CNY: Top arts events to go to this festive season

Senior Culture Correspondent Ong Sor Fern picks top arts events to go to this festive season



Two new "mecha lions" have sprung up on the lawn of the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. PHOTO: SUN YAT SEN NANYANG MEMORIAL HALL

Two new "mecha lions" have sprung up on the lawn of the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.

These clever Lunar Guardians are the creations of Hong Kong collectible label Bigboystoys in collaboration with the museum. They will remain till Feb 9 as part of the museum's annual spring festival celebrations.

Besides offering a perfect Instagram moment for the season, these characters will be the subjects of sketching sessions by Hong Kong artist Foon Wong.

Look out for a fun children's lion dance workshop and a Chinese drums workshop sponsored by Martial House.

If you love arts and crafts, there will be a Chinese ink painting workshop and craft stations where you can carve a Chinese seal or learn to tie Chinese knots.

WHERE: Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, 12 Tai Gin Road WHEN: Lunar Guardians installation till Feb 9; Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 5pm; Wan Qing Festival Feb 1 and 2, 10am to 9pm. MRT: Toa Payoh/Novena ADMISSION: Free INFO:


Pick up an auspicious piece of calligraphy for your home and donate to needy students at the same time.

The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts has been organising its annual Hui Chun as a fund-raiser for more than a decade now and it is a great way to nab an affordable work of art from some of the academy's best-known graduates.

The artists donating their time include Khor Ean Ghee, who designed Singapore's iconic dragon playgrounds; Fan Shao Hua, winner of the UOB Painting of the Year award in 2000; and Baet Yeok Kuan, winner of the UOB Painting of the Year award in 1987. Take your pick of art, from a basic "fu" character to elaborate couplets written on the spot.

WHERE: Lim Hak Tai Gallery, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Campus 1, 80 Bencoolen Street WHEN: Feb 1, 11am to 2pm MRT: Bencoolen/Bras Basah ADMISSION: Free INFO:



Tucked away in the Botanic Gardens' CDL Green Gallery is this beautiful collection of works by English artist Frank Jarvis.

His vivid illustrations brightened Birds Of Singapore (1987), written by Christopher Hails, which was one of the earliest portable pictorial guides for birdwatchers.

What is most engaging here is the opportunity to see Jarvis' work process. There are pages from his journals, crammed with tiny handwriting detailing his routine while working on the illustrations. He writes about hearing a flyeater's song but seeing none. Some notes reveal the frustration of a perfectionist as he forgets to check the feather detail on a woodpecker.

The quick sketches of birds, accompanied by reminder notes, are the basis for more detailed colour sketches, which are then refined into the final illustrations for the book.

The many examples of Jarvis' final pieces (such as kingfishers) demonstrate his ability to capture the lively, inquisitive lilt of Singapore's winged vertebrates.

This is one for both art and nature lovers. A tip for those making the trek to see this exhibition: Head for the Gardens' Tanglin entrance, which is nearest to the gallery. If you take the Circle Line, the station exit is at the other end of the Botanic Gardens and you will have to walk more than a kilometre to the gallery.

WHERE: CDL Green Gallery, 1 Cluny Road WHEN: Till March 31, 9am to 6pm daily; closed every last Tuesday of the month MRT: Botanic Gardens/Orchard ADMISSION: Free INFO:




Pack a picnic basket and chill to live festive music by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra.

The orchestra will perform a selection of popular classics for its Music Oasis series at the Supertree Grove next Friday.

As part of its Chinese New Year line-up of community performances, it will play two sets including Lemon Tree and Chinese New Year Medley, as well as Hungarian Dance No. 6 and Spring Festival Overture.

WHERE: Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive WHEN: Jan 31, 7pm and 8pm MRT: Bayfront ADMISSION: Free INFO:


Kelah (i) by Malaysian artist Hamir Soib. PHOTO: GAJAH GALLERY

Start the year with a survey of South-east Asian artists at Gajah Gallery's new show, which features 20 artists from around the region.

Curator Syed Muhammad Hafiz is pleased to present a cross-generational mix of artists: "I'm excited to present a strong line-up of artists from Malaysia, as I've always thought there should be more cultural exchange between the two neighbours.

"One of the most accessible ways is to showcase artists from Malaysia here and take Singapore artists to exhibit there. That's been my goal for the past few years as an independent curator."

The works of artists such as Malaysia's Sulaiman Esa and Singapore's Suzann Victor are juxtaposed against pieces by Indonesia's Semsar Siahaan and Singapore's Jason Lim.

Kelah(i) by Malaysian artist Hamir Soib is one of the works on display.

The name of the show, Genset, is an abbreviation of "generator set", which converts power into energy.

Mr Hafiz adds: "This show attempts to harness the energy of this group of artists in showcasing contemporary concerns in this region. Be it politics with a capital 'P' or at the personal level, there is something for everyone."

WHERE: Gajah Gallery, 03-04, 39 Keppel Road WHEN: Till Feb 9; Monday to Friday, 11am to 7pm; weekends and public holidays: noon to 6pm MRT: Outram Park ADMISSION: Free INFO:

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2020, with the headline 'CNY: Happenings - Arts'. Subscribe