Festivals Challenging Thought, Forcing Change

ART is really much more than just pretty pictures, intriguing plays, and captivating films.

In its very essence art intends to provoke — maybe a new thought or an outpouring of emotion, great action or even a shocking reaction. As such art, in its many forms, provides not only a lens through which to view the world at large but also a spark to create change.

Two arts festivals will play out in the coming months, each with its special thought-provoking messages of change.

The Singapore International Festival Of Arts (SIFA) is long-running in its desire to deliver new ideas to a nation that is perhaps running short on them. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a spark.

True Colours Festival for Artistes with Disabilities will bring to the fore an integral part of community that has for a long time been kept in the shadows. It’s their time to shine, to show off the light of creativity from within.

Redeafination, moves in synchronicity despite being made up of deaf performers.

Encouraging Inclusivity Through Art

INCLUSIVITY — giving everyone the opportunity to appreciate and participate in the arts will be theme of 2018’s True Colours Festival for Artistes with Disabilities.

Much like any other show, the festival will feature singing, dancing, music, and even a dash of theatre. But True Colours will feature regional performers who are either born with or have developed disabilities at some point in their lives.

Andrew Liew, Chairman of Very Special Arts Singapore, the charity organisation producing the four-day festival, says that True Colours intends to be more than just an arts festival to showcase the talents of the disabled. He hopes that it will act as a catalyst for society to act upon to improve the lives of those with disabilities.

“We hope that this interactive and thought-provoking festival will inspire and enthuse people to become part of the movement and become more involved in the disabled community.”

Tony Dee
Australian entertainer Tony Dee heads the line up of talent at True Colours.

The four-day festival, running from 22-25 March 2018, will feature a full-fledged ticketed concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, a conference, and fringe activities at the OCBC Square to offer experiential learning opportunities to visitors.

“We can have all the infrastructure, building regulations and funding programmes in place, but unless each of us changes our mindset about disability, we can’t really call ourselves an inclusive society. The arts have the power to change mindsets, and this festival aims to do just that,” adds Festival Director Audrey Perera.

The festival will play a key role in spreading the message of inclusivity in the arts, but, more importantly, in every segment of life and society.

True Colours will feature a host of local and international talents. Leading the line up is Australian entertainer and singer Tony Dee, who rose to fame during the 2016 Paralympics with the “We’re the Superhumans” video campaign.

Danial Bawthan
A capella beat-boxer Danial Bawthan brings local flavour to the festival.

A Capella beat-boxer and hip-hop producer Danial Bawthan will bring the local flavour with his groovy beats. They will be joined by hearing-impaired pianist Dr. Azariah Tan, deaf dance troupe Redeafination, visually impaired Malaysian band Caliph Buskers and many more in a still growing line-up.

True Colours
22-25 March 2018
Singapore Indoor Stadium

Germinal, Bea Borgers
Looking for new ways of conveying the message, Germinal.

Creating New Perspectives

If March 2018 is too long to wait, the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) will run from 28 June to 9 September, this year ready to bring you on an invigorating and experiential journey.

Becoming Graphic, Sonny Liew
Award-winning artist Sonny Liew with a new work for the stage, Becoming Graphic.

This year, SIFA, aims to pull the audience from the disillusionment of everyday Singaporean life with a healthy dose of enchantment. Experiencing art first hand, and even being part of its creation will be a major theme of this year’s festival.

Festival Director Ong Keng Sen, closes off his four-year stint with the intention of using art to introduce audiences to new realities, while finding ways to oppose cynicism in an age of global disenchantment.

“It is about ethical generosity…the works will explore how to remain engaged despite growing populist sentiments, excessive control, and how to stay connected to issues as we are faced with injustices around us,” he explains.

Ong hopes to spark new ways to rethink not only Singapore but also the world in the post-Trump and post-Brexit era; to explore enchantment in art and life and, more importantly, in the turbulent socio-political climate of the world.

Le Syndrome Ian, Marc Coudrais
Le Syndrome Ian captures the club scene, with the music of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis.

With a new participatory and co-creation edge, SIFA will open with Art as Res Publicae. This “public creation” will bring together public discussants, commentators, moderators, and an audience to discuss the value of art.

Taking the concept further, the festival also offers a chance to take a behind-the-scenes look at and be a part of director K. Rajagopal’s filmmaking process with Lizard on the Wall. O.P.E.N. Kitchens offers yet another participatory twist as it invites audience into homes to discover the stories of the various hosts as they cook with them.

Dragonflies, Crispian Chan
The climate-change disaster play Dragonflies.

If you prefer something a little more “traditional” SIFA also offers shows like Becoming Graphic from renowned comic artist Sonny Liew, French choreographer Christian Rizzo’s Le Syndrome Ian, Adrian Pang’s climate change disaster play Dragonflies and deconstructionist stage comedy Germinal.

Singapore International Festival of Arts & The O.P.E.N.
28 Jun – 9 Sep 2017
Various Locations

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