Category Archives: Art & Craft

. anyone up for M&M’S ? .

I’m mad excited to share my latest nail art with all of you! ūüôā¬†
Trust my lovely manicurist, Ira, to come up with this super adorable M&M’S chocolate theme nail design for the year-end festivity! Doesn’t everyone just loves a dose of colourful M&M’S?

In fact, I was so happy that I even bought a packet of M&M’S to celebrate my nail makeover!

M&M'S nailsm nails 3

By Ira, For Your Nails Only

. sg biennale: gardens, by the way .

Dropped by the National Library the other day to take a look at the art installation ‘Gardens, By The Way‘. Unfortunately, there are way too many plastic bottled flower pieces and I was unable to spot mine despite several attempts. This particular art installation is free for all so do visit it if you’re in the vicinity! ūüôā¬†

Gardens, by the way
Mixed media installation
Dimensions: Variable
Collection of the Artist
Singapore Biennale 2013 Commission

Responding to the Singapore Biennale 2013 theme ‚ÄúIf the World Changed‚ÄĚ, pioneering graffiti collective ZNC (Zinc Nite Crew) pays homage to the changes that will come to Singapore‚Äôs landscape, predicting spurts of blossoming gardens that will grow all over the city. This foliage appears instantaneous, devised and urgent, reflecting today‚Äôs pace of rapid change and the need for instant gratification. At the same time, ZNC‚Äôs artwork is ecologically friendly, incorporating recycling with craft and aerosol art. Participants from over 30 schools were invited to collaborate with ZNC to create a flourishing garden, crafted from thousands of recycled plastic bottles, in the heart of the Singapore Biennale.¬†

Key Sponsor: Credit Suisse 
With support from: JPL Consultants

sg biennale gbtw 1
sg biennale gbtw 2
sg biennale gbtw

. sg biennale 2013: let’s go craffiti .

The Singapore Biennale is our country’s very own contemporary art exhibition and it returns this year with the theme ‘If the World Changed‘. Change is the only constant. If you could change the world, how would you want it to be and why? The 4th edition of the biennale is an invitation for everyone from all walks of life to re-image the world we live in and draw inspiration from a wide array of works from over 80 artists from the region. This year also marks the first time that the exhibition will not be featuring any international names, thus bringing the focus to the distinctive identity and artistic diversity of Southeast Asia.

The Singapore Biennale 2013 is on-going until early next year so that leaves you with ample time to catch the diverse range of art installations.
Exhibition Period: On-going until 16 Feb 2014, 10am – 7pm daily
Admission Fee: $10 for adults
Official Website: Singapore Biennale 2013

sg biennale 2013

craffiti workshop

As part of this year’s biennale, Singapore Art Museum has lined up a series of interactive programmes and activities for the public. Since my recent visit to Melbourne where I was introduced to the vibrant street arts scene, I have been on the lookout for an opportunity to learn and get hands-on with graffiti.¬†Seems like lady luck is on my side as I found out that the biennale was offering a workshop led by local graffiti collective ZNC (Zinc Nite Crew), where one can learn to do “craffiti”! Craffiti is simply a mash-up of craft and graffiti, an ideal yet easy introduction for those who would like to dabble with graffiti. For this particular workshop, we were taught to create flowers using recycled water bottles and aerosol paint. Kinda like the arts & craft class that we used to do back in Primary School.

BEFORE: Cut-out flowers from recycled water bottle

AFTER: A dose of colours later, I would like to present you …
My masterpiece! Not too bad for a 1st attempt, huh? 
after 1
after 2
Graffiti artist, Shah Rizzal, busy at work
artist at work
Colourful art pieces by the other students
flower 1
flower 2
flower 3
flower 4

The highlight of this workshop was having our pretty art works becoming part of the contemporary art installation created by ZNC for the Singapore Biennale 2013. Their installation, titled ‘Gardens, By The Way‘, pays homage to the changes that will come to our country’s landscape, predicting spurts of blossoming gardens that will grow all over the city. To make this installation a communal effort, ZNC had collaborated with students from over 30 schools to create a flourishing garden made of thousands of recycled bottle flowers!¬†

