Aliwal Art Centre’s annual multidisciplinary festival returns this July, and this year, they’re focusing on an unexpected theme: baskets.
But if you know a little about the history behind Arab Street, then baskets probably wouldn’t come as a surprise at all. After all, ever since the 1960s, Arab Street has a respectable tradition of basketry and rattan shops, and this rich history and more will be brought to life through a series of interactive performances, workshops and activities across the entire district.
With Aliwal Arts Night Crawl, organised in conjunction with Streets For People, the Aliwal Arts Centre sets out to showcase its eclectic mix of artist tenants. Starting from 5pm on Saturday, 28th July till late, visitors can look forward to a multitude of exciting programmes happening throughout the night, with the entire Aliwal Street and Sultan Gate closed off to fully immerse everyone in the festival zone.
In accordance with the theme, Aliwal Arts Night Crawl is headlined by a series of programmes that involve participants learning and applying basic weaving techniques. These come in the form of Aliwal Arts Centre tenants Di Na Babalik and Soft Concrete as they present an interactive installation that intertwines used clothes with materials representing trades of Kampong Glam, as well as a nostalgic, cassette loop-driven soundscape by artist Wu Jun Han, where audiences go on a hunt for all the cassette tapes to create loops on the spot. Meanwhile, Rehyphen founder Jessica Chua will be teaching audiences how to weave old tapes into a MusicCloth, or for a more traditional spin, get a real throwback with Ketu-Park as they play giant versions of childhood games, or learn how to wrap ‘bazhangs’ and ketupats.
The stage is also set as tenants of Aliwal offer workshops and performances to last the night. Theatre company Nine Years Theatre will be conducting a Viewpoints workshop, while Theatre Ekamatra presents a show titled Roots, exploring humanity’s connection with the Earth. Over at Aliwal Carpark, two outdoor stages have been set up to present shows from Teochew classic opera The Farewell 《十八相送》by Nam Hwa Opera, to BronzAge Gamelan’s showcase of traditional gamelan music.
Finally, visitors will also get a chance to get to know both Aliwal Arts Centre and the surrounding area intimately during the crawl: for the first time ever, Aliwal Open Studio Tours will take night crawlers on a guided tour within Aliwal Arts Centre to see into various artists’ studios and rehearsal spaces. Culture buffs can also listen in on sharing sessions from the area’s last basket merchant, or even discover art in unusual places as they explore the area – from New Opera Singapore’s Youth Singers singing in a contemporary furniture shop, while Sultan Gate Park transforms into a pop-up outdoor cinema.
This July, get ready for an unforgettable evening as you become a night crawler for a day, and indulge, explore and tap into the rich history of Kampong Glam, discovering the spectrum of tenants that occupy Aliwal Arts Centre in the 2018 edition of the annual Aliwal Arts Night Crawl.
Aliwal Arts Night Cawl takes place on Saturday, 28th July from 5pm till late around Kampong Glam. Admission is free, for more information, visit their website here