Singapore’s culture is a mixture of European and Asian cultures, influenced heavily by the British, Malay, Dutch, East Asian, South Asian, Australian and Portuguese cultures. Because of this, Singapore is often referred to as the country where “East Meets West”. These varying inspirations help Singapore’s arts scene, Singapore art jamming, blossomed into a myriad of colors that appear as both unique and diverse.
Today, Singapore has emerged as a center for arts and culture, boasting of year-round robust productions of theater and musical performing arts. Being a bustling metropolitan city that attracts a multi-racial society, Singapore is lauded for being the gateway to a wider range of international arts and culture. It is highly possible to not only experience the local arts in Singapore but also witness the other art styles of many countries.
During the last decade, a massive emergence in the field of performance arts has taken place in Singapore. Giant companies in Broadway, New York, and London have taken their signature brand of theater productions to hold a series of sold-out shows in Singapore.
The annual Singapore International Festival of Arts brings together local and international artists to perform a variety of performance arts, focusing on music, theater, and dance.
When it comes to visual arts, the scene doesn’t lag behind the performance arts, as evidenced by the many art-inspired streets and alleyways showing the emergence of young independent artists and designers.
The visually tantalizing and architecturally gifted Singapore National Museum houses many of the country’s impressive artworks. An afternoon spent here is enough to introduce you to the wonders of how big the art scene has exploded in the country, as well as inform you of its rich history dating back to the British rule.
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Since attaining independence from the British, the Singaporeans slowly got out of their former ruler’s shadow by creating their own identity in the field of art.
We now see young up and coming Singaporean artists making a name for themselves while at the same time, more talented and gifted individuals are being discovered in the many art fairs and exhibitions being held all year long in the country.
Even during the British rule, Singapore has been bracing for an art emergence with such luminaries like Cheong Soo Pieng and Chen Wen Hsi creating classical art that up to now continues to inspire the current generation of Singaporean artists, have catapulted the easy transition of Singapore’s art from under British rule to its total freedom of artistic expression upon gaining independence.
The end of World War II fashioned a noteworthy break for artistry in Singapore.
During the ’60s the new artists paved the way to refrain from the heavy Chinese influence and became more stand worthy of creating a new image. But it was during the 1970s when multiculturalism became the new mainstream. This period ushered the start of Singapore’s contemporary art movement.
Singapore always has an art enthusiast country boasting of many museums that are over 100 years old, but only after the Second World War that the first art gallery was established. Art historians contend that the factualness that the art style and development of the country is not a coincidence to the international art trend, instead, is the consequential of the thespian evolution itself and of Singapore’s history.
Singapore Art Jamming
Today, Singapore art has finally fulfilled the rightful representation of its history by shelving all influences of its previous rulers, the British and the Chinese. It is beaming with a rich tradition, innovation, and symbolism as it combines the tradition and influences not only of its four major cultures but the rest of the world as well.
As Singapore pushes towards becoming a key Asian artistic and societal hub, the art scenes continue to evolve successfully to accommodate its multi-racial and international audience, without sacrificing its own identity in order to retain the uniqueness of its contemporary art.
The art is so huge in Singapore right now that left and right, various art-related events are being held. The most common is the Singapore Art Week – where further exposure of talented Singaporean artists are achieved while further expanding the reach of the art scene to young students and even travelers visiting the country. Art Stage Singapore organized by Art Stage founder Lorenzo Rudolf is another noteworthy art event that showcases Asian art and the many fusion of ‘East meets West’ art styles.
Beyond the two said art events, there are a plethora of other art-related events anybody can experience throughout Singapore. From the glitz of the Prudential Eye Awards at the ArtScience Museum to the low profile rigor of the Signature Art Prize at the Singapore Art Museum to the pulsating event Art At Night which is held usually at the cultural hub of Gillman Barracks.
The contemporary Singapore art jamming scene is now lead by these distinguished artists; Jason Lim a young imaginative artist focusing on ceramics and performance art, Photographer Robert Zhao Renhui who documents the relationship of men and nature, Lee Wen a multidisciplinary artist whose ground-breaking performance art methods tackles the various themes of social identity.
In the alternative art scene, Vincent Leow dishes out an art form that borders on rebellion and anarchy.
The Artists Village founder Tang Da Wu introduced experimental art in the ’80s when nobody has heard about it. Other social issues-driven artists such as Amanda Heng remains relevant by tackling national identity, social relationships, and collective memory. She remains one of the leading female artists not only in Singapore but in the South East Asian region.
The list goes on and on and seems like an endless one as each day a new artist finds their true calling and incorporates important themes and creativity into their work. The fusion of various influences has helped Singapore art jamming scene reach a stature as becoming the hub of artistic inventiveness not only in Asia but the whole world.
To the upcoming generation of artists and the future Ho Tzu Nyen, Lim Tzay Chuen, Herman Chong, Ruben Pang, Melissa Tan, Eugene Soh, Geraldine Kang, Alecia Noh and many more, now is the perfect time to embrace the arts in Singapore just to make sure that future generations will enjoy the arts the same way as current generation are indulging in its wonders.