Art – What is it really? There are many variations as to what it means but a quick search on Dictionary.com defines it as an expression of beauty and appeal that aesthetically exceeds the ordinary. Beauty may be a subjective and abstract idea, but what can be agreed upon is that beauty is a pursuit common to all. Lance Hosey claimed in his February 2013’s op-ed article for The New York Times, how people are instinctively attracted to beautiful things. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the recent developments in Singapore’s local art scene are attracting more visitors and tourists alike.
Singapore is re-defining itself as an art capital of the world. Testament to this is when the Arts House kicked off the inaugural exhibition of Da Vinci’s Earlier Mona Lisa painting in 2014 before it makes its circuit around the globe. With the support from the local government and policies that strive to augment the local art and culture scene, Singapore is proving itself to be a vibrant destination that appeals to art collectors, from seasoned connoisseurs to the casual visitor. Positioning itself as a premier arts destination in Asia, Singapore is pulling all the stops at canvassing the well-discerning millennial travellers, with its street art as an alternative way at discovering the city-state.
Additionally, past events such as the recently concluded Singapore Night Festival 2015 proved that the allure of art can bring the crowds, both locals and foreign travellers as they appreciate Singapore through art, creating a new buzz around the city. The annual festival brings forth installation art by local and foreign artists within the heart of this city, in its civic district where museums and local heritage sites converge. This pluralistic approach assaults the senses of the audience with its holistic mix of aesthetically pleasing modern avant-garde art with the everlasting identities of culture and heritage, packaged within the mysticism of the night.
Professor Tommy Koh, former chairperson at the National Heritage Board between 2002 and 2011, claimed that Singaporeans used to display apathy towards the art. This is beginning to change now, as he posited. Change seems to be the only constant in this city, and change is indeed beautiful in this case.
By Solyh Ahmad, ASEAN Correspondent from Singapore