See them in a video campaign where they share their thoughts on the importance of the arts

The arts industry has faced plenty of challenges during the pandemic, not just with theatre closures and job losses, but also with questions about its relevance—remember The Sunday Times’ survey that concluded artists are non-essential?

Hoping to kick-start a conversation to examine what the arts means in our lives is the “One Million Towards Utopia” movement. 

Spearheaded by arts charity Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise, the movement brings together four popular and award-winning Singapore artistes—Aisyah Aziz, Joanna Dong, Charlie Lim and ShiGGa Shay. 


All are featured in a video campaign where they share their thoughts about why the arts is important to them and to Singaporeans in general, and their views on what the concept of Utopia means to them and their work. 

What is Utopia?
Utopia is a Singapore-inspired choral symphony composed by eminent Russian composer Vladimir Martynov and recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra on its LPO label in 2019 and released globally on 13 Nov 2020. 

It was conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, and featured Singaporean violinist Jun Hong Loh as solo and the London Philharmonic Choir. The symphony was first commissioned by the Foundation's director Michael Tay in 2004 when he was the Ambassador from the Republic of Singapore to the Russian Federation.

With the “One Million Towards Utopia” movement, the Foundation hopes it’ll bring together a local and international collective of musicians, artists, painters, businesses, community groups and everyday people to rethink how the arts—as a creative impulse—can make life better.

New and inspiring 
In addition to the videos, the artistes have also been commissioned to reimagine Singapore-inspired symphony in their own styles that will culminate in four singles this year.

“I think it is important to talk about the arts, and how important it is to the ordinary Singaporean—that is something we overlook a lot,” says singer-songwriter Charlie Lim.


Hip hop artist ShiGGa Shay notes that conversations around the arts might lead to insights or questions that have not been brought to the surface yet. “Creating a song and sharing it with people, seeing how they react—this fulfilment is irreplaceable and something money cannot buy.”

The first two videos can be viewed here (the first was released on YouTube on Feb 19). Subsequent videos will be released fortnightly.

More information on the Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise is available here.