With installations and pop-ups paying tribute to the roots and tongues of our ancestors

What makes a clan? Not so much ah bengs and parangs, as Channel 8 dramas will have you believe; but more kinship, unity and unshakeable ties. Coming your way this March is a new creative festival aspiring to shed light on this lesser-known history of Singapore clans, and celebrate the importance of affinity amongst community.

Happening Mar 8-10 as part of Singapore Design Week 2019, Street of Clans will be an installation-filled insight into the rich heritage of clan houses along Bukit Pasoh Road. Back in the day when Singapore was part of the Straits Settlement, clan associations were formed to help fellow immigrants in need—and it’s this sense of community that the festival hopes to highlight. Take a gander as the neighbourhood turns into an interactive pocket of installations and pop-ups—including a rare open house into existing clans today. The kaleidoscopic programme of activities and talks is sure to reignite the kampung spirit in all of us; here’s what you can expect.

Clan Open Doors

In this exclusive opportunity to see how clans today run, four of the street’s existing heritage clans will be opening their doors to invite you into their spaces. Inside, look out for interactive installations held in collaboration with local designers, which will highlight a particular story or value a clan holds in high regard. See collaborations between collectives Binary Style and Scene Shang with the Tung On Wui Kun; Matthew Sia with the Gan clan; Ong Li Jie and Chin Kang; and To The Power Of with the Koh clan.

Tours around the neighbourhood

Your favourite establishments along Bukit Pasoh are joining in on the fun with exclusive promotions, tours and more free installations. Opt to join a guided tour through the history and evolution of early leaders like Tan Kah Kee, poke around members’ club Straits Clan, explore the Gan clan’s heritage centre; or just kick back with custom-created cocktails at the pop-up bars.

Hands-on cultural workshops

Acquire cultural wisdom from the plethora of workshops and masterclasses held at the festival—from hand-building pottery sessions to an intimate tasting and plating session with Chef Malcolm Lee of Candlenut. Here’s your chance to sign up for a backstage pass into some of the Straits’ time-honoured arts.

Street Celebration

What better way to end off a festival than by taking the celebration to the streets? Expect live musical performances from the Zouk and Bandwagon artists, and live art sessions by Band of Doodlers, where you too can participate in the spectacle and draw alongside the brilliant illustrators.

For a rare peek into the heritage that has gotten us to where we are now, make a date with our local clans.

Street of Clans happens Mar 8, 5pm-10pm, and Mar 9-10, 11am-10pm on Bukit Pasoh Road. Admission is free and more information is available here.