Our most memorable encounters with art in 2018
The A List looks back on the year and reminisces their most memorable encounters with art and culture in Singapore.
In An Instant: Polaroid at the Intersection of Art and Technology at the National Museum of Singapore. (Photo: Claudio Chock
This was a year of comebacks – 1990s fashion, retro music remixes, and, all over our Instagram feeds, the faded aesthetic of instant photographs. The resurgence of Polaroid photography didn’t go unnoticed in Singapore, with the National Museum of Singapore’s exhibition, In An Instant, tracing the history of Polaroid from its heyday in the 1970s till today, and – if the number of film camera apps these days are any indication – likely for years to come.
Shut Up And Dance 2018: Satori – Through the Times, performed at the University Cultural Centre. (Photo: Kuang Jingkai, courtesy of NUS Centre For the Arts)
I have long been an admirer of Akanen Miyoshi, an emerging talent in the Asian dance scene, known for her sexy yet hard-hitting style, and I followed her charismatic choreography on YouTube faithfully for years. So, I was euphoric when I found out that she was invited to choreograph a guest item at the National University of Singapore’s biennial dance production this year. I signed up to dance in the show and was thrilled to train under her. But the most unforgettable moment was sharing the same stage and dancing alongside her – it was surreal.
FaceTime with History at National Museum of Singapore’s 131st anniversary (Photo: Eleni Sardi)
The National Museum of Singapore launched an immersive, interactive activity, #FacetimeWithHistory, as part of its 131stanniversary celebration. The activity allowed visitors to live chat with selected artefacts in the museum. It was thrilling to watch people of all ages talk to museum exhibits, and to have the latter respond with stories about the eras they came from. The spontaneous dialogues were infused with humour and empathy. My favourite memory was of two young children who, eager to speak with more objects from the past, went up to other exhibits that were not part of the activity and tried to chat them up by saying ‘Hello’. How wonderful it is, to inspire young minds to think of heritage and history as living, breathing things they can engage with.
[Disclaimer: The writer was involved in the museum’s anniversary celebration project.]
Adrian Tan speaking at Singapore Writers Festival 2018 closing debate. (Photo: Singapore Writers Festival)
The Singapore Writers Festival embraced the essence of literature in various art forms, including performance and new media. It was also a platform that allowed writers, thinkers and members of the public to come together and discuss urgent issues in the arts, society and politics today. The open, dynamic dialogue at the Festival has me excited about the potential for the arts to enrich public discourse.
Until the Lions by the Akram Khan Company, performed at the Esplanade’s da:ns festival. (Photo: Bernie Ng, courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay)
This dance by acclaimed choreographer Akram Khan, inspired by the Indian epic, the Mahabharata, taught me what the sublime means in a visceral way. I have never been moved by art this way, to feel like I wept tears on the inside, tears that felt pure and cleansing. Perhaps this was because the performance, through Khan’s artful marriage of storytelling, contemporary dance, kathak and live music, tapped into love, hatred, betrayal and passion on a non-human, cosmic scale. It was a glimpse of how magnificent otherworldly beauty could be; I might be forever ruined.
What was your most memorable encounter with art in 2018? Share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.