Art What! Arts Preview

Art What!: Art Encounters – Where Land Meets Sea at Malay Heritage Centre

The sixth edition of Art Encounters by Art Outreach will return to the lawn of the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) in Kampong Gelam from 6th November to 16th December 2021, featuring a vibrant site-specific installation by local artist duo Ripple Root.

Titled Where Land Meets Sea, the installation celebrates the history of the area as a flourishing port in the 19th century where travelers and tradesmen from the Malay Archipelago would gather. Spanning two shipping containers and feature paintings and 3D cut-outs by Ripple Root in their signature bright and bold palettes, the installation aims to bring archival imagery from the Malay Heritage Centre’s collection and catalogues to life.

Ripple Root

As a duo, Ripple Root are known for their colourful and carefree murals around Singapore that reference the history and character of the neighbourhoods they are sited in, from heritage areas like Chinatown to restaurants and alleyways in the Central Business District. For this edition of Art Encounters, they drew inspiration from MHC’s past exhibitions on the history of Kampong Gelam, and will be layering their colourful visual language over archival images for the first time, encouraging visitors to see the past with new eyes.

The paintings will spotlight the concept of tanah air (land-water), which together translates to mean ‘homeland’ in Malay, and feature seafarers who made their livelihood from the sea and surrounding islands, Malay communities who had settled around the river banks of the nearby Rochor River, as well as merchants and hawkers around Sultan Gate. Life-sized cutouts of a traditional boat and Gelam tree will also be sited on the sprawling lawn for visitors to take photos with.

Continuing in Art Encounter’s mission to reveal more of the artistic process to the public, the duo will spend the first 2 weekends of the exhibition (6-7 November, 13-14 November) live painting inside the containers, giving visitors a rare insight into their painting process which takes place like a tag-team manner, with each adding onto another’s interpretation freely. When complete, visitors step inside the containers to learn more about the artefacts in the paintings, some of which can be seen in the Malay Heritage Centre’s special exhibition Cerita (Stories), which will open from 11th December 2021 to 29th May 2022.

Envisioned as a pit-stop on a journey that will continue after the planned museum refresh from 2022 to 2024, Cerita shines the spotlight on the shared stories as well as the role of the storyteller via a survey of selected artefacts and signature collaborations that MHC has presented over the past decade. Cerita hopes to indulge both returning and new MHC audiences to discover fresh insights and perspectives on Malay culture and heritage.

Art Encounters: Where Land Meets Sea runs from 6th November to 16th December 2021 at the Malay Heritage Centre. More information available here

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