Arts festival kicks off this weekend in Little India, includes performances and workshops

A mural on the wall of Aqueen Heritage Hotel Little India, which is part of Artwalk Little India. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - Visitors heading to Little India this weekend can look forward to art performances, workshops and murals as part of an annual public art project.

Now in its sixth edition, Artwalk Little India will be held on Jan 10 and 11, as well as Jan 17 and 18, as part of Singapore Art Week.

It is meant to bring to life the history and traditions of Little India, as well as the personal stories of its community.

The yearly event is organised by a committee of students from Lasalle College of the Arts and the Singapore Tourism Board, with the support of the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association.

Highlights of the festival, which were shared with the media on Wednesday (Jan 8), include Nakshatra: The Lunar Mansions, an experiential storytelling session combined with music and folk-art painting, as well as a Sound Painting Workshop that uses simple body movements and gestures to create a composition resembling the bustle of Little India.

A total of 17 artworks were showcased last year, and visitors can expect 19 new artworks in total for this year's festival. There will be four additional murals, including Mayura, a 70m-long mural created by street artist Boon.

An impromptu dance performance will also be held at various traffic junctions in Little India during the next two weekends.

Artwalk Little India has grown in popularity, with 260,000 visitors last year compared to 74,000 during its first edition in 2015.

This year's edition, themed Passage of Time, was conceptualised by the Lasalle artist and senior fellow Milenko Prvacki.

Travellers by artist Kahirulddin Wahab, is a colourful mural that is situated at the Tekka Place main building. PHOTO: ST FILE

He hopes this project will help enhance visitors' understanding and perception of Little India as a cultural precinct, by interweaving various modes of art and performance such as storytelling, dance, and song.

Another highlight is Three Courses, a dining experience set in two restaurants, Chimichanga and Meatsmith Little India, where diners will enjoy their meal while watching a trio of short plays titled Starter, Main Course, and Dessert respectively. The restaurants' menus have been specially curated in collaboration with Artwalk Little India.

The series of plays were written by Lasalle's MA creative writing students, who wanted to convey concerns of millenials through the theme of dining, by exploring the anxieties of young adulthood.

"We chose the dining scene as the main setting of our performance as food is a good unifier for Singaporeans," said creative writing student Chen Cuifen, 34. "There's often rich human drama contained within these mealtime conversations."

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