When Gaurav Kripalani took on the role of Festival Director for the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA), he introduced the concept of the Festival House, a central location in the heart of the city, where festival-goers could gather for a drink, talk to each other, and take in the wonder of the performance they had just witnessed.
After the festival went on hiatus last year, Festival House is back, now set to explore in-depth the ideas of compassion and healing over the course of SIFA 2021. Curated in response to the isolation due to the pandemic, the lineup will see The Arts House at the Old Parliament House transform into a space for discussions, workshops and immersive installations with topics ranging from mental health and wellbeing to sustainable living and climate change.
Festival Director Gaurav Kripalani shares: “Having lived through a time of isolation, I believe the Arts can play a powerful role in bringing communities together. I’ve also spent time thinking about how the arts can help heal. The programmes at Festival House have been curated around self-care, care for one another and care for our planet and I’m excited to present artists who have risen to the challenge of creating work with these in mind.”
Designed specifically for stakeholders in the arts industry, Can or Cannot? Making Sustainable Art Events the Norm led by Singapore-based social enterprise Green Nudge, is a mapping workshop to diagnose problems and obstacles and propose solutions towards becoming more sustainable in art-making and art-consumption. For the general public, Toolkits for Climate Change: The Role of Art in Climate Advocacy will bring audiences on a contemplative journey through storytelling and visual archives to explore personal stakes in climate breakdown.
Discover how changes in rituals of communication have the power to change the future with Impossible Conversations by Dutch artist collective Building Conversation. Through engaging with topical talking points such as Care, Risk, Obedience and Trust, participants are invited to deconstruct their lived experiences in group conversations and positively shape their personal lives with others. To Gathering: Laying the Table Bare facilitated by BRACK uses food as a medium for communication to get participants to open up about the underlying stories behind the collective act of gathering for a meal.
Explore creative practices that promote healing, mental health, and coping with change and trauma from some of the leading practitioners in Singapore. Healing collective Unapologetic Yoga will present two sessions: the first uses meditation, yoga and journaling to stay connected and mindful, while the second, which also features art by radha, encourages participants to stir their imagination and unleash their creative energies to create intuitive art.
Enter a deep state of relaxation with a Therapeutic Sound Bath led by Christina Shiu of The Singing Bowl Gallery, or get a better understanding of our body and special awareness with a guided facilitation session in Dancing Landscapes by movement artist Chole Chotrani. Join movement coach and veteran dancer Hafeez Hassan in The Brothers Circle as he confronts male vulnerability and masculinity today with breathwork meditation and movement.
Theatre and dance artists Chong Gua Khee and Bernice Lee present Tactility Studies: Hold to Reset. This long-term performance project invites audiences to open up their bodies as sites and spaces for performance. For this iteration during SIFA 2021, Hold to Reset will be presented in three-parts: mini-workshops, durational performances, and an experiential installation with a reminder weaving through these parts – where there is tension, there can be release.
After a successful run in 2019, the Asian Arts Media Roundtable (AAMR@SIFA2021) returns in 2021, bringing together international arts writers, critics and journalists to learn, share and converse. Presented in partnership with ArtsEquator, the programme will look at the evolving work of a critic as performances and festivals are reimagined for the future.
The 2021 Singapore International Festival of Arts runs from 14th to 30th May 2021. Tickets and full line-up available here