Arts Preview Singapore

Preview: Silver Arts 2019 by National Arts Council

Seniors and their palm drawings at Community Arts Project, I Hold You In My Hands

The annual Silver Arts festival is back for its eighth edition to celebrate seniors and creative ageing in the arts. This year, an exciting line-up of programmes captures personal stories of seniors through music and dance performances, exhibitions, films and workshops as they connect meaningfully with their peers and across generations.

Organised by the National Arts Council (NAC), this year’s festival will take place island-wide from 5th to 29th September 2019. The festival marks a high point in the year-round programmes for seniors to discover their creativity as the arts enhances their social and emotional well-being, with almost 270 artists and arts groups involved in the line-up of diverse and accessible arts programmes in English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and Chinese dialects, exploring themes that relate to audiences across different communities.

This edition also shines the spotlight on seniors, not just as performers and audiences, but as active collaborators and volunteers. Through a wide range of programmes designed to empower and engage the community, the NAC hopes to strengthen their sense of identity and self-worth through the arts. Earlier in the year, artists Michael Lee, Jaxton Su, Stellah Lim and Flamenco Sin Fronteras organised four Community Arts Projects for seniors from all walks of life to come together and share their perspectives on life through the arts as well as to forge unique bonds with one another in the process. Their creative journey will culminate in the Silver Arts Exhibition taking place throughout the festival period at the National Library Building (NLB) Plaza, and will showcase their individual expressions through works such as miniature models, hand casts and performances.

Says Ms Chua Ai Liang, Senior Director of Engagement and Participation at NAC: “We are heartened to see seniors across different communities having deeper experiences in the arts and using it as a way to bond and express themselves. By learning from and being inspired by the artists, NAC hopes people across generations, cultures and abilities will connect through the arts, and celebrate the rich life experiences of our seniors.”

The three highlight programmes at Silver Arts 2019 will be organised by Siong Leng Musical Association, Wadah Seni Entertainment and The Philharmonic Winds; Siong Leng Musical Association presents An Evening of Nanyin Jazz (南爵士夜), which  merges Nanyin music with jazz and pop in contemporary renditions of classic tunes such as Unforgettable Love (不了情) and The Evening Primrose (夜来香). Meanwhile, fans of romantic duets from classic and modern Malay films can look forward to Soulful Silver Screen Melodies (Sukma Irama Layar Perak), a Malay music concert headlined by singers such as Dato’ Yusni Hamid (Malaysia), Rudy Djoharnaen and Eddy Ali. Finally, the Philharmonic Youth Winds will collaborate with veteran local jazz singer Robert Fernando and two seniors picked from an audition to present Those Were The Days, at an intergenerational concert that will appeal to families.

Two special short film commissions, Family Affairs and A Dream I Did Not Dream, will be premiering this year, dealing with themes of family, relationships and reconciliation. Family Affairs is a Cantonese and Chinese film directed by acclaimed writer, producer and director Chai Yee-Wei in collaboration with xinyao veteran and Chinese studies scholar Dr Liang Wern Fook. A Dream I Did Not Dream is a film about the rejuvenating power of time by award-winning director K. Rajagopal in collaboration with Dr Uma Rajan. Both films are part of the Silver Films programme, collecting a series of five short films and five feature films from Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Taiwan.

Besides the main programmes, this year’s Silver Arts festival also aims to engage with seniors in the running of the programme itself. For the first time, a group of 11 seniors was involved in the curation process of the Silver Films programme alongside Objectifs – Centre for Photography & Film, and invited to review and vote for the final line-up, ensuring that films which better resonate with seniors would make the cut. Silver Arts Ambassadors also play a key role at Silver Arts with more than 60 seniors coming forward every year, and many of them as returnees, taking on roles such as Front-of-House Stewards, Exhibition Hosts and Arts Champions, the latter of which will also be trained to use the Befriender’s Arts Toolkits to relate to their peers through art-making.

Additionally, the free Arts on the Move programmes will take place throughout the festival, including a walking trail through the Civic District, an intergenerational photography workshop and performances at the NLB Plaza. To encourage intergenerational bonding, Silver Arts 2019 will also be introducing the new Date Your Grandparents campaign passport, where families and friends are encouraged to attend together, and participate in the various festival programmes to collect stamps which can be redeemed for unique collectibles.

This September, it’s time to bring your favourite seniors along to attend the smorgasbord of events available at Silver Arts 2019, bringing them (and you) closer to the arts and celebrating creative ageing for all.

Silver Arts 2019 takes place across various venues around Singapore from 5th to 29th September 2019. For more information, visit their website here


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