Taking on the theme of Image and Sound of Fragrance, popular multi-disciplinary arts festival ARTWALK Little India returns this Singapore Art Week for a grand celebration of the cultural precinct’s rich heritage via the arts. New highlights include an immersive exhibition at UltraSuperNew Gallery, five more public wall murals to add to Little India’s colourful vibrancy, and an extended programme lineup that lasts 16 days, the festival’s longest yet.
Since its inception in 2015, ARTWALK has grown to become a highlight and staple feature of Singapore Art Week, and is jointly organised by LASALLE College of the Arts (LASALLE) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB), with the support of Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association, growing from a visitorship of 74,000 in 2015’s inaugural edition to over 260,000 visitors in 2018.
Highlights of this year’s edition include an exhibition at UltraSuperNew Gallery, a first for ARTWALK, which features works by acclaimed artists Tan Ngiap Heng, Bani Haykal and more. Curated by Cultural Medallion winner and LASALLE’s Senior Fellow Milenko Prvacki, the artists will collectively transform smell into a visual soundscape for a truly multisensorial experience.
Also making first-time appearances are young artists SONG, who will unveil an ambitious wall mural that captures all the sights and smells of the neighbourhood, and Susanna Tan, who encapsulates her well-wishes for the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society in a mural along Starlight Road.
For theatre fans, LASALLE’s Diploma in Performance students will be performing a re-telling of Kuo Pao Kun’s The Coffin is Too Big for the Hole, and will be conveyed by a young Indian woman in modern day society, as staged in France’s Limoges Festival in 2018 where it received praise for its inventiveness and stagecraft.
Familiar festival favourites will also be making their return this time around, including master storyteller Kamini Ramachandran as she breathes life into back-alley whispers from Rowell Road, while artists ZERO and Shah Rizzal add their unique signature to the walls of the district once more with brand new wall murals. Main sponsor Tekka Place and co-sponsor Nippon Paint have also renewed their commitment to support the neighbourhood, while Monster Day Tours, SIFAS, Mural Lingo and the Indian Heritage Centre present a host of specially created programmes. Adding to the multi-sensory experience are also various exciting fringe activities – visitors can make their own bath salts in a spice workshop, or try their hand at creating music with a two-headed mridangam drum.
Managed by a team of eight BA(Hons) Arts Management students from LASALLE, student Jack Kenneth Tan comments: “Facilitating cross-cultural bonding and interaction has always been a goal of ARTWALK. Traditions and rituals that seem ordinary to the community can sometimes be hard to understand from an outsider’s perspective. The arts are a way to lower these barriers, propel conversation, and allow visitors and residents alike to walk away with insightful discoveries.”
Says Ms Serene Tan, Director, Arts and Cultural Precincts, STB: “ARTWALK Little India brings the area’s rich heritage and culture to life, enabling locals and overseas visitors to experience Little India at a deeper level, while ensuring it stays relevant to the younger generation. We are happy to once again partner LASALLE on this project to make Little India a more vibrant and attractive precinct,”
Photos courtesy of LASALLE College of the Arts
ARTWALK Little India 2019 runs from 18 January – 2 February 2019, with programmes and activities happening on Fridays to Saturdays, 6pm – 9.30pm. For more information, visit http://artwalklittleindia.sg, where a digital version of the festival guide is also available for download. Members of the public can pick up a copy of the festival guide at the Indian Heritage Centre or Sate Kelinci Pak (event main ground). Sign up for guided tours at https://artwalklittleindia2019.peatix.com/, or download the Locomole app on mobile devices, on both the App Store and Google Play store for a self-guided tour.