Time Out Singapore: ‘My Forest has no Name’

28 Dec 2015: Artist Donna Ong’s latest exhibition, ‘My Forest has no Name’, invites visitors to look at tropical rainforests from a different light

Donna Ong

Donna Ong

Stepping through the door, we immediately find ourselves surrounded by lush layers of leaves. A few parrots peer at us curiously, while a tiger and a leopard snuggle together on the far end. In the middle of it all, Donna Ong sits at her desk, carefully adding another layer onto the diorama that she’s working on. No, this is no forest – it’s the local artist’s studio, the (faux) flora and fauna all part of her upcoming exhibition, My Forest has No Name.

In it, Ong uses tropical rainforests to illustrate the gap between reality and representation: specifically, how Westerners of the 18th and 19th century painted the tropics with such fancy and exoticism. The forests depicted in paintings and sketches from that era – which were often created by artists who had never stepped foot in these places – were as accurate as North Korean propaganda. Think ferocious beasts among banana and palm trees, with half-naked natives lending credence to the half-baked notion of the ‘white man’s burden’.

The artist hopes that visitors to her show will be immersed in a romantic, imaginary world that she wishes really had existed. As a child, Ong would pore over the pages of The Jungle Book and The Faraway Tree, and dream up fantasies of forests and mountains. It’s a wanderlust that she wants to elicit – and she wants visitors to also question their own impressions, true or not, of the natural world.

‘I want people to look at the forest as a whole and from different angles,’ she explains. ‘Imagine a building with many windows. I want them to look at the interior of the building through different windows.’

The little diorama that she’s working on, which comprises cut-outs of various plants and animals from natural history books that are sandwiched between sheets of acrylic, forms the central part of the show. Several of them are placed within modified wooden lightboxes, which are dotted around a room filled with the leaves and animal figurines that greeted us.

‘Oh, I bought these from antique shops. Some of them are from Carousell,’ Ong giggles as she gestures towards her exotic porcelain menagerie. ‘When I went to collect these from people’s houses, sometimes the owners would ask me what I’m planning to do with them. I’d try to explain that I want to use them for an exhibition, but sometimes they don’t really get it.’

Besides the figurines, the other works on display include photographs of artificial rainforest landscapes that Ong found within hotels and botanic gardens around the world. There’s also a treasure chest filled with items like guns, bones and condoms – things that have been linked to the jungles in various newspaper articles that she collected – to expose the dark side of the woods, lest we miss the forest for the trees.

Time Out Singapore: ‘Pepper and Juno in a TV-less World’

Pepper & Juno

10 Nov 2015: It started, as many great things do, with a child’s tantrum. Juno Tay was six and bored at home – her mum, Pepper See, had been sleeping – when she acted up. But she wasn’t banished to the dunce corner. Instead, See gave her paint and a canvas: ‘I tasked her to surprise me with anything she paints, and I asked her to wake me up once she’s done, so I can surprise her back by adding something.’ Sure, it helps that See is an artist herself.

The day after completing the work, the duo received an offer to buy that piece, christened ‘Tantrum’. See and her daughter were on to something. And now, three years later, they’re putting together a show of their collaborations.

The works in Pepper and Juno in a TV-less World feature bright swathes of colour colliding with light-as-air characters, set against whimsical backdrops, that flesh out the connection between mother and daughter. ‘We don’t have a TV at home,’ says See. ‘Art is our lifestyle. Sometimes, when I don’t feel like taking Juno out, we just stay home to create.’

But what happens when the inevitable creative differences arise? Like the one time Tay painted her entire canvas in the colours of the rainbow – it was impossible for See to add anything of her own. ‘My favourite part is when mummy has no idea what to paint over my backgrounds,’ the nine-year-old chirps. ‘I do whatever I want. But sometimes, I’ll listen to mummy. Like when she tells me no more rainbow colours.’

With Tay’s exams just around the corner, however, their biggest challenge now is to find time to make art when Tay’s grandmother – ‘Juno’s schoolwork monitor’, as See puts it – isn’t looking. Don’t let their efforts don’t go to waste, and be sure to check out their heart-warming pieces at Artistry when you pop by this month.

Time Out Singapore: Chan Hampe Galleries’ Fifth Anniversary

Eugene Soh - Creation of Ah Dam

Eugene Soh’s ‘Creation of Ah Dam’

14 Aug 2015: In just five years, Chan Hampe Galleries has built a name for itself as a popular, exciting and successful art space. It regularly sells out at art fairs and the young local artists it represents are among the most sought-after both in Singapore and overseas. Now, with its reputation consolidated, the people behind the gallery want to do something different.

