PUBLISHED March 16th, 2021 09:00 am | UPDATED March 21st, 2021 03:17 pm
With travel plans looking bleak in the near future, dreams of a tropical escapade in the Bahamas or a ski adventure in the Alps remain, very much, dreams. But this provides those in Singapore a perfect opportunity to go on a different kind of journey and explore the aspirations of individuals found in our very own homeland. Through a series of deeply moving and contemplative photographs at a very different kind of museum, reflect on what truly defines us as Singaporeans.
Margins: drawing pictures of home is showing at ArtScience Museum till 28 March 2021. It explores our hopes and dreams for Singapore and the stories that help us define the places we call home. Here are some overarching themes you find at the exhibition that are close to our hearts:
Featuring the works of 15 Singaporean contemporary photographers, this unique exhibition serves as an eye-opening peek into nation’s idiosyncrasies, blurring the margins in our melting pot of cultures and people. From Zakaria Zainal’s portraits of retired Gurkhas and their stories of integration into the local community and their time in Singapore, to Charmaine Poh’s photographs of migrant Ma Jies and their break from patriarchal norms, the exhibition sheds light on the untold stories of many who committed their lives to build the country that we are familiar with today.
Fancy some sightseeing – with a creative twist? 人山人海 People Mountain People Sea by Hu Qiren brings you through several sights across the island, juxtaposing 老夫子 (Old Master Q) comic tear-outs. Superimposed on scenes in places like Clarke Quay and a neighbourhood durian stall, they allude to a common ground in societal issues beyond the amusing juxtaposition. Something else that will for sure tickle your nostalgia is John Clang’s The Land of My Heart, featuring familiar locations and the protagonist dressed in a sarong kebaya, who has remained a timeless icon despite Singapore’s rapid development.
Towards the tail end of the exhibition, Darren Soh’s collection of long-exposure photographs in SS24 The Last Train document the last passenger train that used to connect Tanjong Pagar to Kuala Lumper every night, until a bilateral land swap brought this railway to a screeching halt on June 30, 2011. The bright streaks of light left in the photographs invoke nostalgia, reminiscent of something so ethereal yet ephemeral.
For something that hits a little closer to home, check out Wilfred Lim’s deep dive into transcending temporality and time in State of Solitary, an artistic reaction to the Circuit Breaker in Singapore from April to June 2020. Adding bright colours to the exhibition, look a little closer at Lim’s works and discover the jarring juxtapositions of subjects in his photographs — a chicken head in a jar beside garlic skins that mimic white roses, for starters. Admire Hanging Heavy On My Eyes, an monochromatic installation that records the daily PSI levels in Singapore throughout 2016 before realising it is artist Ang Song Nian’s depiction of the uncomfortable haze season that plagues our air yearly.
With so much to explore, grab tickets for your friends and family and head down to ArtScience Museum. Besides Margins: drawing pictures of home, catch other immersive and interactive exhibitions like STAR WARS™ Identities: The Exhibition and more.
On 26 March 6pm, join Gwen Lee, Director and co-founder of Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF) on an intimate curator’s tour of the exhibition as she shares how the collection of photographic works in Margins responds to SIPF’s 2020’s theme of Departing and Arriving. She will also discuss how the exhibiting artists’ interpretation of Singapore’s ever-evolving landscape contemplates our ideals, dreams and future. Complimentary to ticket holders of Margins: drawing pictures of home. Up to 10 participants on a first-come, first-served basis.
Top image: John Clang, The Land of My Heart (Dragon Playground), 2014.