Arts Picks: I Swallowed A Moon Made Of Iron, NUS Arts Festival and Walk Walk Don’t Run

In I Swallowed A Moon Made Of Iron, artist Njo Kong Kie sets Chinese worker-poet Xu Lizhi's poems to music. PHOTO: DAHLIA KATZ


I Swallowed A Moon Made Of Iron

In I Swallowed A Moon Made Of Iron, artist Njo Kong Kie sets Chinese worker-poet Xu Lizhi's poems to music. PHOTO: DAHLIA KATZ

When poet-worker Xu Lizhi took his own life at Foxconn’s worker dormitory in Shenzhen, China, in 2014, he left behind a collection of 200 poems about the brutal work conditions he faced and his thwarted dreams. 

Indonesia-born Canadian-Chinese artist Njo Kong Kie gives Xu’s poems a new lease of life by setting the verses to music. I Swallowed A Moon Made Of Iron, titled after one of Xu’s poems that once seized media headlines, is a theatrical performance that combines piano, voice and video. 

Njo, 59, says: “Xu’s poems are powerful in their own right, of course. However, music has the power to go beyond and lets us feel his words even deeper. For audiences who may not feel that they are poetry lovers, music acts as a conduit between themselves and the poets’ world.” 

This one-night performance in Singapore marks the first stop in the production’s South-east Asian tour that will also include Jakarta, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. 

Where: Chamber, The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane
MRT: City Hall
When: Tuesday, 7.30 and 9.30pm
Admission: $30 (standard) and $24 (concession)


NUS Arts Festival 2023: Spaces Between

Part of this year’s NUS Arts Festival, End Of The Line is a jukebox musical performed by the varsity’s drama club, NUS Stage. PHOTO: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

If you want to get a pulse on what young people are dreaming up today, the National University of Singapore (NUS) Arts Festival is the perfect place to look. More than 700 NUS students, alumni, faculty, staff and collaborators have come together to showcase the best of the arts on campus. 

Devised by the varsity’s drama club NUS Stage, End Of The Line is a jukebox musical that will let audiences see the world through the eyes of the TikTok generation. The show, directed by dramatist Chong Tze Chien, will run at the NUS University Cultural Centre (UCC) Theatre on Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm.

In Essentially Macbeth, young performers from NUS Chinese Drama and Chinese Orchestra interrogate the value of art in their lives. The story follows a group of former drama club members who reunite 10 years later to stage Macbeth.

The script is a collaboration between director Judy Ngo and the student actors, with original music by composer Phang Kok Jun. It will be performed in Mandarin with English subtitles at the NUS UCC Theatre on March 24 and 26 at 7.30pm.

The festival features more than 20 performances, installations and events.

Where: Various locations across NUS
When: Friday to March 26
Admission: Free programmes; ticketed events from $15 to $25


Walk Walk Don’t Run

Artist Tang Ling Nah, known for her sprawling charcoal drawings, will open her studio on March 18 as part of Walk Walk Don't Run. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Always wanted to peek into an artist’s studio? 

Chat with artists at their spaces and get an insight into their process with Walk Walk Don’t Run, an islandwide open studio programme that takes place over four Saturdays in March. Each week, visitors are invited to travel at their own pace to different regions in Singapore. 

On March 11, the programme features seven locations in the east. Catch creative production house Allegro Print’s press in action or strike up a conversation with fine art photographer Chris Yap.

The next two Saturdays will feature spaces in the north and west, and train the spotlight on the likes of Young Artist Award recipient Tang Ling Nah’s studio in a Housing Board (HDB) flat.

First organised by Grey Projects in 2021, this is the programme’s second edition.

Where: Various locations islandwide
When: March 11, 18 and 25, 10.30am to 6pm
Admission: Free, no registration required

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