Art class moves from classroom to great outdoors

Admiralty Primary School pupil Emmanuel Bala (far left), 10, having fun completing worksheets based on the artwork "The Rising Moon" (sculptures seen in the background), an artistic reinterpretation of our national symbols - the five stars and cresce
Admiralty Primary School pupil Emmanuel Bala (far left), 10, having fun completing worksheets based on the artwork "The Rising Moon" (sculptures seen in the background), an artistic reinterpretation of our national symbols - the five stars and crescent moon - by artists Han Sai Por and Kum Chee Kiong. ST PHOTOS: NEO XIAOBIN
Admiralty Primary School pupil Emmanuel Bala (far left), 10, having fun completing worksheets based on the artwork "The Rising Moon" (sculptures seen in the background), an artistic reinterpretation of our national symbols - the five stars and cresce
Meanwhile, SJI Junior pupil Julian Chang (with red sleeves), 10, and his friends listen to the sounds of Singapore from "24 Hours In Singapore", an interactive audio sculpture installation by artist Baet Yeok Kuan.ST PHOTOS: NEO XIAOBIN

Primary school pupils are to be given the chance to learn about and interact with art in public spaces.

A new art education programme was launched by the National Arts Council's Public Art Trust (PAT) and non-profit organisation Art Outreach yesterday.

It will take students on a tour of public art along the Jubilee Walk, a commemorative 8km-long trail covering 25 historic sites in and around the civic district.

Yesterday morning, about 120 pupils from three schools attended a pilot run of the programme, exploring three art installations created by Singaporeans that were commissioned by the trust as part of the SG50 celebrations.

They include Singapore's first long-standing audio sculpture by artist Baet Yeok Kuan, titled 24 Hours In Singapore, which consists of five large stainless-steel spheres near the Asian Civilisations Museum that play audio recordings of daily life in Singapore, such as the sounds of traffic in the heartland and MRT trains. Other work by artists Han Sai Por, Kum Chee Kiong and Tan Wee Lit are also featured.

"We want to take their understanding of art beyond just a two-dimensional scale, and challenge their sense of what art is and why art exists," said Ms Mae Anderson, 43, chairman of Art Outreach Singapore.

Under the curriculum developed by Art Outreach, pupils are prompted to respond to different pieces of art. For example, worksheets ask them to compare and contrast differences between the new installations and older sculptures, such as Aw Tee Hong's 2003 work The River Merchants, located along the Singapore River.

Josh Emmanuel, 10, a Primary 4 St Joseph's Institution Junior pupil, enjoyed learning about the 24 Hours In Singapore sculpture. "You can get up close and see your reflection in it, and you can hear many different sounds when you are there," he said.

The programme, led by Art Outreach staff and professional guides, will be extended to 60 schools by the end of this year. It will also train teachers to lead the tours.

The PAT also announced yesterday that it will set up a partnership with the Singapore Land Authority to bring more public art to residential neighbourhoods such as Bishan and Tampines, and provide online resources for the public to learn more about art in their own homes.

The exact timeline for the project will be confirmed at a later date.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2016, with the headline 'Art class moves from classroom to great outdoors'. Print Edition | Subscribe