21 Mar 2015: Back after a one-year hiatus, Singapore’s only art walkabout, OH! Open House, has taken over the colourful neighbourhood of Joo Chiat this year. We don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t been on the tour yet, so we’ve decided to leave out the precise context of the works and what they’re about – but we did ask five of the artists to tell us some quirky things related to them. So here we go, let your interest be piqued!
‘SS Nimby’ by Randy Chan, Fiona Tan & Zenas Deng
‘This project involved us knocking on the doors of residents in Joo Chiat asking them to lend us their most valuable possession – something that means a lot to them, or something that they’d bring with them if they were going to a desert island. One of the items we got was an earring from one of the migrant workers. When he left Bangladesh, he and his best friend each kept one of the earrings, so it took us quite a while to persuade him to take it off and let us borrow it. We’re very grateful,’ says Chan.
‘Crease’ by Mike HJ Chang and Mark Thia
‘Mark was sleeping in the hotel room the week prior to the opening day – he was pretty much living with the art works – and he had to uninstall the light box so he can sleep safely at night. He was very worried that the light box would fall and kill him,’ says Thia.
‘The lightbox was just above my pillow and head. It was heavy. I’m not sure I was worried about being killed, but I was worried about it falling onto my lovely head!’ added Chang.
‘Ordinary Things’ by Guo Yixiu
‘While I was arranging the flowers, Mrs Tan started to help me “beautify” them by adding wire leaves on them. She later shared that when she got married, she had actually made her own artificial flowers for her bouquet. That was so interesting seeing that we opt for the fresh ones now. I think there was a sincere enjoyment of craft work in the past,’ says Guo.
‘My Name is Joo Chiat’ by Hafiz Osman
‘I came up with the idea of making a tall bike because my girlfriend is taller than me. I told her the reason I’m making a tall bike is so that, for once, I’ll be taller than her. Another fun fact is that Andrzej [one of the owners of the home Hafiz did his residency at, and who helped him build the tall bike] claims that he’s the first person to ride on the first self-made tall bike in Singapore, as I needed a test dummy to try the ride after it was build. He is very brave! But I’m the first Asian man to ride it,’ says Hafiz.
‘Shauna’ by Sean Lee
‘I bought my first wig off a mannequin display for USD30. It had probably been left there for years,’ says Lee.
Check out and find out more about these works on the OH! Open House art tour, which is happening until 29 Mar.