Art installation by S'pore Polytechnic aims to bring home dangers of drug abuse

Minister of State for Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim (third from left) at the launch of the art installation. PHOTO: CENTRAL NARCOTICS BUREAU

SINGAPORE - It is an art installation created by young people for young people - an attention-grabbing audio-visual feast that brings home the dangers of drug abuse.

Monomania, developed by two Singapore Polytechnic students, uses innovative technology to project virtual images onto a mannequin to tell the story of a promising young athlete who falls prey to drug abuse.

Launching the exhibit on Tuesday (July 13), Minister of State for Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said the story may be fictional but is grounded in reality.

He recounted how a man had shared that his up-and-coming sports career was derailed soon after his first try of a drug.

"I asked him if he would want to go back and play the sport. He said, 'I tried but it is not easy to tackle addiction.'"

In his speech at the launch, he noted that last year, those below the age of 30 continued to form the largest group of drug abusers arrested in Singapore.

Advocacy efforts to share the harmful effects of drugs, get people to stay away from drugs, are very important, he added.

He said of Monomania: "Such an art installation is how we can not only share our messages, but also share them in a fresh approach presented through a creative medium. We feel that this is something that will appeal to younger audiences."

The installation, a collaboration between the Central Narcotics Bureau and Singapore Polytechnic (SP), was conceptualised by Ms Lumna Chitrakar and Ms Crystel Chia Qi Hui, both 20. They graduated from SP's School of Media, Arts and Design this year with a diploma in visual effects and motion graphics.

They spent about seven months on the project, using projection mapping techniques and motion graphic effects to create the installation.

Said Ms Chitrakar: "I realised that with music and movies normalising the usage of drugs, youths like myself may have misperceptions that drug abuse is acceptable.

"Through the project, I wanted to show how one can possibly be addicted to drugs, as well as the effects they have on our bodies."

Associate Professor Faishal, who is also Minister of State for National Development, said: "We venture into new areas so that we can continue to stay relevant and expand our outreach because this work is very important and meaningful, that is to save the lives of people from being destroyed and disrupted."

SP's deputy principal (development) Georgina Phua said: "This contemporary art form, with dynamic visual display, complemented with audio effects, allows us to refresh the message delivery and make it more appealing for the younger audience."

Correction note: An earlier version of the story said Ms Lumna Chitrakar and Ms Crystel Chia Qi Hui graduated from SP last year but they actually graduated this year. We are sorry for the error.

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