In other words, my art pieces will be proudly displayed with the rest of the recycled bottle flowers to complete this art installation. And of course, I couldn’t be happier for this rare chance to be a Biennale ‘artist’ and have my (very) amateur art pieces being displayed for public viewing! Will have to make a trip down to the National Library, where the ‘Gardens, By The Way‘ installation is being displayed, soon to spot my 2 ‘flowers’ amongst the thousands of others. Lol.

image-6ab0809acaecd58610c6b1714af84b0454eafa553987cd72f253e79d2747f050-V (1)

. sg biennale 2013 .

Exciting news! 2 of my art pieces (spray painted flowers made of recycled water bottles) will be proudly displayed at the ‘Gardens, By The Way‘ art installation that is currently exhibited at the National Library Plaza for the Singapore Biennale 2013! ūüôā ¬†Will share more on this in a later post.

all the art pieces
sg biennale art pieces

. the beauty of bukit brown cemetery .

Surprise! Do you know that Singapore’s very own Bukit Brown Cemetery has been placed as 1 of the 67 sites from 41 countries on the ¬†2014 World Monuments Watch? This puts the 91 years old cemetery together with other remarkable places such as the romantic city of Venice (Italy), the iconic Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (USA) and the ancient civilization of Cerro Sech√≠n (Peru)¬†on the Watch. According to the official website, the World Monuments Watch is a call to action for cultural heritage around the globe that is at risk from forces of nature and the impact of social, political, and economic change.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you must have read that the government will be exhuming an estimated 5000 graves to make way for a highway that will cut through Bukit Brown Cemetery. This had resulted in a public outcry and many activists have been very consistent in their efforts to campaign for the preservation of Bukit Brown Cemetery but to no avail. Honestly, I think with land being so scarce and precious in Singapore, it is just a matter of time that most of our “under-utilised” land will make way for commercialism, e.g. more properties or malls (Do we really need that many shopping malls?).

Nonetheless, the re-development of a portion of Bukit Brown Cemetery had raised much awareness about the historical and cultural value of this once forsaken place and roused many people, both locals and foreigners alike, to develop a sense of enthusiasm for it. Guess there was some good that eventually came out of this controversy.

Although cemeteries are places reserved for the dead, I do, however, think that there are different aspects of the cemeteries that should be embraced. Other than it being a place so steeped in history, there are also many other interesting facts for one to discover, for instance the significance of the architecture of the tombs with the after-life.¬†I have long wanted to visit Bukit Brown Cemetery, even way before the controversy, but procrastination and other priorities came into place. Anyway, through pure coincidence, I found out that 1 of my colleague is an avid supporter and volunteer guide of Bukit Brown so I guess that’s no more excuses. On this note, I would like to give a huge shout-out to my dear friend, Christine, who agreed to join me on the “The Ladies of the Straits Settlements” thematic tour without any hesitation! ūüôā

tour title

¬†‚ÄúThe Ladies of the Straits Settlements” theme tour was a¬† tribute to the¬† endurance, resilience¬† and the strength of character of¬† our women pioneers,¬† who played a significant role in championing greater freedom and education for females in Singapore, with¬† support from the¬† forward thinking men of their times.

snippets from the tour

The largest single occupant tomb in Bukit Brown belongs to Madam Oon Chim Neo¬†, who was 1 of the earlier batches of Chinese ladies to receive western education in Singapore and graduated top of her class from the Singapore Chinese Girls’ School. Her parents-in-laws’ tomb (Mr and Mrs Ong Sam Leong) is the largest and grandest tomb site in the cemetery and is said to cover an estimated area that is equivalent to the size of 10 3-bedroom HDB apartments!
largest single tombstone