‘Money is important, of course, but nowadays everywhere you go, people are always flogging you something,’ says the gallery’s co-owner and director Benjamin Hampe. ‘I mean, what happened to just looking at art, y’know? There’s a real dearth of not-for-profit art spaces in Singapore, and we’d like to fill that gap.’

The opportunity to do so came up when Angie Chan and her husband Nick Davies – both co-owners, too – bought a home on Lorong 24A in Geylang. It’s no ordinary space: the beautifully renovated shophouse is part of development consultancy firm Pocket Project’s Shophouse Series.

The project paired seven local architects with eight shophouses from the ’20s. They were tasked with marrying the structures’ old world-charm with contemporary sensitivities. So Chan and Davies live upstairs, in a home filled with brightly coloured furniture and pieces of art adorning almost every surface, and they’ve ‘donated’ the ground floor to build a ‘gallery’, named Shophouse 5 after its unit number.

Stepping through the blue-grey front door, the first thing we notice is how quiet and enclosed the space is. Shophouse 5 is decidedly cosier than Chan Hampe Galleries, and Hampe tells us that’s precisely the idea: ‘We want this to be a space for quiet contemplation, an intimate place for people to get to know the art and the artists. We’re not looking for foot traffic here. It’s for those who are in the know. People should go and look for art, otherwise it’s not worth it!’

In order to further differentiate itself from Chan Hampe, Shophouse 5 is a place that Hampe hopes can host more controversy. ‘We’re not looking to offend people; this is not a platform to push any sort of political agenda. But we want the works to explore truths and discuss issues that should be talked about,’ he explains. He pauses, then adds with a grin: ‘Though, I’ve always told my artists that if they can get my gallery shut down, I’d be very proud!’

‘Not another SG50 show’

In celebration of Chan Hampe’s fifth anniversary and the opening of Shophouse 5, the two venues are holding a joint exhibition, Common Ground. The idea started when Hampe gave gallery director Samantha Segar a curatorial challenge: to put together a show that explores what binds – and divides – Singaporeans. It features 21 works by 16 artists that Chan Hampe has worked with in the past, but Hampe didn’t want this to be ‘another SG50 show’, as he puts it. ‘A nation’s story is made up of so many different stories. Some stories are of pain, or loss, or disagreements both politically and socially, but they’re all still real.’

Highlights include Eugene Soh’s ‘Creation of Ah Dam’ – a play on Michelangelo’s ‘The Creation of Adam’ – that Hampe describes as having ‘an immediate sense of humour and irreverence, but also has a lot of small, interesting socio-political elements’. Another is Alvin Ong’s oil painting, ‘Swee Chai’, which depicts Ang Swee Chai, a surgeon living in exile in London. ‘She’s an activist, although not a bitter one,’ Hampe says. ‘But still, this isn’t a work that will be collected by the National Gallery!’

The works on display, many of which are commissioned especially for this exhibition, are loosely divided by theme: the ones at Chan Hampe are mostly about the nation and identity, while those at Shophouse 5 are more concerned with universal topics such as nature. The works at Shophouse 5 can only be viewed on a by-appointment basis, although there will be an open house on August 15 and 16.

Although Common Ground is curated in-house, Hampe prefers to be hands-off with the projects at Shophouse 5. ‘There’s so much you can do with this space,’ he says. ‘I don’t want to have another commercial gallery.’

 

Time Out Singapore: ‘Breakfast at 8, Jungle at 9’

8 Jun 2015: Photographer Ernest Goh is about to take over Objectifs with a whole lotta dead creepy-crawlies

Breakfast8Jungle9

A couple of years ago, Ernest Goh came across a 1992 study that concluded people tend to better appreciate a present if it’s been gift-wrapped. As he mulled over the concept of packaging, it occurred to him that the myriad of flora and fauna we are surrounded by is, likewise, a kind of wrapping paper that helps to make our rocky planet more beautiful.

Once he struck upon that idea, he knew he had to explore it in more detail. And so, at the end of 2014, he published The Gift Book. It features 15 sheets of glossy wrapping paper, but instead of the generic patterns of polka dots or stripes, they are printed with specimens of creepy-crawlies and flowers found around Goh’s home, arranged in a tile-like pattern.

