Exhibition to remember once-buzzing flea market

(Left) Nanyang Technological University student Brendan Mayle Kor spent three months at the Sungei Road market last year, painting portraits of five vendors. (Right) This portrait of a Sungei Road vendor, by NTU student Brendan Mayle Kor, will be amo
(Left) Nanyang Technological University student Brendan Mayle Kor spent three months at the Sungei Road market last year, painting portraits of five vendors. (Right) This portrait of a Sungei Road vendor, by NTU student Brendan Mayle Kor, will be among the works on show at the upcoming exhibition. PHOTOS: DYLAN QUEK / BRENDAN KOR

Shoppers haggling with vendors, old rice cookers on display, music boxes and amulets on sale.

The defunct and once-buzzing Sungei Road Flea Market has been brought back to life in a 30-minute video by documentary storyteller Ong Kah Jing, 25, a National University of Singapore undergraduate who captured the last days of the Sungei Road Flea Market.

It features interviews with three vendors and a long-time fan of the market. Titled Trespass: Stories From Singapore's Thieves Market, the documentary will be screened at an upcoming exhibition called "OnBorrowedLand: Sungei Road Market".

It will take place at the Substation from Friday to Sunday in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the market's closure on July 10 last year.

The exhibition, organised by a group of undergraduates led by Nanyang Technological University student Brendan Mayle Kor, will feature a total of 11 works including several photography series, portrait paintings and mixed media installations.

Last year, Mr Kor spent three months at the Sungei Road market, painting portraits of five vendors. The paintings tell their stories, and capture the weary and helpless looks on their faces as they grieve over the loss of their place in the market.

Mr Kor, 21, said: "While painting at Sungei Road, I saw other young people sketching, filming and taking photos of the historic market. I came up with the idea to hold an art exhibition to showcase works about Sungei Road Market."

 

Mr Kor said the exhibition aims to continue the dialogue about the market while shining a light on the importance of protecting Singapore's lesser known and less "prestigious" heritage sites through art.

"Millennials like us do care about our heritage. We hope to raise awareness through our art that it is our responsibility as Singaporeans to preserve our heritage, for the demolition of these places comes at the cost of community and human relationships."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2018, with the headline 'Exhibition to remember once-buzzing flea market'. Print Edition | Subscribe