SINGAPORE – New pieces of public wall art have appeared around the seniors corner where retiree Or Beng Kooi once exhibited his tower of trinkets before it was removed.
With words like “Love”, the various community-themed art pieces were put up by a grassroots organisation at the void deck of Block 108, Yishun Ring Road, this year.
The Straits Times understands that the wall-mounted pieces were created by residents from the Chong Pang Community Arts and Culture Club during grassroot events. Some of these were signed off in black marker by “Shan”, a reference to Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, who is an MP for Nee Soon GRC. The residents had asked the minister to add his name to their projects.
While a departure from the original tower by Mr Or, which was placed on the floor and was removed when the authorities deemed it to be a possible fire risk, the new artworks do not pose any safety risk and are not an obstruction to residents and others.
Said Chong Pang Zone 1 Residents’ Committee (RC) chairman Wilson Wong, 58: “(Mr Or) also placed his art near a water point which the cleaners needed to use, so when the town council was contacted, they had to take action.
“In general, if artists want to do something in a public area, they must contact the relevant authority because the place does not belong to them.”
Mr Wong said permission from the town council must be sought before artworks can be put up, though he empathised with Mr Or’s situation.
He added that the art pieces were placed there by the People’s Association (PA), not by his RC. Chong Pang Zone 1’s RC office is next to the seniors corner Mr Or frequented.
When contacted about the placement of the new wall art, a PA spokesman said: “Mr Or’s art installations were placed on the floor which could have been a fire hazard … The current art pieces are displayed on the wall.”
Mr Or, who said he is aware of the new wall art, had no issues with the pieces that have been put up. Said the retiree: “Not bad. Cannot say their art is ugly. Despite what happened with my tower, I am okay with their artwork.”
•Additional reporting by Melody Zaccheus
Note: The story has been updated to include additional information that has emerged after publication.