11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event

There’s absolutely no reason to think that Singapore’s art scene has left much to be desired, especially with so many exhibitions, musicals and stage performances happening at once, and the upcoming (and always controversial) M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.

And then there’s Singapore Art Week; a joint initiative by National Arts Council (NAC), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) where Singapore’s art circuit goes on acid; figuratively, of course. Returning on Jan 17-28 for its sixth edition, the 12-day affair will see a full spectrum of art experiences including first-to-launch exhibitions, festivals, art fairs and more, proving that Singapore can also be world class in the arts.

That said, we’ve whittled down the program and there are a few that we’re even pretty excited to check out ourselves.

5 Rehearsals for a Wedding by Kray Chen

, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
Photo credit: Kray Chen

Just how much do you know about the cultural, social and collective expectations of a traditional Chinese wedding? Visual artist and 2018 Young Artist Award recipient Kray Chen takes that perceived knowledge and puts a twist on the usual rituals, to shine a light on the anxieties and behaviors that come with weddings of today.

When: Jan 17-31

Where: Objectifs: Centre for Photography and Film

How much: Free

Aliwal Urban Art Festival

, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
Aliwal Urban Arts Centre

Just as the title suggests, this cool art festival celebrates Singapore’s underground. Check out an eclectic showcase of works inspired by international street culture, from graffiti and graphic art to skateboarders showing off their prowess and b-boys and flygirls breaking it down on Aliwal Street. Urban art collective RSCLS and interactive visual artist Ryf Zaini will also be debuting their collaborative installation.

When: Jan 20, 5-11pm

Where: Aliwal Arts Centre

How much: Free

ArtWalk Little India

, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
Kanmani, Melissa Quek x Tinu Verghis, 2017. Photo credit: Singapore Tourism Board

The fourth edition of ArtWalk Little India will see long-lost tales and urban myths of the area through colorful murals, over-the-top public art installations and free performances by local artists and performers such as master storyteller Kamini Ramachandran, self-taught aerosol painter Shah Rizzal, artist duo Sobandwine, musical fusion band Lotus Collab, Indian theater company Ravindran Drama Group and more.

When: Jan 18-27 (Thu-Sat), 6-9pm

Where: Various locations in Little India

How much: Free

Art from the Streets

, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
“Obama Vote Poster” by Shepard Fairey (a.k.a. Obey), 2012. Photo credit: Fairey, and Magda Danysz Gallery

For street art to flourish in Singapore, artists need to be commissioned by stat boards or museums, or face the wrath of our Vandalism Act (because unfortunately this is not our Grandfather’s Road). It’s a little more lax for other countries, which is why ArtScience Museum is bringing more than 200 works of on-site projects, paintings, installations, videos, archives and sketches from 50 renowned artists like Banksy and Stephard Fairey (a.k.a. founder of Obey Clothing) to outline 40 years of street art from its controversial beginnings as expressions of counterculture to its current standing as a major pillar of contemporary art.

When: Jan 13-Jun 3

Where: ArtScience Museum

How much: Ticketed (details to be announced soon)

Art Stage Singapore 2018

, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
Art Stage 2016. Photo credit: Art Stage

Whether you’re an actual art collector, or just an appreciator of fine art, Southeast Asia’s flagship art fair Art Stage Singapore is the place to be to check out the best of Asian contemporary art. Now in its eighth edition, the fair continues to be the shining platform to develop and bridge various art aficionados, collectors and artists in the region through dialogues, panel discussions, exclusive private collection previews, and more.

When: Jan 25-28

Where: Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre Level 1 Hall A-C

How much: Free


, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
“Endgame” by Nabilah Nordin, 2015. Photo credit: Chris Crocker

For those interested in how Gillman Barracks came to be Asia’s leading contemporary arts cluster, Disini is for you. This site-specific festival of programs, outdoor sculptures and murals by local, regional and international artists will showcase this former military barracks’ rich heritage. It’ll debut at Singapore Art Week x Art After Dark, and will go on till Sep.

When: Jan 26-Sep

Where: Gillman Barracks

How much: Free

Larger than Life: The Unspoken Histories of Jurong Neighbourhood

, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
Drive. Photo credit: National Arts Council

Oh Jurong; the highly misunderstood and overlooked heartland of Singapore. Unbeknownst to many, Jurong has a rich history that surpasses being the large-scale industrial area it was known for in the ’60s. This exhibition will share forgotten points in Jurong’s history in five interactive, site-specific art installations, along with guided tours, workshops and artist talks.

When: Now-Jan 2018

Where: Jurong East Central (Canopy @ J Link & open field beside Jurong Regional Library)

How much: Free

Light to Night Festival 2018: Colour Sensations

, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
Light to Night Festival 2017. Photo credit: National Gallery Singapore

After a successful first run last year, the dazzling Light to Night Festival returns to the Civic District to wow audiences once again. Similar to last year’s program, the festival will offer a visual spectacle on the Gallery’s facade, a Festival Food Street (line-up to be confirmed), music performances, and a variety of installations that will explore the sensation of color.

When: Jan 19-28

Where: Various locations around the Civic District and Marina Bay

How much: Free

Progress: The Game of Leaders by Samantha Lo

, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
Progress: The Game of Leaders by Samantha Lo, 2017. Photo credit: Sarah Walker (Melbourne Festival)

Our favorite thought-provoking artist SKL0 is back, this time with a tongue-in-cheek, interactive sculpture resembling Jenga that questions Singaporeans’ roles in creating a first-world country, and whether we really have a say in what gets compromised to build the country’s foundational pieces.

When: Jan 22-28

Where: The Arts House

How much: Free

Singapore Art Week x Art After Dark

, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
Art After Dark, 2017. Photo credit: Gillman Barracks

Gillman Barracks comes alive after dusk with the return of the flagship edition of Art After Dark. The night-time open house will play host to an evening of live music, F&B pop-ups from revered establishments in Singapore, and of course new exhibitions and programs at the various galleries in Gillman Barracks.

When: Jan 26, 7pm till late

Where: Gillman Barracks

How much: Free

State of Motion 2018: Sejarahku

, 11 things to check out at next year’s annual blockbuster art event
Isi Neraka, 1960. Photo credit: 1960 Shaw Organisation

Asian Film Archive’s (AFA) annual flagship and visual art series is back for its third edition. This time, they’ll be exploring film as a medium of cultural and ideological changes of Singapore during 1955-1965, featuring 10 films that were produced in that decade such as Seniman Bujang Lapok (1961), Hang Tuah (1956) and Hang Jebat (1961). There’ll also be exhibitions, public art walks, panel discussions and guided film location tours to give a deeper perspective on the topic.

When: Jan 12-Feb 11

Where: National Library Building, Malay Heritage Centre, Former Studio of Shaw Malay Film Productions Ltd (12A Jalan Ampas) & Changi Point Ferry Terminal

How much: $15 (mainland), $12 (offshore)