With the Singapore Biennale on-going, the next few months are set to be interesting for the local arts scene. But in December, there’s no shortage of other cultural events to go for. This month, we see the comeback of some favourite festivals and show. After a successful debut last year, street culture festival Culture Cartel is now on for its second edition. Local theatre group Dream Academy is also bringing back its annual Crazy Christmas shows after a two-year hiatus. New exhibitions by National Gallery Singapore and Asian Civilisations Museum are also be sharing an intimate insight into the masters of Chinese art in Singapore. Thankfully, the upcoming long holidays will make more than enough time to explore these cultural showcases.
Digital art showcase Astrolabe -- whakaterenga explores the science and wisdom behind ancient Asian star charts through a mesmerising series of virtual reality and audio-visual works. The showcase, which makes its world premiere in Singapore, offers an interpretation of moving star charts with dancers (on film) and film projection. This mixed-media installation also brings in the use of soundscapes and kinetic sculptures, making it a thoroughly immersive experience for audiences. First created in New Zealand, the project is a collaboration between 15 artists from across different countries -- including Singaporean composer and sound artist Joyce Beetuan Koh and dancer Jill Goh.
National Gallery Singapore will be presenting is first-ever photography exhibition, highlighting the seminal works of local art veteran Chua Soo Bin. The three-part exhibition brings to light almost 100 photographs, detailing not just Chua’s art evolution but also the pioneers of Singapore’s art scene. Amongst these works are portraits of Singapore ink masters the likes of Chen Wen Hsi, Ye Qianyu and Lu Yanshao. The life of Chinese artist Wu Guanzhong, whose art has been thoroughly explored at the National Gallery, is also well-documented through Chua’s lens with candid and informal photos.
Continuing on its focus on Chinese art, Asian Civilisations Museum pays homage to the late Dr Tan Tsze Chor with an exhibition of his massive art collection which sees over 130 paintings and artefacts. The legendary art patron/philanthropist was best known for his close support of renowned Chinese and local artists, often commissioning portraits from them as well. It’s should be of no surprise then that the exhibition’s pieces all come with solid provenance. Visitors will get the rare opportunity to see some grand masterpieces from Xu Beihong, Ren Bonian and Qi Baishi up close.
After a highly successful debut, Culture Cartel is making its return with all things street culture. This time the festival promises to be ‘bigger and better,’gathering together a series of exhibitions, workshops and talks revolving around street culture. As with last year, Culture Cartel continues to showcase cult toys, tattoo art and fashion. Sneakerheads won’t be disappointed either: the festival will see one of the largest collections of Air Jordans on display and for sale. There will also be the debut of the Soundstage with performances by American rapper Fatman Scoop and other artistes and DJs.
Theatre group Dream Academy is back to spreading Christmas cheer with the comeback of its Crazy Christmas series. This year’s line-up gathers familiar names such as comedians Kumar, Sebastian Tan (of Broadway Beng fame) and Selena Tan for a round of comical sketches. Expect stand-ups and crazy skits peppered with tongue-in-cheek references to local events -- a fun way to round-up 2019, we think!