‘I wanted to expose people to these animals that will normally make them go “ew!”, and show them that they are actually very beautiful,’ he explains. ‘Hopefully, after seeing these photos, they won’t want to kill them anymore.’

Goh’s fascination with creatures goes back a long way, when he and his brother spent their childhood running around his grandmother’s kampong, catching fish and fighting spiders. When he partnered Panasonic on a project in the mid-noughties, he used his father’s collection of goldfish as the subject matter – and immediately fell in love with the art of capturing living creatures. He moved on from shooting fish to shooting snakes, orangutans, chickens and beetles. But now, he’s interested in dead animals.

It began two years ago, when he heard that the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum would be opening. He approached the team, and was invited to create a 12m-long mural in the museum’s lobby. He spent four days taking photos of a whole bunch of mounted animals – all while the place was being built.

‘Shooting living animals is difficult because you want to capture their sense of life, but when you’re shooting dead animals, the challenge is to inject a sense of life into them by focusing on their colours, textures and other details,’ he explains. ‘People have a preconceived idea when they go to a natural history museum that it’s filled with these old, dusty stuffed animals. Since that is what they’re going to be seeing, I didn’t want my mural to reinforce that idea. Instead, I want to present them in a different way.’

And so he decided to revisit the geometric patterns he used in The Gift Book. The resulting work, titled ‘Breakfast at 8, Jungle at 9’, is a kaleidoscopic map of concentric circles showcasing the museum’s collection. This month, 16 prints from both The Gift Book and ‘Breakfast at 8, Jungle at 9’ are displayed at Objectifs’ new gallery space. But rather than just exhibiting the prints, Goh’s not done toying with the idea of gift-wrapping yet.

When we met, he’d just gotten off the phone with his supplier. ‘Supplier for what?’ we ask. ‘Stickers,’ he replies. His plan is to print hundreds of stickers, each depicting one of the animals in his images. Visitors to the gallery will then be encouraged to stick them all over a selection of everyday objects, including a full-sized car. The point, of course, is to help us see both the objects and the animals they’re soon to be covered with in a different light, so we can learn to value both equally. The title of the piece is, appropriately, ‘Time to Wrap Up’.

Time Out Singapore: Survive an Art Show with the Kids

5 Jun 2015: We get some tips from Rachel Ng, the lead curator of ‘Imaginarium’ about helping kids tackle the world of art

Artwork: Chiang Yu Xiang

Artwork: Chiang Yu Xiang

1) ‘Use simple and accessible terms to communicate the key ideas behind the work. Imaginarium uses slightly shorter accompanying text, but most of the time, exhibitions aren’t tailored specially for children. Profound concepts and difficult language might be used in the captions, which can be difficult for them to understand. Bear in mind that their attention spans are much shorter, too. Parents can distil the core idea and share that in their own words.’

2) ‘Ask the children questions about the work. Setting up this casual conversation between parent and child is really impactful because it compels the child to think about the work and form his or her own response to it. This process of articulation aids the thinking process about art and, in time, helps shape the child’s individual tastes and judgment.’

3) ‘Ultimately, there is no one right or wrong interpretation, and that’s the most important thing to remember when explaining an artwork. Art appreciation is highly individual and subjective – that’s the beauty of it. It encourages and makes room for a diversity of opinions and reactions. Parents should definitely share their own opinions about the work aside from the caption explanation, so that the child’s encounter with art becomes a more personalised experience.’

Time Out Singapore: Claire Nouvian

3 Jun 2015: Claire Nouvian gives us five facts about the exhibition – ‘The Deep’

ClaireNouvian

1) Nouvian owes the inspiration of The Deep to: ‘Footage shot in the deep sea by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California in 2001,’ she says. ‘I dove into the abyss with both feet, driven by the immediate desire to break the news of these extraordinary discoveries to the public.’

2) The Deep began as a documentary film (2001) and a book (2006): ‘And then, I developed the concept of the exhibition over several years with the assistance of architects, graphic artists, aquarium developers and taxidermists, in order to present the deep sea in the best possible conditions.’

3) One of her most exciting discoveries is called the ‘red paper lantern medusa’: ‘I was on an oceanographic ship on the east coast of the US when we found it. We were completely puzzled because the animal can really shrivel, wrinkling down to peanut size – and then it opens up both ways and looks like an accordion, or a paper lantern.’

