House Party to mark Arts House turning 13

Kamini Ramachandran
Kamini Ramachandran

A professional storyteller performs with a musician. Poets and musicians join forces. A photography exhibition explores its subject matter using both text and images.

These programmes, which see the literary arts being showcased across artistic genres, are part of the line-up for The Arts House's annual anniversary celebrations this weekend.

This year's edition, called House Party, celebrates the arts venue's 13th anniversary. The theme focuses on bringing greater access to the literary arts by incorporating it with various artistic genres such as music and photography.

Master storyteller Kamini Ramachandran will kick off the two-day event tomorrow morning with the tale of The Indigo Jackal.

As is common in her storytelling sessions, there will be lots of inter- active elements. So, expect Ms Ramachandran to howl like a jackal when she transforms into the character. And the children in her audience should be prepared to participate with actions such as thumping their feet.

  • BOOK IT / HOUSE PARTY

  • WHERE: The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane

    WHEN: Tomorrow, 10am to 10pm, and Sunday, 11am to 8pm. Exhibition runs till April 12

    ADMISSION: $20 for Note For Note and Shapeshifter Stories; From $18 (for one adult and one child) for The Indigo Jackal. Exhibition is free

    INFO: For event schedule, go to www.theartshouse.sg. Free programmes may require registration

The 48-year-old says: "There is a sense of co-creation and there's no false wall, unlike what you might experience in a theatre."

Adults will not be left out. In the evening, she will tell Shapeshifter Stories, unconventional tales that have strong Asian roots, to an adults-only audience. The session will be accompanied by live music by Derrick Tay, who will play several instruments, including the pipa, gourd flute and kalimba (an African percussion instrument).

Ms Ramachandran says: "It's an organic relationship and the performance isn't choreographed or highly rehearsed."

Note For Note, which also takes place tomorrow evening, will feature 10 poets such as Deborah Emmanuel and Pooja Nansi being paired with nine musicians such as Chong Li-Chuan and Nantha Kumar K. They will explore topics such as popular culture and social issues.

National Arts Council Young Artist Award recipient Marc Nair, 35, who produced the show, believes that magic is created when poetry and music are blended.

"We hope the emotional resonance of music elicits creative insight into the intellectual workings of the poem," he says.

The themes of intimacy, longing and notions of love are examined in a photography exhibition titled Pet Me, Pet Me, Look At Me, Love Me, which runs till April 12.

Through texts such as handwritten confessional letters and webchat rhetoric, Singapore-based photographers Liana Yang and Lavender Chang tell their personal stories of what it means to love and be loved from a contemporary woman's perspective.

Exhibition curator Kong Yen Lin, 29, says: "Our first instinct when we see or observe something is to describe it with words, but words also rely so much on images."

By focusing on the literary arts this year, The Arts House hopes to make it more accessible.

Ms Sarah Martin, chief executive officer of Arts House Limited, says: "We have worked very closely with artists to curate these programmes that showcase literary arts in multiple dimensions. These crossings and connections of genres illustrate some of the development of literary arts in Singapore and make it easier for a bigger audience to access literary arts."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2017, with the headline 'House Party to mark Arts House turning 13'. Print Edition | Subscribe