a drama troupe for street theatre.
He received letters of commendation as well as four medals from the British for his contributions to building up the Tamil street theatre scene.
Mrs Gayathri, 41, donated items such as photographs of her grandfather playing the harmonium with fellow musicians, a commendation letter by the London Asiatic Rubber & Produce Co Ltd, and four medals.
She said: "My grandfather's trade was one of a kind.
"It was unique, but it faded in the 1950s when television and cinemas came about.
"Today, children are visiting the IHC and I want more people to know that there were pioneers who were involved in street theatre."
Indian Heritage Centre collection
5 Campbell Lane
Tuesdays to Thursdays (10am-7pm), Fridays and Saturdays (10am-8pm), Sundays and public holidays (10am-4pm). Closed on Mondays.
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