4) She wants to send the message that: ‘Just because [these creatures] are unseen, it means they get all the bad treatment. If you wake up in many places after a storm and go to the beach, you will find that it is literally covered with plastic bags. Imagine deep sea creatures trying to survive in that context, and then be targeted by fishermen with all types of destructive gear.’

5) The exhibition is her attempt to persuade the younger generation to protect the oceans: ‘It will take years of construction, effort, and initiatives both individual and public to prepare the ground for change. But I hope that my achievements and actions may eventually have an effect on the course of events, on laws and the status of conservation.’

Time Out Singapore: ‘After Utopia’

6 May 2015: The Singapore Art Museum’s new exhibition tackles the theme of utopia. We find out more from the co-curator

Artwork: 'Summit' (2009) by Shen Shaomin

Artwork: ‘Summit’ (2009) by Shen Shaomin

A wonderful place where the sun shines, food is plentiful and everyone is always happy. Plato wrote about it in The Republic back in 380 BC, and Sir Thomas More gave it a name in 1516: utopia.

By coining the term from the Greek words for ‘no place’ and ‘good place’, More concedes that utopia does not and cannot exist. Of course, it hasn’t stopped world leaders and politicians from trying. From the kibbutz in Israel to communities in the US, history is dotted with examples of these attempts. But just how successful are they? What happens when they fail? And what, really, does utopia even mean?

This is what the latest exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), called After Utopia, explores. The title, as co-curator Louis Ho tells us, ‘is a play on the word “after”, which can either mean what follows, or to chase what’s on the horizon’. The show tackles an ambitious and fascinating topic, but also gives the museum a chance to show off its permanent collection, some of which were recently acquired and displayed to the public for the first time.

The 20 works by artists from Asia are divided into four themes: ‘Other Edens’, which uses the garden as a symbol of paradise; ‘The City and Its Discontents’, which examines how dreams and good intentions give way to reality; ‘Legacies Left’, which looks at the legacies of various ideologies; and ‘The Way Within’, which delves into the realm of the spiritual.

One of the eye-catching pieces is Shannon Castleman’s photograph, ‘Jurong West Street 81’. No prizes for guessing where it was shot, but the artist created the image by filming residents from the opposite block (with their permission) as a way to bring back the kampong spirit. ‘She realised that even though we live in such close proximity to one another, we’re not close to the people next to us,’ Ho explains. ‘There are also dystopian connotations in the sense that it shows how we are all privy to one another’s lives, and how surveillance in the form of CCTVs is everywhere.’

On the other hand, Maryanto’s ‘Pandora’s Box’ – a site-specific charcoal and graphite drawing first conceived in 2013 and recreated on the walls of SAM – focuses on environmentalism. He is inspired by the landscape of his native Indonesia, where natural resources are often quickly stripped and the land around it turned into a wasteland. Depicting a grim, gritty, suffocating space, the piece is the very image of a dystopia.

It gets even darker. One of the most unsettling pieces is Chinese artist Shen Shaomin’s installation, ‘Summit’. The work presents the life-like bodies of late communist leaders Mao Zedong, Kim Jong-il, Ho Chi Minh and Lenin encased in glass coffins, while Fidel Castro rests on his deathbed with a pump installed to make it look as though he’s breathing. ‘This work is one that I find myself thinking hard about because I’m not entirely sure I agree with the statement that Shen seems to make,’ says Ho. ‘He believes that socialism/communism is dead, but I don’t. I believe that socialism exists in balance with capitalism, as two halves of an almost necessary balance.’

Ho also declares that he doesn’t even believe in the idea of utopia – at least, not in the sense of a physical space: ‘To me, it’s more about people. You know, home is where the heart is and all that. I think it’s more about connections, and the spiritual, personal space that exists inside us.’

Regardless of your views on utopia, politics and social issues, After Utopia promises to set you thinking. Who knows – you might even find your own idea of paradise there.

Time Out Singapore: ‘The Sew-Out Show: Kinetic Abstraction’

14 Apr 2015: Kevin Ou paints with light

Photo: art-management.com

Photo: art-management.com

‘I was holding the camera – set on long exposure – with one hand, right in the middle of Orchard Road during Christmas, and I was just jumping around like this,’ laughs Kevin Ou as he stands up and waves his arms around like a madman. ‘I had a few friends with me, and they were like, “This is getting embarrassing.” Passers-by were even trying to look into my viewfinder to try and see what sort of photos I was taking.’

