Singapore Tourism Board and St+art India Foundation (St+art) recently joined hands to unveil a collaborative mural as part of Singapore Art Week. The virtually-created artwork, dubbed as the city-state’s tallest, aims at celebrating the countries’ collective passion for art, and paints hope for a brighter future. By Bayar Jain
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In an official statement, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) reveals that the statutory body has partnered with St+art India Foundation (St+art) to unveil a collaborative artwork in Little India, Singapore. Titled Dancing in Unison, this mural—considered the city-state’s tallest—is created by Indian Gond artist, Bhajju Shyam, and Singaporean artist, Sam Lo. Notably, the piece has been created virtually due to COVID-19-induced cross-border restrictions.
Seen as a symbolic union of new and old—wherein India symbolises the latter as the nation is known to house some of the world’s oldest cultures—the traditional and contemporary visions also come together under a discourse around nature to signify what links us all together. The mural also taps on the idea that humans’ ‘dance’ between urban living and nature. The tree—a signature element of Gond art—expands on the urban environment of human dwelling (personified by the windows of the building), while the vibrant sparrows on the tree—a recurring element of Lo’s works—symbolises freedom. Lo’s deer—a revered animal in India, and thus, a tribute to Gond art—signify the blending of the two cultures in a globalised and accessible world. The red ribbon reminds of omnipresent energy that connects humankind.
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Displayed on a wall of the seven-storeyed Broadway Hotel in Singapore’s Little India, Dancing in Unison is one of the key highlights of Artwalk 2021. The issued statement notes that this cross-border effort resonates with the public art festival’s theme, ‘In Spite Of’, where artists have overcome limitations and geographical boundaries to come together to celebrate their passion for art.
Speaking about this union, GB Srithar, STB’s Regional Director of India, Middle East & South Asia says, “The limitations brought about by COVID-19 did not stop us from innovating, and showcasing a common passion for art. India and Singapore share many cultural similarities, and we want to use this opportunity to strengthen the emotional connection between both countries. As we start 2021, this wonderful artwork will bring a message of cross-cultural friendship and colours, and pique the interest of visitors to Little India.”
Giulia Ambrogi, curator and co-founder of St+art India Foundation adds, “The collaboration between Bhajju Shyam and Sam Lo is a timely reminder that, despite differences, we are all connected in inherent ways. It showcases the power in coexisting and breaking boundaries, and thus opens up new horizons to remind us of the healing and liberating power of art.”