Residents bond over art at PAssionArts Festival, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Residents bond over art at PAssionArts Festival

This article is more than 12 months old

A giant sampan and other art works filled a corner of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park yesterday to the delight of some 2,500 residents.

The sculptures were centrepieces for the first Festival Village for the annual PAssionArts Festival, which was attended by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The festival, now in its eighth year, runs until Aug 25 and aims to connect Singaporeans through the arts. There are 39 "art villages" islandwide - from Bukit Timah to Pasir Ris.

Longtime Ang Mo Kio GRC resident and grassroots volunteer Noelene De Foe, 67, said this year's event differed from previous festivals as this is Singapore's Bicentennial year.

"We wanted to bring people to celebrate Singapore history through art, and we're very happy with what we have achieved," she added.

The six-metre wooden sampan featured a dragon head made of plaster and wire as well as "scales" decorated by residents. It symbolises the lifestyle of people in 1299 - when Sang Nila Utama landed - said artist Rebecca Lim, 30, who oversaw the project.

Ms Lim racked her brains to come up with an art project that could involve residents.

"I obviously could not ask them to make a sampan, but they could make the scales," she said. "The results were better than expected. About 500 residents put in a lot of effort... so we ended up with a sampan with many different styles and colours."

Artist Ben Puah, 43, had the 1964 racial riots in mind when he created four sculptures to represent the main races here.

They were in different heights to appear as parents and children in one family.

Around 200 residents painted patterns on thin rice paper which he then used to decorate the sculptures.

"You don't see the work of one person... it's all blended together. That's what I'm trying to get at with this work," said Mr Puah.

Ms Malliga Manikkam, 46, a first-time volunteer for the festival, found it eye-opening. "When you're making art with your friends and neighbours, the rest of your day will be just as colourful," she said.