The images, if they had managed to sneak a peek, are as trippy as they might have imagined. The festive lights are captured as long, thin and multi-coloured streaks mid-dance – like a screenshot of the iTunes visualiser. ‘I wanted to return to the roots of photography,’ he explains. ‘The word “photography” comes from the Greek words “phós” (light) and “graphis” (stylus). Together, the terms mean “drawing with light”, and I wanted to interpret that literally. Many people do this by moving the light source, but I thought it might be interesting to move both the lights and the camera.’

Entitled Kinetic Abstraction, the series was shot in Singapore, Hong Kong and Nepal, and takes a very different approach from that of Ou’s existing body of work: he specialises in commercial and portrait photography, often of A-list celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Emma Stone. ‘Most of my shoots are staged and carefully set up, so this is something I’m not used to at all,’ Ou admits.

The prints are shown at the second edition of The Sew-Out Show by tcc – The Gallery, and they’ll also take the form of cushion covers, bowties and other accessories. Visitors decide on an item, then use stencils to trace the outline of the accessories onto a section of the artwork. Local design collective The General Company will handcraft the products, whose prices range from $50 to $180.

‘I love photography and I love fashion, so this is a great way for the two media to combine and be made into something that’s completely yours,’ says Ou.

Time Out Singapore: Rachel Ng

1 Apr 2015: We find out how an upcoming exhibition, ‘Imaginarium’, introduces the weird and wonderful world of contemporary art to kids

Photo: Singapore Art Museum

Photo: Singapore Art Museum

Bringing children to a contemporary art exhibition may not, on paper, sound like the best idea from a parent’s point of view. What if they touch and break stuff? Or if they get bored and start howling for attention? Or, worse still, what if they mistake that funky sculpture for something edible and eat it?

Well, the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) wants to put those fears to rest. It’s encouraging parents to start fostering in their kids a love for the arts by creating an exhibition specifically with little ones in mind. Back for its fifth edition, Imaginarium features new works that children can have fun exploring. Rachel Ng, the lead curator of the exhibition and assistant curator of SAM, tells us more.

How do you ensure that the works are accessible to kids?

The accompanying text is slightly shorter and in simple language so that it’s more digestible for children. But we have steered clear from simplifying the concept of the work. Each caption is prefaced by a ‘big question’ to prompt the children to examine the larger issues the work raises and their own feelings about it.
I feel that the best way to foster an interest in art is if you can communicate the underlying intent of the artist and the message of the artwork – what is it trying to express, why was it made, and how does it then relate to you and the world you live in?

Was there ever a concern that child-friendly art would be perceived as lower quality?

There is the tendency to equate accessibility with lesser conceptual depth, and hence ‘lower quality’. This is a very limiting point of view, because without consideration for accessibility, you risk alienating certain audience members.
I believe that art is for everyone, and this goes to the heart of what Imaginarium is about: to let everyone discover what art can be, and the joy of that encounter. [In Imaginarium], there is a mix of established and emerging artists from a wide range of practices: photography, drawing, installation, mixed media and even conceptual.

Why should kids be exposed to contemporary art?

It deals with the way we live, the issues affecting society and the world at large, and our place in the world. It is a richly textured medium through which serious issues and questions can be raised to children. This is important for building a well-informed future generation.

How were the artists chosen?

We wanted a diversity of ideas and aesthetics to create a tiered experience for visitors. For example, there is a mix of contemplative and interactive, immersive works. We also selected a few emerging artists, as Imaginarium is a great platform to expose the public to newer, exciting forms of art.

Bringing children to a contemporary art exhibition may not, on paper, sound like the best idea from a parent’s point of view. What if they touch and break stuff? Or if they get bored and start howling for attention? Or, worse still, what if they mistake that funky sculpture for something edible and eat it?

Well, SAM wants to put those fears to rest. It’s encouraging parents to start fostering in their kids a love for the arts by creating an exhibition specifically with little ones in mind. Back for its fifth edition, Imaginarium features new works that children can have fun exploring. Rachel Ng, the lead curator of the exhibition and assistant curator of SAM, tells us more.

How do you ensure that the works are accessible to kids?

The accompanying text is slightly shorter and in simple language so that it’s more digestible for children. But we have steered clear from simplifying the concept of the work. Each caption is prefaced by a ‘big question’ to prompt the children to examine the larger issues the work raises and their own feelings about it.

