Bicentennial artworks in public spaces to make art easier to access: DPM Heng Swee Keat

A bicentennial artwork called The Five Stones by artist Twardzik Ching Chor Leng will be scattered in public spaces from Monday (Nov 25).
A bicentennial artwork called The Five Stones by artist Twardzik Ching Chor Leng will be scattered in public spaces from Monday (Nov 25).ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - See if you can spot a giant, inflatable sculpture in your neighbourhood in the coming month.

Ten of these colourful sculptures, measuring up to 6m high and part of a bicentennial artwork called The Five Stones by artist Twardzik Ching Chor Leng, will be scattered in public spaces from Monday (Nov 25).

The artwork, one of three bicentennial pieces, comprises two sets of five-stone sculptures reminiscent of the nostalgic childhood game. One set has a batik design that reflects Singapore's connection with the region, and the other features nostalgic items such as wooden clogs, red double-decker buses and gem biscuits.

The artwork, which had been displayed at the Punggol Oasis Terraces shopping mall since Nov 7, was closed on Sunday (Nov 24),  and will re-appear in different public spaces islandwide from Monday.

Installing the three bicentennial artworks in public spaces was a deliberate decision by the Government to make art accessible, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Speaking on Sunday at the end of The Five Stones' showing at the Punggol mall, Mr Heng also said that the artworks were a move to inspire more Singaporeans to become artists.

The artwork is one of three bicentennial public artworks commissioned by the National Arts Council's Public Art Trust to commemorate the Singapore Bicentennial.

He said: "Situating Five Stones and two other bicentennial public artworks in accessible public spaces was a deliberate choice, for arts and culture can be experienced next to your home, in your neighbourhood.

"It is for all Singaporeans, and I hope that it can inspire more Singaporeans to take an interest in art, to become artists, to become budding artists to showcase their work."

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (centre) joining a storytelling session using handmade puppets at Punggol Oasis Terraces. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

The other two artworks are The Time Tree sculpture by Mr Robert Zhao at the Jurong Lake Gardens, and Crossing Shores sculpture by Mr Farizman Fajari, otherwise known as Speak Cryptic, at East Coast Park.

Mr Heng held up the three artworks for their ability to explore Singapore's history and progress from different perspectives, which allow Singaporeans to reflect on how their sense of being Singaporean has deepened over the years.

The pieces of art are part of the activities that the Government has put together for Singapore's bicentennial year, which Mr Heng pointed out includes the Bicentennial Experience at Fort Canning, which will be on until end-December, and exhibitions in the Asian Civilisations Museum and the National Museum Singapore.


"I am glad that Singaporeans are not only keen to better understand our history, but also how we can come together to chart our future together," he said.

Mr Heng said The Five Stones artwork was commissioned to create unique and accessible arts experiences for all Singaporeans and to encourage greater engagement with the artwork by Singaporean communities.

From Monday, the 10 stones will be sent to different locations around Singapore, including Tampines, Woodlands and Jurong, which Mr Heng said mimics the tossing and gathering of the stones involved in playing the game.

The stones will then be brought back together after about a month, as they will be part of an exhibition during the Singapore Art Week in January, which will be held at the Civic District.

The National Arts Council said the stones will be placed in unusual positions, like being suspended, or wedged in between spaces in heritage sites, parks, housing estates and commercial spaces.

It said: "The placement of the sculptures aims to spark curiosity, excitement, and prompt passers-by to view their environment afresh."