Cheeky signs, dance segments at Aliwal Urban Art Festival

The A Sign of the Times exhibition features quirky street signs, like this one by Singapore artist Boon Baked, featuring a durian.
The A Sign of the Times exhibition features quirky street signs, like this one by Singapore artist Boon Baked, featuring a durian.ST PHOTO: SAHIBA CHAWDHARY

When visitors walk past Aliwal Street Car Park today, parking signs will not be the only street signs in sight.

Instead, 40 signs by more than 30 local artists will adorn the space.

One sign by Singapore artist Boon Baked features a durian holding up a "legalize" placard, a play on Singapore's ubiquitous "no durian" signs.

The cheeky work is part of A Sign of the Times, an exhibition curated by Kult Studio & Gallery for this year's Aliwal Urban Art Festival.

Ms Tulika Ahuja, 25, a curator at Kult, says: "Singapore is still quite conservative and there's an element of street art that's still sometimes frowned upon here, but these signs show how local artists can thrive within the boundaries."

Held as part of Singapore Art Week and organised by Aliwal Arts Centre, the sixth edition of Singapore's quintessential urban art festival will also feature live music sets, skateboarding competitions, a street art tour and a streetwear and food market.

  • VIEW IT / ALIWAL URBAN ART FESTIVAL

  • WHERE: Aliwal Arts Centre, 28 Aliwal Street, and the Kampong Glam precinct

    WHEN: Today, 4pm till late

    ADMISSION: Free

"We want this to be a celebration and showcase of urban art and youth subcultures," says Mr Kenneth Chng, 35, centre manager of Aliwal Arts Centre.

For 31-year-old Darren "dt" Toh, the festival is a chance for him to counter misconceptions the public may have about the urban dance community.

Besides curating The Real Deal Showcase Ed.01, where student and professional dance crews can showcase their skills, the dance instructor has also organised a party segment. From 5 to 6.15pm, members of the public can bust out their moves to hip-hop, house and R&B tunes provided by local DJ G.Mak.

"People usually think we drink and smoke at dance parties, but I want to show that it's more about dancers interacting with one another and exchanging styles," says Mr Toh.

Festivalgoers looking for thrills can also try their hand at flying mini drones through hoops attached to miniature mock-ups of Singapore landmarks such as the Esplanade.

To facilitate live graffiti painting demonstrations by festival mainstays urban art collective RSCLS, Aliwal Street will go car-free from noon.

With the road closures and variety of activities taking place, festival organisers are looking forward to a good turnout, says Mr Chng. "We hope that through a platform like this festival, fellow Singaporeans can discover, embrace and enjoy the craft of our home-grown talents."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'Cheeky signs, dance segments at urban art fest'. Print Edition | Subscribe