Chingay 2019 to feature 270m-long painting by famous artists

The painting depicts Singapore's growth from a fishing village to a modern metropolis, and imagines the future as well. Pieces of the artwork will travel to different parts of the island for Singaporeans and PRs to contribute their fingerprints.
The painting depicts Singapore's growth from a fishing village to a modern metropolis, and imagines the future as well. Pieces of the artwork will travel to different parts of the island for Singaporeans and PRs to contribute their fingerprints.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A painting about the length of three football fields will be one of the highlights of next year's Chingay parade.

The 270m-long painting by local artists - titled "Past, Present and Future of Singapore" - depicts Singapore's growth from a fishing village to a modern metropolis, and imagines the country's future as well.

The Chingay Parade next year coincides with the Singapore Bicentennial, commemorating the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles' landing in Singapore in 1819.

At an event at Our Tampines Hub on Friday (Nov 23), the People's Association (PA) announced that the parade, themed "Dreams Funtasia (Bicentennial Edition)", will be held between 8pm and 9.30pm on Feb 15 and 16, at the F1 Pit Building.

Three Singaporean artists of international acclaim worked on the painting. They are: abstract artist Ng Yak Whee, 64, surrealist artist Rosihan Dahim, 65, and Madam Vijaya Mohan, 58, a Rangoli (an Indian art form using coloured rice to create patterns) artist.

Over the course of two months from August this year, the artists combined their art forms and worked together on the large-scale canvas at the PA headquarters at Jalan Besar.

Mr Ng painted the background of the work, Mr Rosihan sketched the figures and buildings in the piece, and Madam Vijaya used acrylic paint and markers to paint in Rangoli-inspired patterns, filling in the colours.

Mr Ng described the process as arduous. The canvas was so large, it had to be worked on outdoors, in 30m sections at a time.

The three artists had to make the best use of the intermittent and temperamental sunshine, while rushing to complete parts of the painting. Unfortunately, there were days when rain washed away part of the piece.

"We worked together closely, brainstormed and spent countless days working on the project," Mr Ng said.

"But the three of us came together, integrated our work and combined our art forms into a collaborative piece."

A month later, the call went out for the public to contribute to the painting. More than 100,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents answered the call and marked the painting with their fingerprints.

The fingerprints symbolise the commitment and determination of Singapore's communities towards the building of Singapore's next 200 years, said Mr Julian Aw, who is one of the organisers of Chingay 2019.

"The Chingay is the people's parade," said Mr Aw, adding that over the next two weeks, pieces of the artwork will travel to different parts of the island for Singaporeans and PRs to contribute their fingerprints.

The canvas pieces will be displayed this weekend at Taman Jurong Community Centre on Saturday (Nov 24) and at the hard courts next to Sun Plaza in Sembawang on Sunday.

The different pieces will be joined as one large piece before the Chingay parade.

The finished painting will be carried at the parade, which will also feature items by 6,000 performers from 19 groups.

These include cheerleading group CheerForce SG and the Wheelies, a group of unicyclists dressed as animals and dinosaurs.

Chingay 2019 will also showcase The PA Talents, a troupe from PA made up of seven multi-ethnic performing groups. The troupe was started in 1968.

The tickets for Chingay 2019 range from $28.50 to $50 for Parade 1 (Feb 15), and from $28.50 to $60 for Parade 2 (Feb 16).

There will be discount packages as well, for a limited time.

PAssion Card holders will get a 20 per cent discount on tickets.

Buying four tickets (the Friends and Family Package) will also unlock a 10 per cent discount, which can be paired with the 20 per cent PAssion Card discount.

Additionally, early bird tickets (purchased from Nov 23 to Dec 7 this year) will be sold at a 20 per cent discount, with an additional 20 per cent discount for PAssion Card holders.

Singapore's first Chingay parade took place in February 1973.

The word Chingay - now a multicultural celebration of Singapore society - means "the art of costume and masquerade" in the Hokkien dialect, and is equivalent to the Mandarin term "zhuangyi".