Things to do, watch, listen this week: 10 to 16 Jan
It’s time for Singapore Art Week to kick off in style, making it hard to put together a shortlist of recommendations. Nonetheless, here are our picks for this week, including a fusion of art and poetry from Ivan David Ng and Tse Hao Guang, and Donna Ong’s meditation on the way idealised depictions of the tropical forest have warped our perceptions – both at Gillman Barracks. If you don’t have a car to get there, you can catch the free Singapore Art Week shuttle bus. The SAW 2022 umbrella also covers a reinvention of traditional Chinese street theatre at Prinsep Street.
Time Present Time Past
A temporary space at 120A Prinsep Street serves as a portal back in time to the days of traditional Chinese street opera, as five artists (Ken Cheong, Mary Bernadette Lee, Wu Yanrong, Lai Yu Tong and Yenting Hsu) each take their own journey back to this traditional art, even as they explore themes relevant to contemporary society. To get some context, you can peruse video footage and 150 photographs from Ken Cheong’s personal documentary on Chinese street opera, taken between 1989 and 2007. Admission is free for this must-go Singapore Art Week event. Find out more about Time Present Time Past here.
Pongal Open House 2022
Pongal is an Indian harvest festival that pays homage to Surya, the Sun God, for the blessings of a bountiful harvest. Visit the Indian Heritage Centre from 8–16 Jan to enjoy an exciting array of free cultural activities – from hands-on-craft workshops to immersive trails. Read more about Pongal Open House 2022 here.
Hahaha: a season of comedy
For its first programme of 2022, Asian Film Archive presents a celebration of one of cinema’s most pleasurable genres: comedy. Ten films made over five decades will tickle your funny bone with slapstick physicality, deadpan dry humour, political satire, and the downright surreal. The movies light up the screen at the Oldham Theatre from 7 Jan to 27 Feb. Among the films on offer are a P. Ramlee classic, Pendekar Bujang Lapok (The Bachelor Warriors) from 1959, Rent-A-Cat by Naoko Ogigami (2012), and It Must Be Heaven, directed by Elia Suleiman (2019). See the full line-up and get book details for Hahaha: a season of comedy here.
Roads Around A Mountain
Here is an interesting mix for Singapore Art Week 2022: a solo art exhibition by Ivan David Ng featuring poetry by Tse Hao Guang; both men addressing an enduring aspect of the human condition – restlessness. Ng, who incorporates into his paintings materials derived from Google Maps, landscape photographs and collected ephemera, invited editor and poet Tse Hao Guang to contribute original poetry in response to the art. The resulting verse is also on display. It is one of the many Singapore Art Week attractions at Gillman Barracks. Find out more about Roads Around A Mountain here.
Somewhere Else: The Forest Reimagined
More Singapore Art Week inspiration at Gillman Barracks comes in the shape of this exhibition by multidisciplinary artist, Donna Ong. She casts a critical eye over the often problematic images of the tropical forest as a travel destination, stretching from the idealised exotica of 17th century lithographs to the glossy, airbrushed images we see today in travel brochures – as well as the carefully curated images that seduce us on Instagram. These images, Ong contends, influence the way we perceive and act towards tropical nature, cultures and peoples.
(Photos: DECK, Indian Heritage Centre, Asian Film Archive, SingLit Station, Donna Ong)