Things to do, watch, listen this week: 17 to 23 Jan
The A List guide this week has the theme of hope and happiness in the face of adversity, with a Singapore Art Week (SAW) show asking what happiness means to you, and a COVID-delayed dance performance telling the story of a girl who hangs onto her hopes amid the death and suffering of the Siege of Leningrad. We also have four of Singapore’s best-loved actors in a streamed version of a specially commissioned show performed at Esplanade Theatre last year, in which they dramatise events from their own lives. Rounding things out is an international all-woman exhibition at Gillman Barracks as part of SAW and a heads-up on a great resource to help you enjoy Singaporean music of every genre.
A Room of Her Own: Eight Women Reimagine the World Around Them
Examine the world from the perspective of eight women in this SAW exhibition staged by Sundaram Tagore gallery at Gillman Barracks. From Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha we get large-scale light installations laser-cut into elaborate patterns. Lalla Essaydi, resident in the US but born in Morocco, dwells on the consequences of segregated spaces on the lives of Arab women, while London-based Karen Knorr draws on ancient myths to reframe contemporary issues. Also taking part are renowned boundary-stretching painter Jane Lee of Singapore, Bangladeshi artist Tayeba Lipi, Detroit-based Indian painter Neha Vedpathak, and American artist Miya Ando, who notably made a 30-foot-tall sculpture built from World Trade Center steel installed in Olympic Park in London to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. The exhibition runs from 14 Jan to 19 Mar. Get a taste of A Room of Her Own here.
Another aspect of SAW’s presence in Tanjong Pagar Distripark is a display of experiential multimedia installations pointing the way to life hacks for happiness. Creative minds from Singapore, Venezuela and the UK invite visitors to consider what the H-word really means to them. Presented and produced by MAMA MAGNET and The Council, the exhibition includes an audio-visual participative installation created by internationally acclaimed Singaporean artists Reza Hasni and Kin Leonn. You can get into the happiness debate at the physical exhibition or experience Happy House digitally here.
Girl from Vasilievsky Island
When we talk about keeping our hopes up amid the dark clouds of the pandemic, we can draw inspiration from stories of hope sustained through almost unimaginable suffering. This unique dance performance at SOTA Drama Theatre by Rossinochka School of Russian Traditional Dance and students at Russian Language for Kids is a case in point. It tells the story of a girl who survives the Siege of Leningrad in World War Two (when Nazi armies blockaded the city for 900 days, causing the deaths of more than a million civilians) but hangs on to her belief in goodness and justice. Created by top choreographer Mrs Lioudmila Terentieva in 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of Russia’s final victory, it is suitable for children despite the dark setting. The show was originally scheduled last September but was postponed to 23 Jan because of COVID restrictions. It has unfortunately been postponed again just before publishing, but why not go ahead and book tickets for its new 8 May slot? We’re sure it will be worth the wait. Secure your tickets for The Girl from Vasilievsky here.
All the world is one’s stage
Enjoy a special streamed version of this insightful piece – staged at Esplanade Theatre last February as part of Huayi 2021 – where four veteran actors perform episodes from their lives and careers that kept them going through thick and thin. Yong Ser Pin, Liow Shi Suen, Johnny Ng and Ong Teck Lian are supported by a talented cast including Timothy Wan, Neo Hai Bin, Jodi Chan and Liew Li Ting as they open a window to Singapore’s past and take a look at what the future might hold, off and on the stage. The directing team is as stellar as the cast, drawing in Goh Boon Teck, Alvin Chiam and Ric Liu. Buy tickets to watch All the world is one’s stage here.
Here is something really worth listening to: a national movement that celebrates and promotes Singaporean music makers of all stripes – from pop, punk, R&B, rap, rock, classical, electronica, folk, instrumental, new age and the rest. Produced by independent music media company Bandwagon, it aims to raise the profile of Singaporean musicians. It is easy to navigate to the music you want to explore by selecting genre, language (Chinese, Malay, English or Tamil) and then searching by artist or decade. There are live streams, singalongs, interviews, reviews and really everything you need to enjoy Singapore music and get to know the people who make it. Take a good look around Hear65 here and subscribe to the YouTube channel here.
(Photos/video: Karen Knorr/Sundaram Tagore, Happy House, SOTA Drama Theatre, Yong Ser Pin, Hear65 artists/image from @theisaacmatthew)