This Saturday, the Aliwal Arts Night Crawl returns once again to light up Kampong Glam with a brand new cheeky theme – Basket! The annual one night only event sees the entire district transformed into an arts wonderland, with the closure of both Sultan Gate Road and Aliwal Road to dedicate the whole space to arts and heritage.
This year’s theme of Basket! plays on Arab Street’s history, having had a respectable tradition of basketry and rattan shops along the street since the 1960s. Headlining the festival this year then, is a series of activities that deal with weaving, such as Di Na Babalik (literally, ‘never to return’) at the Aliwal Arts Centre Multipurpose Hall, an interactive installation that examines nostalgia by intertwining used clothes and a sound installation by Wu Jun Han surrounding cassette tape loops.
Other highlights to look out for include, for the first time ever, the Aliwal Open Studio Tours, as night crawlers go on a guided tour within Aliwal Arts Centre to see into various artists’ studios and rehearsal spaces. The first tour at 5.30pm, for example will bring visitors through New Opera Singapore, the I-Lien Drama Society and Nine Years Theatre’s studios. Each of these companies will also have their own programmes during the crawl – the I-Lien Drama Society will stage dance/tai-chi face-off 武, 舞. Indistinguishable Strokes at the Aliwal Carpark at 9pm, Nine Years Theatre will be conducting a Viewpoints workshop in their studio at 7.30pm and 8.30pm, while New Opera Singapore’s youth singers Corey Koh and Jasmine Grace Towndrow will be singing in contemporary furniture shop Scene Shang, while accompanied by pianist Nhi Khanh.
Outside of Aliwal Arts Centre itself, partner establishments will also be joining in the festivities. At Sultan Gate Park, visitors can camp out under the stars and enjoy the carefully curated film programming, with a series of local short films selected by Objectifs that explore what it means to grow up in Singapore, and M. Raihan Halim’s feature length Banting, about a Muslim girl who secretly takes professional wrestling lessons. Over at the Malay Heritage Centre, look out for Tumpang Lalu (Passing Through) at 9.30pm, which will weave together music and theatre based on songs by Najib Soiman that discuss faith and cultural practice in the Malay community, created by a team of multi-disciplined artists under the Malay Heritage Centre Artist Residency Programme.
Says Natalie Tan, Centre Manager for Aliwal Arts Centre and Aliwal Arts Crawl programmer for the past four years: “Aliwal Arts Night Crawl has grown a lot since we started it – it used to take on a trail format, but we’ve been evolving it over the years to become a placemaking experience, especially with all the satellite performances and site-specific works that have been worked into the programme. We want to give the festival go-ers time to explore and roam the area, to self discover the beauty and heritage of Aliwal”
She continues: “We’ve received so much support from within the arts community itself, with plenty of people showing up each time. We can only hope that it continues to grow year on year as the community grows and welcomes new visitors and night crawlers, as the crawl itself continues to develop and expand with each new edition to showcase the history and culture of the place, and the many talents that reside within our centre’s four walls.”
Weave yourself not just ketupats and baskets, but right into the very fabric that makes up the precinct’s historical, artistic and cultural landscape, as you join in Aliwal Arts Night Crawl 2018 this Saturday.
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