The multidisciplinary public arts festival ARTWALK will return to the vibrant streets of Little India and Katong-Joo Chiat for its ninth edition from 6 to 15 January 2023.
ARTWALK 2023 explores the theme of Echo—how our culture, heritage and traditions reverberate like sound waves. The metaphor of an echo reminds us that our culture is in constant flux, never stagnant. This year’s ARTWALK calls on audiences to see our cultural heritage in a fresh light, through the reflections and impressions of contemporary artists who will bring the spaces and histories of Little India and Katong-Joo Chiat to life. Through art, the programme explores concepts of echoes left behind in time and space, and thus, manifest through heritage and history.
Part of Singapore Art Week, ARTWALK is an annual multidisciplinary public arts project organised by LASALLE College of the Arts (LASALLE) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB), supported by the Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA). Inspired by the history and traditions of Singapore’s cultural precincts, ARTWALK presents a multisensory experience through artworks such as wall murals, workshops, music and performances.
This year, ARTWALK programming takes place in a fully-physical format, with four new murals across Little India and Katong-Joo Chiat. Mr Milenko Prvacki, Senior Fellow, LASALLE College of the Arts, said: “After 7 years of being in Little India, we thought it was time to expand, and we ended up at Katong/Joo Chiat. We are very happy to be back on the streets, it’s a bit like a child learning to walk again after being bedridden by illness and hope that ARTWALK continues to be a crowd favourite. What I hope visitors take away from this year’s ARTWALK is that through contemporary art and expression, we can find ways to echo our cultural heritage. To pay tribute, and draw inspiration from it. This is how we can preserve traditions, but also how our culture can keep growing and evolving in the years to come.”
Ms Lim Shoo Ling, Director, Arts & Cultural Precincts, Singapore Tourism Board, said: “We look forward to welcoming ARTWALK with full on-site programming at the precincts, where visitors can immerse themselves in a variety of multi-sensory art experiences. Events like these bring to life the rich stories of our cultural precincts, uncover hidden gems for both locals and international visitors, and add to our vibrant events calendar—all of which reinforce our position as an attractive leisure destination.”
Visitors to Katong-Joo Chiat can look forward to new murals by Mohammed Zulkarnaen Othman (commonly known by his artist moniker ZERO) and soph O, with their works entitled Dekat di mata, Jauh di hati at 290A Joo Chiat Road and Anatomical Reverberation; Recollections of you from a distance at 471 Joo Chiat Road respectively. The mural by ZERO takes reference from the heritage and spirit of Joo Chiat and Katong, and how the area has evolved over time, chipping away at the layers of paint to discover the history behind it and then painting over, while soph O’s mural is an abstract portrait of characters, environments and experiences morphed into a singular cell.
Visitors looking for an immersive experience can join the pop-up dinner theatre experience Rachel and the Rempah Runaways at Peranakan Inn, which combines the best of live theatre with a delectable five-course meal. Those looking for a hands-on creative activity can join the pop-up art-jamming workshop by Artefakts, where attendees will learn the basic techniques of carving a stamp and create a stamp with a Peranakan Motif.
Adding to the line-up of Little India’s murals this year are artist Laurie Maravilla (commonly known as SPAZ), whose mural Baoli Reverb at Indian Heritage Centre contextualises the architecture of Baoli wells, restoring these heritage structures to their original function, which is to bring water to everyone who needs it.
Another new mural is Tapestry of Saree 2040 by the creative studio Mural Lingo. The mural along 68 Serangoon Road depicts a narrative about culture, legacy and the future, drawing inspiration from its immediate vicinity of Little India.
Visitors to Little India can also look forward to a line-up of engaging and dynamic performances. Celebrating ARTWALK’s return to the streets with a bang, the crowd favourite Damaru Singapore will be back for its third time with Ala’parai as part of the festival’s programme, this time with a refreshed and contemporary twist to their performances.
The experimental piece Liminal States by students from the Diploma in Dance programme at LASALLE will reflect Little India’s constant state of transition, while the site-specific piece Origin by Mark Nicodemus Tan will bring to life mythical characters through music, dance, poetry and theatre at various stops in the district.
Other highlights include sessions with storyteller Kamini Ramachandran, a long-time ARTWALK favourite, who will lead a cultural tour and experience that centres around the harvest festival Pongal. Audiences will get to experience not just the sights and sounds of the surrounding area, but also a curated gastronomic experience with rice dishes traditionally made during Pongal,l.
ARTWALK 2023 runs from 6th to 15th January 2023 around Katong and Joo Chiat. More information and full programme available here