THE Gallery Children’s Biennale, currently ongoing at the National Gallery Singapore suffers from a bit of a misnomer. It is not strictly for the children, as many tend to think it is. It is much, much more than that.
In terms of marketing, it’s a smart move. Parents will move heaven and earth for the development of their precious children.
And using art to lure people into a community dialogue is a smart way of raising awareness of issues.
With such exciting bait, it’s proven to be a good line to reel people in and expose them to more than children’s fare.
Visitors to the Biennale soon realise that among the dozen or so works, there is enough variety to engage a wide range of age groups and interests.
Many of the installations are deeper discussions into the psyche of society, exploring our past, our attitudes and thinking.
Some like teamLab’s Homogenizing And Transforming World may appear like fun as you slap on large balls and watch all the balls take on the same hue. But, as Takei Takuya, teamLab’s Asia Regional Director explains, everything is interlinked and one action can cause a reaction.
Being Yourself by Chng Seok Tin features woodcuts that serve an interactive role in being creative. By tracing the images on paper, you develop your own artwork that goes home with you.
Art does not have to be watched from afar and remain out of touch.
Mark Justiniani’s Firewalk: A Bridge Of Embers excites or horrifies those who love or loathe heights. His glass bridge shows the origins and ends of structures, and in between he has placed items that reflect the stages of the process. Using mirrors to deliver a sense of depth to the installation, those who are comfortable walking across this will enjoy the sense of heightened anticipation.
Vincent Leow reflects on a past that has flown, in From Rochor To Kallang, a statement about a lifestyle that is lost and places that continue to be torn down in the name of progress.
Art Of Value
As a country that tries to reinvent itself to keep pace with changes, Singapore finds itself pursuing dreams and tries to catch future trends. This is becoming increasingly challenging as the pace has shifted and imagination becomes an asset of invaluable coin.
Perhaps soft culture like the arts will help define a new area of growth. In this instance, the National Gallery Singapore and other art venues strives to educate the community about where we have come from and could play a big part in where we are bound for. It’s now a matter of getting the public interested in the process.
It’s a bit like the Obliteration Room, which starts off white and as people come through sticking dots on the walls, chairs and anywhere in the room, takes on a new look and atmosphere as the community helps form the art work.
The Obliteration Room is a prelude to Yayoi Kusama’s major exhibition, Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow, which runs from 9 June to 3 September. Her fame is international, ranging from a room full of pumpkins to Louis Vuitton bags and a lot more between and beyond.
Kusama’s exhibition fits in within the run of the Gallery Children’s Biennale, which ends on 8 October, and marks a particularly busy period for the Gallery.
It will be interesting to see how the momentum can be maintained beyond this period and, more importantly, if it will help raise the value of art in our lives.