As You Were: Experience joy and hope in our endemic world through Public Art Trust’s five new commissions
A giant Marie biscuit, and a larger-than-life paper cup reminiscent of the simple joys of our childhood. A sizeable inflatable paper boat that also resembles the face mask that is now commonplace in everyday life. Quirky shapes sprouting out over a garden, injecting joy and colour into the common landscape.
Five artworks will be on display across three of Singapore’s public parks from 12 May to 30 Oct, as part of a public art showcase commissioned by the Public Art Trust (PAT) titled As You Were.
The showcase features seven artists stepping into nature to create interactive visual artworks. The installations take their cue from the changes to life since COVID-19, bringing to life the artists’ ideas of an endemic world, as well as future aspirations as Singapore moves forward collectively.
Chong’s artwork touches on how people renegotiate the new ways of togetherness through the warmth and humour of a half-eaten Marie biscuit. Quek and Lim’s installation relates to a word that is often heard during the pandemic: Zoom. It encourages people to get into the lost art of active listening in nature.
Ang’s eight-metre inflatable takes inspiration from the now-iconic face mask as a symbol of solidarity and striving in the face of adversity. Lim and Kueh’s seesaw emphasizes the idea of care and inclusion of play, right in the heart of the urban landscape.
Teo’s installations, titled Our Dreams Must Continue, sit on the grassy fields of Jurong Lake Gardens. The colourful and shimmering artwork hopes to bring with it positive energy, something that has at times been in short supply during the pandemic.
Together, the artworks resonate with the artists’ take on hope, recovery, and transformation through an unprecedented period that has turned the whole world on its head.
As Tay Tong, the Director of Sector Development (Visual Arts) at the National Arts Council (NAC), put it: “As our public spaces come to life again, the dawning of a new, endemic world is a huge step forward for our arts community, and for all Singaporeans.
“Our artists sought to contemplate and facilitate society’s reconnection to nature and community, and this showcase has provided an opportunity for them to push their creative boundaries to create works that inspire joy and reflection in the daily lives of our Singapore public.”
The PAT was established in 2014 by NAC with a mission to bring art into spaces where we live, work, and play, making art accessible to everyone and, quite literally, closer to people. To learn more about how public art are commissioned, check out the PAT guidebook here.
(Photos: National Arts Council)