New experiences for Oh! Open house art tours

From walking blindfolded to a Hakka cemetery to exploring the home of an expatriate in Holland Village, this year's Oh! Open house art tour is chock-full of new experiences.

The annual art walkabout is back for its seventh edition next month, with three different walking tours instead of one.

Ms Berny Tan, assistant curator of Oh!, says: "When we came to Holland Village, we realised that there were these diverse spaces and they each have a different history.

"One way to approach it is to isolate each history so that every time you go back, it's like you're resetting your interpretation of Holland Village and each one presents something different."

  • BOOK IT /OH! HOLLAND VILLAGE

  • WHERE: Holland Village, exact location to be disclosed upon registration

    WHEN: Three weekends from March 4, 4pm onwards

    ADMISSION: $25 from www.ohopenhouse.org

The popular programme takes visitors around specific neighbourhoods, where they visit artworks created with the neighbourhood in mind.

This year, each of the three tours centres on a different theme linked to Holland Village. One explores its Hakka heritage and includes a trip to a Hakka cemetery where a sculptural art installation by artist Ivan Ng has been set up.

Another explores Holland Village's Housing Board (HDB) flats and includes a visit to a showcase of the original pages of Gone Case, a graphic novel written by local comics artist and painter Koh Hong Teng, which chronicles a coming-of-age story in an HDB estate.

The third examines Chip Bee Gardens, a former British enclave. This tour will take visitors to sites such as a 10-year-old volunteer's bedroom, where there is a textile art installation by local artist Melinda Lauw.

While two of the tours are guided, visitors are encouraged to embark on the Hakka Cemetery Tour alone - a first for the art walk- about.

In the self-guided tour, visitors find their way to the different spaces with the help of an instruction booklet. The experience is meant to allow them to explore the artworks at their own pace.

The tours will run over three consecutive weekends, starting on March 4.

Visitors pay $25 for the three sessions, which are designed to last up to 45 minutes each. Admission passes will be issued and all tours have to be completed on the same day.

The choice of Holland Village was one that was long in the running, says Mr Alan Oei, artistic director of Oh!.

He says there is a certain divide between Holland Village and the rest of Singapore: "On a national level, we think of Holland Village as always about the angmohs, the expats. It's got a certain kind of exclusivity as well.

"We're here to look at Holland Village at the level of the micro narrative in the spaces around Holland Village: What are the stories, how do people engage and navigate this space in their day-to-day life?"

Cara Wong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2017, with the headline 'New experiences for Oh! Open house art tours'. Print Edition | Subscribe