Dr Lee Choo Neo, auntie of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, overcame surmounting cultural barriers and stigma to become the first woman medical doctor in Singapore. She was a determined lady who disagreed and challenged the conventional norm of the olden days and fought for Chinese women to further their education and English literacy. 
LKY auntie
Though not as famous as the other 2 ladies, Madam Oon Tuan Cheng‘s life story is one that reflects strength and endurance in the face of tragedy. Widowed at the age of 37, Mdm Ong was left to look after 6 young children by herself. Unfortunately, the Sook Ching massacre that happened during the Japanese Occupation claimed the lives of her elder 2 sons, who were supposed to take on the role as the “head of the family”. Misfortune¬†continued for her when her oldest daughter passed away suddenly and left her with 7 grandchildren under her care. Despite the loss of loved ones and an increasing amount of responsibilities, Mdm Oon had never once gave up hope and continued to fight on courageously in order to provide the best for her family.¬†Her tombstone is pegged for exhumation to make way for the construction of the highway.
couple tombstones
Large A4-sized portrait of Mdm Oon on her tombstone, a rare sight as most portraits are usually no bigger than palm-sized.
a4 potrait
Features of a Hokkein grave – The tombstone has a slight S-shape on the sides and it generally takes up a bigger space as it has an additional U-shaped shore beyond the tombstone.
hokkein tombstone

Features of a Teochew grave – The tombstone kind of resembles the shape of a chair. Notice that there isn’t the U-shape feature behind the tombstone for a Teochew grave?
teochew tombstone

Wealthy families often built a stone bench near their graves as it allows their descendants or relatives a space to sit during their visits.
cement bench

If you appreciate the unique designs of the Peranakan tiles, why not consider a visit to Bukit Brown Cemetery as there are many tombstones adorned with these beautiful tiles? Visit this site for more pictures.
peranakan tiles

This is one of my favourite feature of a Chinese tombstone that I found to be very distinctive and peculiar. Notice how this tombstone has a pair of angels at the top corners? This juxtaposition of East and West shows us how Western art influence had made its way to the predominantly Chinese Bukit Brown Cemetery, even in the early 20th century.
western influences
This Sikh guard, along with the adorable dog at his feet, is definitely 1 of the most photographed statue in Bukit Brown Cemetery. Back in the days where Singapore was still under the colonial rule, many of the Sikhs were employed either as policemen or security guards. In fact, many wealthy Chinese businessmen also entrusted their family’s security to their Sikh bodyguards. Hence, it is not a surprise that they would also erect statues of these Sikh guards at their graves, to protect them even in the after-life.

Click here¬†if you’re interested to learn about these guard statues in Bukit Brown.


. street art in melbourne .

Despite my relatively short stay in Melbourne, I had the privilege to discover and see for myself some of the most interesting and vibrant street art that I have ever seen. Well, coming from a country that considers graffiti as a form of vandalism (risk facing a mandatory canning, a fine or even a jail term!), it’s not a surprise that our city is largely sanitized and that one has to head overseas to get a dose of inspiring street art.

Melbourne, a city known for its¬†burgeoning art scene and movement, celebrates and embraces all forms of urban art. There’s always an avenue for budding artists to unleash their potential and express their artistic creativity on the empty walls that surrounds the city. I must say that it was quite an excitement to walk around the trawling lane ways and alleys of the city, only to stumble upon a wonderfully diverse range of artwork that literally took my breath away. I also had the humbling experience of witnessing a passionate street artist working on a large mural during my short visit at the iconic Hosier Lane and it opened my eyes to see how much effort and dedication is required to produce a piece of graffiti.

For anyone who’s considering a trip to the city, I would highly recommend that you take half a day off your itinerary to join a professional street artist on a tour that will take you to some of Melbourne’s hidden underground treasures.
melbourne street art tours

hosier lane 1
hosier lane 3
hosier lane 4
hosier lane 5
hosier lane 6
hosier lane 7
street art 1
street art 2
street art 4
street art 5

street art 7
street art 3
art 4
art 1
street art 6

. seeing the world through fisheye .

fisheye 1

fisheye 2
fisheye 4
fisheye 3