Bringing people together with art

Half of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park will be transformed into an art wonderland featuring some of the 20,000 wooden planks painted by 30,000 people from all walks of life.
Half of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park will be transformed into an art wonderland featuring some of the 20,000 wooden planks painted by 30,000 people from all walks of life.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

About 50,000 people are working together with artists to create works for the PAssionArts Festival

To see how arty Singaporeans are, head to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park from June 30 to July 2.

As part of the PAssionArts Festival 2017, half the park will be transformed into an art wonderland featuring some of the 20,000 wooden planks painted by 30,000 people from all walks of life.

The colourful 1.5m by 20cm planks are part of the festival's LandArts@Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Other installations there include Senses, an art installation created by Band of Doodlers, a community of artists, Nanyang Polytechnic students and Toa Payoh West- Balestier residents, showcasing more than 20 pairs of lips and moving eyes placed on trees to "bring life" to nature.

This art village is one of 48 that will spring up for the festival, an annual nationwide arts event organised by the People's Association. It runs from July 1 to Aug 5. Themed Arts of Wonder, One Nation, the event aims to use art to celebrate the creativity and innovative spirit of Singaporeans.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will launch the event at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on July 1.

The festival, now in its sixth year, aims to attract 250,000 people to its events. About 50,000 people are involved with co-creating works of art with local artists, compared with last year's edition, where 30,000 people took part.

People can look forward to more than 500 art activities and programmes islandwide, including visual art displays and performing arts.

"I found it fun coming up with creative ideas for designing and painting the wooden planks with my friends," said Nur Farisah, 17, a student from ITE College Central, who painted four planks showcasing Singapore as a Garden City with 10 schoolmates.

Another highlight of the festival would be 10 ScienceArts installations at Science Centre Singapore. The works fuse art with mathematics and science and were created by six local artists and 2,100 residents from Jurong GRC, Yuhua and Bukit Batok.

"The combination of science and arts for this festival was a fascinating and inspiring way to bring communities together to co-create," said Mrs Anne Dhanaraj, the Science Centre's senior director of education programmes.

One installation is Dancing Stars And Community Strength, a piece co-created by Singaporean artist Elda Webb and 700 residents living in the west.

The piece is made out of cardboard and plastic cut-outs that resemble stars when closed and become spheres when pulled. The artwork was inspired by Hoberman spheres, which are collapsible toy balls made from interconnecting lattices and joints.

"Science and art are beautiful together. I am very thankful to be given the opportunity to contribute and bring more creativity to Singaporeans," said Webb, 36.

This year's festival also aims to promote photography as an art to celebrate Singapore's 52nd birthday.

Photography enthusiasts can look forward to the National Day Photography Exhibition: Scenes Of Singapore Streets 2017 that will display photos of life in Singapore neighbourhoods captured by local photographers and members of the public.

•Go to www.facebook.com/PAssionArtsSG for information on festival programmes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2017, with the headline 'Bringing people together with art'. Print Edition | Subscribe