Weekend After Work | SG50

27th November 2015
As 2015 is drawing to a close, a series of SG50 events are marking the end of the Jubilee Year in Singapore. Many of these major SG50 events take place around the Marina Bay this weekend. Starting from the Padang area is the opening of the National Gallery, which is the former Supreme Court and City Hall, transformed into an art gallery by Studio Milou, a French architectural firm. You can find more details about the visiting the gallery on their website and the many articles online now but what you should not miss is the Art Carnival that has opened yesterday.

Illustration by Tan Zi Xi.
Illustration by Michael Ng.

27th - 29th November | Website
Situated on the Padang, the art carnival are arranged in various themes such as Rebirth or Passion and roughly based on a couple of iconic local artworks for each tent. Leading to the Padang and the National Gallery is a new covered walkway designed by FARM Architects. The Art Connector features portraits of Singaporeans being etched onto sculptural pieces along the corridor with some feature pieces by established artists like Tan Zi Xi, Eeshaun and Michael Ng. My friend and I wondered if the sculptural pieces were meant to be seats in the initial stage until someone realized it is odd to sit on the faces of Singaporeans and artworks.

The Edible Garden set up at the Rebirth & Peace Tent
At the Family & Community Tent

Of course, being Singaporean, the one tent that is the most accessible is the food tent where you could eat and enjoy the lightshow at the same time. The Food and Beverage Tent has vendors from the Grand Park City Hall Hotel, Fullerton Hotel as well as other food establishments including Quarters which was at this year’s Singaplural.

We tried Yan (), one of the restaurants within the National Gallery which serves a pretty decent Duo Cooked Beef Ribs (10 SGD). The meat was very tender and goes well with the truffled mash. Next to it Soi 55, had their Green Tea Milk Tea the last time and had again here, and it was good.

We revisited Quarters and had their Salted Egg Fries (6 SGD). Thought it was just average. Fries done right but the sauce is basically tasted like spicy cheese sauce. The name promised more than it could deliver. They also offered Chili Crab Mantou which is also served at Fullerton Hotel’s booth. You could also get a Mung Bean Ang Ku Kueh from One Kueh at a Time. Spotted Miniature Asian Chef’s mini kueh there.

The carnival’s main highlight is the lightshow entitled "Share the Hope Facade Show" which shows adapted local artworks such as Chen Wen Hsi’s Herons (1990) and Chua Mia Tee’s National Language Class (1959) being projected onto the façade of the former City Hall. While art historians might cringe at the manipulation of these artworks and see it as disrespectful, I think the gallery is intending to make art “alive” and more accessible to the general public. Regardless, go see and decide for yourself.

You can get more information about the art carnival here.

Adaptation of Chen Wen Hsi's "Herons" (1990)
Adaptation of Cheong Soo Pieng's "Drying Salted Fish" (1978)
Adaptation of Chua Mia Tee's National Language Class (1959)

27th - 29th November | Website
Further down from the Padang is the Floating Platform, the site of many National Day Parades and BMT Graduations. For this weekend, it is the venue for the SG Heart Map, a crowdsourced Singapore map where the display put together tributes, art, photos, memories, videos etc sourced from various parts of Singapore over the year and celebrates some of the most iconic places in Singapore such as Pulau Tekong, the Dragon Playground at Toa Payoh and Changi Airport.

The work is the brainchild of Black Design headed by Jackson Tan, who has been credited as the man behind the SG50 logo. Black Design has also done the Noise Singapore exhibition at Orchard ION this year. The SG Heart Map exhibition comprises of mostly floats and static displays. 

You get to see an adorable vision of Singapore’s future illustrated by Michael Ng (mindflyer) or Darren Soh’s Facades which is intriguing to view. 

 Changi Airport Terminal 2 by Alfonso Paronda
Sketches of the Botanical Gardens. The Symphony Lake and Stage by Chia Pei Wen.

Also on display are the sketches by  of Changi Airport and Botanical Gardens by the Urban Sketchers, photography curated by Gwen Lee starring Robert Zhao Ren Hui and Ang Soon Nian as well as local films by Royston Tan. During our visit, they were screening Chicken Rice Wars.

You can get more information about the SG Heart Map event here.

1st December 2015 - 8th March 2016  | Website

Stroll along the Esplanade and cross the Helix Bridge, you can make your way to the Gardens by the Bay. It is not only going to be the place to enjoy a tropical white Christmas with the illuminations and Christmas markets but also a place to get a glimpse of Singapore’s vision of the future at the Future of Us exhibition opening on the 1st of December and runs till the 6th of March 2016.

Curated by Gene Tan, the mastermind behind the Singapore Memory Project, the Future of Us exhibition is an exhibition takes you from the past to imagine the future of Singapore. One of the spectacular features of the exhibition is its domed structures designed by a team from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Each panel from the cladding of the façade is said to be unique and designed through 3D generation in the course of designing it.

Having visited the Future Marketplace at the Milan Expo, I wish there would be more hardware than software in the envisioning of Singapore’s future. The lack of an element of concrete realism in the vision is one of the weaknesses of the exhibition. 

 At Milan Expo 2015's Supermarket of the Future by Coop in the Future Food District managed by Carlo Ratti
 You can point at the item and the display will show the origins of its ingredients and nutritional value as well as price. More than just a display you can then take the item and proceed to pay at the cashier.

However, if you take as good fun and approach it as in a light-hearted manner, it is still an enjoyable experience to take a walk down one of the many possible futures of Singapore, which is the theme of this exhibition: plausibility.

Getting to watch these visions within the domes was quite an experience and the static display at Home Tomorrow was fun to look at. I guess that also sets this exhibition apart from the example in Milan, the exhibition seeks to inspire rather than sell a future. 

Despite the circumstances that faced our parents or grandparents in the past, they made Singapore work, and similarly for us, it tries to tell us, “Look Singapore, there is a future ahead of us and you have a part in it and you can shape it!” That is one positive outcome you can take away (and the fun of playing with a swing, brings back childhood memories!)

You can get more information about the pavilion here.


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