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Homecoming show for Singapore: Inside Out
IT'S taken a strange roundabout route, but Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) cutting-edge showcase of local arts, food, fashion and design is finally here. The Singapore: Inside Out showcase made its debut in Beijing in April. Subsequently, it travelled to London in June and New York in September. Altogether, it drew almost 50,000 visitors over a total period of 15 days in the three cities.
This Friday, the showcase makes its Singapore debut on Tan Quee Lan Street, directly opposite Bugis Junction. The area typically draws a broad spectrum of people from adventurous tourists and bargain hunters to ordinary Singapore families and young foodies. Tan Quee Lan Street was picked over other prime locations because of its "inclusive" quality, says the showcase's creative director Randy Chan. The exhibit is expected to draw more than 10,000 visitors over its 10-day period.
As in the other cities, the showcase has been housed in an eye-catching lattice of white scaffolding designed by Chan. It has 20 works within it, including a durational performance by Jason Lim, a edible art room by dessert chef Janice Wong, a dance performance by T.H.E. Dance Company and a sound installation by Zul Mahmod. There will be daily tours by actors who will play the creatives introducing their works.
The Singapore leg of the showcase, supported by the National Arts Council and the DesignSingapore Council, is special because it also includes a food component called Singapore Takeout. It features more than 10 local chefs serving up Singapore's favourite dishes with a twist.
Chefs Han Liguang of Restaurant Labyrinth and Wayne Liew of Keng Eng Kee Seafood will each prepare their own versions of chilli crab. Meanwhile, other chefs including Malcolm Lee of Candlenut and Yew Eng Tong of Ocean By Cat Cora will each re-interpret a few local dishes, such as laksa and beef rendang. The food stalls will be open on Dec 27-29 and Dec 4-6, from 6 pm to 10pm. The dishes are priced between S$2 and S$15.
Chan, who is an architect and artist, says: "The homecoming of Singapore: Inside Out is a very personal experience as we get to share this with our fellow Singaporeans. Some of works here also bring back a slice of the three cities they've been to."
For instance, street artist Speak Cryptic recreated his bedroom by drawing its features on white walls and inviting visitors to add different details to it. He is bringing part of the completed walls from each city to incorporate into the new bedroom that he has created for the Singapore leg.
Likewise, Lim's durational performance will continue from where it left off in the other three cities. The work, which deals with memory, loss and the passage of time, acquires additional resonance as it is performed in four different cities over four time periods.
Fashion designer Elyn Wong of the brand Stolen, whose clothes are worn by the T.H.E. Dance Company performers and showcased in a standalone room, accompanied Singapore: Inside Out on all its three previous stops.
She says: "In London and New York, I was asked many questions by the visitors about the thinking behind the concept of my designs. In Beijing, they were a lot more reserved.
"But one common reaction they all had was surprise - they were surprised that Singapore's creative sector is so progressive and cutting-edge. We are more forward than what they perceived us to be."
Besides the food component, the homecoming leg of Singapore: Inside Out also features more music performances, film screenings and discussions on Singapore's creative sector compared with its previous legs. Top bands The Observatory, Caracal and Tiramisu, singer-songwriter Charlie Lim and rapper TheLionCityBoy are among the musical acts that will play on different nights.
Meanwhile well-known figures from the film, design and music scene will engage in a public discussion on how to take Singapore's creative scene to the next level.
Singapore: Inside Out opens on Tan Quee Lan St on Friday.
For more information, visit singaporeinsideout.com/singapore