A permanent structure to commemorate Singapore’s Golden Jubilee celebrations
Sketching one’s own portrait could well replace ‘selfies’ as a trend, judging by the infectious response to Portraits of the People.
In celebration of Singapore’s 50th anniversary next year, National Gallery Singapore is rallying all of Singapore to self-sketch their portraits and reflect on the National Pledge through Portraits of the People. Many of these self-portraits will subsequently be etched onto a permanent commemorative walkway – the Art Connector – as a tribute to the people for their contribution in building Singapore.
Portraits of the People, a travelling community engagement programme which started in early November, will be held in 50 different locations island-wide over the next six months. These will include shopping malls, community organisations, libraries and schools. In December, a dedicated website will be launched to allow more people to participate from home or office, as well as Singaporeans living overseas.
A montage of self-portraits collected will be artistically curated to form the centrepiece of the Art Connector, the 290-metre walkway aptly named not only for its link between City Hall MRT station to the entrance of the new Gallery along Coleman Street, but also as a metaphor for bridging art and the community.
Self-portraits reflective of Singapore’s rich diversity
Participants at the Portraits of the People events will be provided with a tablet and guided on-site by facilitators through the creative, easy-to-follow process of self-sketching. After the artwork is complete, participants select and reflect on the part of the National Pledge which most resonates with them.
Dr. Eugene Tan, Director of National Gallery Singapore, said, “Portraits of the People provides our society with an introspective platform to reflect on the personal journey that they have taken with Singapore over the past 50 years, and contemplate their hopes and dreams for a happy and progressive Singapore.
“The process of self-sketching is also akin to one’s expression of art. By contributing their self-portraits to the Art Connector we hope people will have a closer affinity to the Gallery, which is for everyone. Art plays a part in all our lives and as Singapore’s new national arts institution, we believe that art should be accessible and relevant to all, allowing for creative expression, communal connection and self-reflection,” said Dr Tan.
The creative concept
The Art Connector’s creative team is led by FARM, a cross disciplinary, award-winning design studio, in collaboration with Grace Tan, recipient of the Young Artists Award 2013. Together the team took inspiration from the built and natural topography of Singapore and the rich tapestry of its people.
The structure of the connector will use a mix of materials and textures which represent the Singapore milieu – including concrete, earth clay, iron oxides, granite and quartzite. The centerpiece, made up of the collection of self-portraits, will use materials like copper as the main texture. FARM will also commission four artists to design segments of the National Pledge through colorful, vibrant renderings along the Art Connector.
“The inspiration for us literally came from the ground up,” said Ms Tan. “The making of the Art Connector starts with the foundation of Singapore and builds on the story of the nation through the many different people who have come together to participate in Portraits of the People.”
Portraits of the People is currently at Velocity until 28 November 2014, and at United Square from 11 to 28 December 2014. It will move on to other venues till end of April 2015. Check the Gallery’s Facebook page for the latest updates on Portraits of the People.