Giant kites to take to the skies

Mossman (right) will be one of 15 artists performing as living statues at the kite festival.
Mossman (right) will be one of 15 artists performing as living statues at the kite festival.PHOTO: ACT 3 INTERNA- TIONAL
Italian Arnaldo Mazzetto will showcase 10 giant kites, including the Twin Star kite (left), as well as conduct workshops on kite- making at this year's Kite Festival.
Italian Arnaldo Mazzetto will showcase 10 giant kites, including the Twin Star kite (left), as well as conduct workshops on kite- making at this year's Kite Festival.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

The giant handmade works of art to be displayed at this year's Kite Festival each takes about 400 hours to finish

Master kite-maker Arnaldo Mazzetto's pieces have travelled far and wide and graced numerous international festivals.

This month, the Italian's works of art bring him to Singapore. Mr Mazzetto, 61, will showcase his handmade kites in a special exhibition at the annual NTUC Income Kite Festival Singapore 2014 presented by Act 3 International at The Promontory @ Marina Bay this weekend.

Mr Mazzetto, who has been making kites for three decades, will also be conducting workshops on kite-making.

His grandfather taught him how to make a kite in their hometown of Este in northern Italy when he was seven.

But it was not until much later in his life when he had his own family that he turned kite-making into a serious hobby and, eventually, a profession.

Thirty years ago, when his daughter was seven, he made a kite with her. Since then, he has created about 300 kites, including 10 giant ones. The giant kites will be displayed at the Kite Festival.

Geometrically designed with vibrant hues, the three-dimensional kites are a visual spectacle when airborne. They span at least 3m in diameter and 10 to 12m in circumference and are put together with 4km of sewing thread.

Mr Mazzetto says he makes the kites without help, though he does have a business partner. As each giant kite takes about 400 hours of work, he produces just one a year.

"The biggest challenge is in the planning," he tells Life!. "I work on one part of the kite at a time and can see the whole kite only after it is done and assembled."

He loves the feeling of seeing his kites take off from the ground and sweep gracefully across the sky. "When the kites fly, it feels like I'm flying too," he says excitedly, pointing to the sky.

Mr Mazzetto, who still lives in Este with his wife, 59, and 37-year-old daughter, teaches schoolchildren how to make kites on weekends. His business partner and fellow kite-maker is Gianni Bariselli, 57. Mr Mazzetto has travelled to many festivals in countries such as Germany, Canada and Thailand.

This is his first time in Singapore and he is looking forward to meeting people who share his passion for kites.

The NTUC Income Kite Festival, presented by local arts company Act 3 International, is in its sixth year and has soared to great heights since its first edition in 2009 at West Coast Park. That year, about 5,000 people turned up. That number rose to 15,000 last year.

Ms Ruby Lim-Yang, co-founder and artistic director of Act 3 International, is expecting 20,000 people this year. "The kite festival goes beyond kites. It's a platform to get people together and give them a good experience whether you're a kiter, an artist, an organiser or just someone who's interested," she says.

This year, more activities targeted at youth - parkour, kite-inspired graffiti and hip-hop dance - have been introduced in order to broaden the festival's appeal.

"Graffiti is a clear expression of energy and an iconic element of youth, while parkour is a physically expressive form of that," Ms Lim-Yang explains.

Look out for other highlights such as living statues performance art, workshops and street artists as well.

Those who attend the festival are welcome to take along their own kites or simply soak up the carnival atmosphere.

Ms Lim-Yang says: "People can find their own moments in the festival, like when they see their kites up in the sky. We hope they can lift their spirits with kites."

cherylm@sph.com.sg


Other highlights

Parkour "Revolution"

Catch an impressive showcase of parkour, where practitioners from local company Ashton Movements Agency skilfully navigate obstacles with speed and agility. Five-minute performances will be held at 4.50, 5.50 and 6.50pm near the Boardwalk on both days of the festival.

In Full View Graffiti

Local graffiti artist Atomic Jojie will create kite-inspired graffiti on a wall 8m wide and 2m tall. His depiction of kites will be produced using only spray paint.

Kite-making workshops

Kite masters from Singapore, Italy and Austria will teach members of the public how to create their own kites. The 45-minute workshops are free and spaces are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Giant kite exhibition

Italian kite master Arnaldo Mazzetto's 10 giant creations will be on display, including the Multiflare, which spans 12m in circumference and was made with 9,000m of nylon over 490 hours.

Living Statues

Coming from countries such as the Netherlands, Portugal and Russia, 15 performers will assume poses and remain completely still, save for the occasional surprise gesture and change in posture. They will take on the form of a variety of characters and items, from a traveller to a bicycle to an entire family made of rock.

Street artists

More than 15 street artists from Singapore, Australia, Spain and Venezuela will show off their talent in one of the biggest displays of street art here. Attendees can get their faces painted or enjoy the performances by jugglers, magicians and acrobats.

Kite-flying showcase

Kiters from Singapore, Malaysia and Europe will display their prowess in kite-flying and their special techniques and manoeuvres. Giant inflatable kites and up to 30 rokkaku kites, traditional Japanese six-sided kites, will also be flown at any time.

Music

The main stage will be packed with live music performances, from percussion players to harpists to a cappella singers.

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