I feel that the best way to foster an interest in art is if you can communicate the underlying intent of the artist and the message of the artwork – what is it trying to express, why was it made, and how does it then relate to you and the world you live in?

Was there ever a concern that child-friendly art would be perceived as lower quality?

There is the tendency to equate accessibility with lesser conceptual depth, and hence ‘lower quality’. This is a very limiting point of view, because without consideration for accessibility, you risk alienating certain audience members.

I believe that art is for everyone, and this goes to the heart of what Imaginarium is about: to let everyone discover what art can be, and the joy of that encounter. [In Imaginarium], there is a mix of established and emerging artists from a wide range of practices: photography, drawing, installation, mixed media and even conceptual.

Why should kids be exposed to contemporary art?

It deals with the way we live, the issues affecting society and the world at large, and our place in the world. It is a richly textured medium through which serious issues and questions can be raised to children. This is important for building a well-informed future generation.

How were the artists chosen?

We wanted a diversity of ideas and aesthetics to create a tiered experience for visitors. For example, there is a mix of contemplative and interactive, immersive works. We also selected a few emerging artists, as Imaginarium is a great platform to expose the public to newer, exciting forms of art.

Time Out Singapore: ‘Theatre Memories’

31 Mar 2015: The two ladies behind the Theatre Memories project tell Gwen Pew why now’s a good time to start documenting the shows on our stages

Actress Karen Tan getting her portrait taken.

Actress Karen Tan getting her portrait taken.

Singapore’s theatre scene is celebrating the nation’s golden jubilee in a big way, and many companies are putting on plays or adopting themes that have a particularly strong local flavour. In April alone, many of our most respected theatre practitioners are celebrated in Esplanade’s The Studios: fifty series. But what about the people who make the magic happen?

Well, they’re the reason that two UK-based Singaporeans are putting together a project called Theatre Memories, which applauds the hard work that people in the performing arts community have been putting in to light up our stages month after month. ‘I came up with the idea as I felt a personal urge to pay tribute to the people who have shaped the theatre scene here in such a short period of time,’ says Jennifer Lim, an actress and filmmaker.

At the heart of their project is a series of video interviews that the team conducted with 50 key players in the field, from big-name directors and actors to the best hair stylists and costume designers. Fifty, as the pair admits, is an arbitrary number, but it’s as good a start as any when they’re faced with such an enormous task. ‘It’s not an exhaustive list, but a representation of the industry right now,’ Lim is quick to point out. They started the project by coming up with a huge list of names, and then talked to other industry professionals to whittle it down to a more manageable number.

‘The performing arts are so transient and ephemeral, and things get lost so easily, so we’re hoping to keep their legacy alive through the memories of these 50 practitioners,’ explains Annie Jael Kwan, a producer and curator who’s collaborating with Lim on the project. By asking them a set of specific questions like what their first experience of theatre was, how they think the scene has changed since they first started off, and more light-hearted ones like how they would explain the Singapore stage to a Martian, Kwan and Lim ended up with hours of footage that not only present an overview of the theatre landscape, but some very personal stories, too.

What struck Lim most about the scene’s evolution is its gradual professionalization and the diversity of the types of local productions.

And Kwan strongly agrees, adding that ‘diversity’ can also be interpreted as cultural. ‘We interviewed T Nakulan, the managing director of the Ravindran Drama Group, and he told us about how Andy Pang directed their production of Pazhi. The show is in Tamil, and Pang doesn’t speak a word of it,’ she recalls. ‘But he just used a translated copy of the script and went with it. The funny thing is that he apparently started picking up some Tamil along the way!’

Theatre Memories is presented to the public through two main avenues: the edited footage is stored at the National Archives and accessible to anyone, but if you’re the more hands-on type, then head on over to their eponymous exhibition at The Arts House this month. Visitors will be taken on a journey through five sections of the building, including the box office and the Play Den, and, through props, given a sneak peek of life behind the bright lights of the stage.

Acknowledging that it can at times be difficult to pique people’s interest in the performing arts, Lim and Kwan are nonetheless confident that if they make the space intriguing, people will come. They’re convinced that the project is an important homage to where Singapore theatre now stands. ‘I hope that through Theatre Memories, we can throw off the shackles, stop thinking that we need to “catch up” to what the West is doing, and see that our works are just as good,’ adds Lim.