Media release: Art interventions connect Telok Ayer of yesteryear with the present

20 March 2020
Media Release

Four public art installations were unveiled today at Telok Ayer as part of a public arts project by LASALLE College of the Arts (‘LASALLE’), supported by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (‘URA’). Titled Rediscover: Telok Ayer, the artworks and complementary public programmes seek to bridge both historical and contemporary timelines of the heritage district. Through these works, audiences will be able to uncover new perspectives of the area.

With the waterfront as the anchor and notions of arrival and identity embedded deep in early settlers’ narratives, the four artists were inspired to create site-specific or community-inspired works that intervene with the neighbourhood’s part and present landscape. Shirley Soh’s piece focuses on the importance of dialects on identity and belonging, while Hazel Lim explores intimate stories of the Indian-Muslim community of Telok Ayer and the Nagore Dargah. 

Joining these established artists are LASALLE BA(Hons) Fine Arts students Sarah Lin and Dylan Chan. Sarah takes inspiration from mythology and history to create new, contemporary decorative motifs for the facades of shophouses, in spaces once occupied by elaborate decorations but have since become overlooked or forgotten. Dylan offers a rumination on transience and the passing of time and bodies in his work that passersby will encounter on their way to Ann Siang Hill.

Project managed by a team of BA(Hons) Arts Management students from LASALLE with support from URA, Rediscover: Telok Ayer provides aspiring arts programmers and managers with valuable on-the-ground experience in creating artistic interventions in an urban landscape while working with communities to draw on heritage and memory.

“Working with art in communities and historical districts poses specific challenges with its multiple stakeholders and narratives. It’s been a wonderful experience for all of us and we hope to be able to continue making more projects like this – ones that we hope will also be increasingly more collaborative and meaningful for the communities,” shared Sunitha Janamohanan, Lecturer, BA(Hons) Arts Management programme.

To deepen their engagement with Telok Ayer, members of the public can sign-up for a guided tour to discover community memories that influenced the installations or join in on a cultural mapping walk to unearth secrets hidden in the neighbourhood’s urban landscape. Also available is a workshop dedicated to Hokkien folk songs which teaches participants the link between language and identity whilst singing verses.

Details of the above can be found on Linktree, Facebook and Instagram. The four art installations will remain at Telok Ayer for six months, while the complementary programmes run from 20 March – 4 April 2020. Copies of the programme booklet are available on the above digital platforms.