Singapore Artists on a Rise
The erstwhile penal colony of Singapore has a flourishing music and art scene. Although the country boasts of having some of the finest restaurants and most modern hotels, its musical and art scene is thriving. A number of well-known local and foreign performers call this island nation the “Hollywood of Asia.” This is largely attributed to the existence of the Sentosa Island, which houses the country’s largest film industry. Enthusiasts of pop, rock, classical, and jazz will not be left disappointed by this flourishing scene. Here are some of Singapore’s finest entertainers:
Fatboy Slim and his partner-in-crime Kim Crayon are perhaps two of the biggest attractions in the Singaporean musical scene. While both men have released their first albums here, they have gone on to establish a reputation for crafting cutting-edge music that is distinctly urban and culturally unique. A number of their singles have become mainstream hits, and their music is highlighted in documentaries and other programming. A concert featuring Fatboy Slim and his bandmates was recently held at the prestigious Raffles Grand Hotel. Other live performances by Fatboy Slim can also be seen across the country.
The Singapore Arts Association (SAA) is an organization that promotes Singaporean arts. It sponsors many seminars and performances by local and international artists. The SAA has also launched the Singapore Art Tours initiative, which showcases the different artistic movements in the country. More than 100 local and international artists have participated in this program, which seeks to promote local artists and explore the depth and breadth of the diverse arts in Singapore. The result is a compilation of the finest works from the area.
The term “cultural activism” is used to describe the independent lifestyle and artistic expression of the Singaporean people, which can be traced back to the indigenous People’s Revolt inaffiliate with the British colonialists. In the 1950s, there was an upsurge in cultural activity, as the government encouraged open dialogue and encouraged social change. This was tempered with the presence of the People’s Action Party (PAP), which brought in a hard-line form of censorship and social restraint.
Singaporean artists are more fragmented than before. However, there has been some recent movement, with a few notable exceptions. For instance, the film-maker Lee Kwang-hee chose not to show some of his work during the exhibition Singapore Film Festival in 1998 because he felt it was subject to attack by conservative elements. But artist-researcher Ong Hock Soon followed suit and decided to display a part of one of his pieces at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Singapore. In both cases, public controversy prompted the artists to make further presentations, but these efforts largely failed.
In early October, a month-long art fair organized by local gallery directors and art collectors attracted some of the most prominent names in the country, including Ong Hock Soon, Wee Yean Een, Chee Soon Yin, and Lee Eun Joo. Prominent national and international artists came to the exhibition to present their work, which ranged from traditional rural arts and crafts to abstract expressions. The fair was the first exhibition of this type to be held in the country and attracted over a million visitors. The success of the exhibition paved the way for more similar events to be organized in the coming months.