Photo credit: Sandra Tan Jia Ying
The Arts. What does this word elicit whenever it crosses your mind? Boring? Meaningless? Or according to a General Paper question – A luxury only the rich can afford?
You might have come across a survey titled “The Arts or Nah” whereby the Origin* sought to find out what were the general sentiments the school had towards the Arts. Wondering what the responses turned out like?
From 3 simple questions, the results turned out somewhat shocking. Judging from the responses of question 1 and 2, Eunoians seemed to hardly engage in Arts-related activities.
BUT here’s the catch. Although the response to the first two questions might cause one to jump to the conclusion that Eunoians have no concern for the Arts, the response to the third question dispels such notion. The reesponses reveal that majority of Eunoians believed that the Arts actually do improve their personal quality of life, telling us that Eunoians would attend Arts related events if not for the reasons hindering them in question 2.
Fear not! The Origin* presents solutions to deal with the top 3 problems hindering Eunoians from attending Arts events:
1. I’m way too busy! How does one even find time to dress up and attend fancy concerts that last 2-3 hours?
Do not stereotype Arts events as glitzy theatre productions with elaborate sets, luxurious venues and the need to dress up. We acknowledge that there are a good deal of Arts events that are of this nature, such as the recent American Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake. But in all honesty, the bulk of the Arts events in Singapore are informal in nature, held in an informal setting and last for a maximum of an hour. This gives you the freedom to pop by after school for a refreshing hour’s break before heading back to study.
“WHAT, that can’t be true!” Is this your response? Well let’s list some examples!
Check out the Esplanade Outdoor open theatre or the Esplanade Concourse for performances nearly every Friday night and the weekends. #TGIF! There is always something going on, whether it is the Hua Yi Chinese Festival that features Chinese dance and music, the Indian Festival of the Arts, or even a junior college/secondary school band!
If the Esplanade still seems too inconvenient, don’t forget Singapore’s first UNESCO world heritage site – the Botanical Gardens. Surrounded by a lily pond, the Shaw Foundation symphony stage is home to countless symphonic band performances, dance showcases and many many more! What’s more, Botanical Gardens MRT is merely a few stops away from Buona Vista MRT station (closest MRT station to EJC).
Lastly, if you happen to be patrolling the CBD area during the weekends, drop by the National Gallery Singapore, which is merely a stone’s throw from City Hall MRT Exit B. Apart from the eye-popping, jaw-dropping facade of British Colonial architecture, the National Gallery features classical music performances on their iconic Red Piano, as well as contemporary dances from various dance institutions around Singapore. What’s more? There are a couple of free Visual Arts exhibitions such as those sponsored by DBS, which feature works by renowned Artists Georgette Chen and Liu Kang. These Artists played a pivotal role in capturing snapshots of Singapore’s history during the colonial era when film and photography had yet to become a commonality.
2. I can’t afford anything! The tickets to concerts always cost more than $20!
Don’t get the wrong idea that all Arts events end up leaving a hole in your pocket. In fact, there are a ton of Arts events that are free-of-charge in Singapore. Take the Singapore International Festival of the Arts (SIFA) which occurs from the end of April to May as an example. Apart from all the glitzy stage productions, SIFA features free events such “Jacob Collier on Harmony and Groove”, “Deciphering the operatic Cadence of rhythm and Meter”, “Verses of Love and Life, Selected poems of Taha Muhammad Ali”, “Sky Kave Performances” and many more!
Aside from SIFA, here is a list of website links to source for Arts-related events:
3. I have no interest in the Arts at all
Do not feel bad. Treat this as an opportunity to open yourself to a new, unexplored world! Usually, people who claim they have no interest in the Arts are not anomalies of society, but rather have not had ample exposure to the beauty of the Arts.
Well you are in luck. EJC is holding our second Humanities and Aesthetics Week during the last week of April. Aside from supporting your friends in Arts-related groups, truly be in the moment and approach every performance/exhibition with an open mind.
If you are watching a dance performance, ask yourself: Why do the dancers choose to adopt certain facial expressions? How do they manage to move in sync? Is there any significance in the formations they adopt? How do they move to the beats of the music?
If you are listening to a music performance, ask yourself: Why do the musicians choose to play some parts at a louder volume and other parts at a softer volume? How do different musicians work together in an ensemble? What are the unique sonorities of each instrument that give it its unique sound?
If you are watching a drama performance, ask yourself: How does the stage set-up convey the mood of the setting? How do the actors convey the emotions of characters through inflections of their voice? How do the actors project their voices? How do they use stage props to enhance their performance?
If you are viewing a Visual Arts exhibition, ask yourself: What different brush strokes do the Artists use to bring across certain textures? Is Visual Arts solely restricted to drawing? What other mediums do Artists use? Where did the Artist get their inspiration from?
Above all, the big umbrella question you should be asking is: What is the larger message all the Art forms are trying to convey?
In a nutshell, all Art forms are a means of communicating feelings, thoughts, ideas through an abstract way where words cannot suffice. There is almost always something deeper behind every work of Art beyond its superficial facade of being a form of self-entertainment. It involves ploughing through one’s inner deep feelings It is the Artist’s job to bring his/her personal touch to their chosen Art form and this is precisely the reason why people come to enjoy engaging in the Arts.