. OH! Open House at Tiong Bahru .

15 Artists. 6 Homes. 1 Temple. 1 Estate. 2000 Guests.

Stories of Tiong Bahru { In Summary }

// Tiong Bahru: It means New Cemetery.
Humble Beginnings: Alternatively a mangrove swamp, pig farm, and cemetery.
Monkey God Temple: Qi Tian Gong first lived in an attap house but he’s got a lovely temple now.

Den of Beauties: The back entrances facing the car park meant rich businessmen could sneak in to see their loves.
Bukit Ho Swee Fire: The most famous fire in Singapore in 1961 kick started the whole public housing thing.
Lost Song: Until 2007, this was the place for the lovers of birdsong.
The Last True Hawker: Satay Man built his own pushcart and has been pounding the streets since 1977.
Made for Film: First there was Mee Pok Man, then Be with Me, now it’s Civic Life.
Bob The Cat: The street cat that bonded the Tiong Bahru community. //

About a month back, Soy and I found ourselves immersing in a uniquely different experience – An art walkabout in the quaint estate of Tiong Bahru, enjoying different art exhibits and pieces in the comfort of a stranger’s home. In short, think of it as a visit to an art museum plus a rare opportunity to take a peek into life at this hippy estate.

The first 2 installations of the OH! Open House tour – in Emerald Hill (2010) and Marina Parade(2011) – were greeted with such huge success that the reception for the 3rd edition (OH! Tiong Bahru) was simply overwhelming. Despite purchasing the tickets for the 6pm tour, we found ourselves having to wait in line for another 1hr before our tour commences. Interestingly, the participants were a good mix of both foreigners and locals (whoever said that Singaporeans do not appreciate Art?).

A peek at OH! Tiong Bahru through our eyes

Artist: Zhao Renhui. The mata puteh (a highly popular singing bird) used to be a common sight in the estate of Tiong Bahru as many people would bring their birds for bird singing competitions. However, over the years, the rise of hippy cafes and shops around the estate have resulted in the “eventual death” of this hobby.

Artist: Isabelle Desjeux. A bathroom turned into a laboratory of “failomics” where science projects get recycled, managed, reused, thrown away or dressed up.
Artist: Isabelle Desjeux. The battle between “Science” and “Nature”. Seems like “Science” is leading the race.

Artist: Jying Tan. A room made of nothing but objects made purely out of scotch tape. As quoted from the artist, “These objects can range from big to small, such as a bed, dressing table, lamp or nail polish bottle; they could have sentimental meaning or daily usage purposes. All in all, they are a platform that suggests to the audience the daily habits of the creator, and in the meantime, may be able to relate their own.

Artist: Stephen Black. The artist who also calls himself a Kuehtologist (1st time  that I have came across this term) wants to preserve the tradition and culture of making ang ku kuehs in Singapore. A take of edible food art!

Artist: Green Zeng. The loss of local dialects among the younger generation as the government and schools focus on the importance of Mandarin/Chinese Language.

Waves of energy

Artist: Marc Loh. A “peek a boo” installation re-created in a hidden alcove to illustrate a juicy bit of history where wealthy businessmen would sneak out to have a little rendezvous session with their mistresses. O-la-la!

Artist: Lavender Chang. Portrayal of nudity in an artistic (non-RA) way. Blurred images of the residents (who offered their houses for this art walkabout) sleeping in the nude.

The 2.5 hours walk (yes, it was quite a workout indeed!) had opened our eyes to the many various artsy ways that people use to express their thoughts and emotions – from photography of people in the nude to making objectives out of tape. Having said that, I must admit that I’m not an artistic person so what that really kept me fascinated was the opportunity to take a peek into the lives of the residents and their creatively designed humble abode. I’m definitely looking forward to next yr’s edition of the art walkabout! What about you? 🙂

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One response to “. OH! Open House at Tiong Bahru .

  1. Haiz~ very sad that I missed this (and the first one last year at Marine Parade). Keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to check it out next year. 🙂

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