Thrilled to do my part with fellow writers Zhou Decheng, Okky Madasari and Cho Dharman (and Minister Josephine Teo too) to help launch the National Library Singapore's Read! Fest 2021, celebrating our national reading movement that started in 2016.
This year's edition of Read! Fest has the theme "Reboot". When asked what "Reboot" means to me, I offered my view that it is a timely opportunity to nurture our 'offline self' by reading a good book. To Indonesian pengarang Okky Madasari, "Reboot" means "to pause, to come back again, start afresh with more clarity". Sinophone poet Zhou Decheng says it is a reminder "to return where we came from and gives us courage to venture". Sahitya Akademi awardee Cho Dharman said simply and wisely, "start living a life in harmony with nature, and everything will be possible".
Read! Fest 2021 is anchored by 12 key books and topics, and hosts more than 60 programmes. Check it out here and jump right in:
Honoured to have been invited to present and share perspectives at 'Landscapes Lost and Found: 1990-2010' -- one of five panels at the Nanyang Technological University's Singapore Literature Symposium 2021. This panel had a stated aim to "take stock of how a new generation of writers, growing up in newly-independent Singapore, was confronted by a changing landscape - altered beyond memory and recognition in tangible and intangible ways."
The other two panelists were Ann Ang and Alvin Pang (also moderator). In the symposium summary, NTU's A/P Cheryl Julia Lee (co-organiser) wrote:
"Our second panel consisting of Dr. Alvin Pang, Ann Ang, and Aaron Lee offered us a thought-provoking look into the HDB and the heartland as a contested space that both reinforces and resists the imperatives of national development. This tension within the space was discussed in terms of the Gothic, and its relationship to nostalgia. The panel also discussed the fraught relationship between nature and the urban, which is foregrounded in the image of Singapore as a Garden City, a City in a Garden, and a Biophilic City. Dr. Pang and Aaron also reflected on the process of putting together No Other City: The Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry, which attempts to capture the dynamic interplay between people and places caught in the throes of a new urban reality, wrought within one generation of independence. The anthology traced the development of the idea of the city as one determined by loss, to one involving coming to terms with the urban as a fact of life and not replacing the rural, to finally a new way of looking at the city in the 2000s as a thoroughly modern and urban space that does not begin from a sense of loss."
"Art is a framework, a kind of living trellis on which public dreaming can shape itself." - Elizabeth Janeway, novelist & critic
We are very pleased to see good press coverage these last few days in The Straits Times, 联合早报 and Berita Harian of the National Arts Council Singapore's most ambitious public art project to date.
"Rewritten: The World Ahead of Us" situates various installations of considerable size by Singapore artists along our island-wide coast-to-coast trail. The Public Art Trust's open call in June 2020 elicited proposals aplenty, from which 14 were selected, refined, commissioned and executed. "Rewritten" was facilitated and project-managed by the NAC. NParks as keeper of the grounds, was a genial partner in this tremendous endeavour.
The resulting artworks are very different from one another in aspect and sensibility. We've had the opportunity to visit a number of the artworks in situ, and every one invites you approach, pause and engage. Being large in scale, each installation tends to envelop you as you get close. And that's not a bad thing. One could see each stupendous artwork as an imaginative overture, a concrete polyseme, an Ithacan cave, a mirror of possibilities, an act of love, play or empathy -- even all of those things at once, or perhaps something else altogether.
You are invited to visit "Rewritten" and pay attention to your life, with eyes wide shut.
Plan your trip with this guide:
#rewritten #publicarttrustsg #publicartsg #nparksbuzz #laniakeaculture #freedombirdshope
We'd a really busy time last month setting up a new art installation for the island-wide Public Art Trust "Rewritten" Project. We can't wait to show it to you!
Artweek.sg says "A brand new commission by the Public Art Trust and its most ambitious ever, RE-WRITTEN presents 14 text-based public artworks by Singapore artists, some of which are inspired by local writers and literary works, contemplating the multitude of changes - from the minute to the tremendous - experienced in our daily lives since the onset of COVID-19."
Big thank you to the National Arts Council, NParks and L'atelier Studio for the partnership.
Watch this space! - Aaron & Namiko
#publicarttrust #rewritten #SGpoetry #sgart
Just arrived: a beautifully framed artwork (diptych of mimetic photographs) by Joshua Wong alongside a new poem titled "Waiting Room (11AM)" by yours truly. My poem is not about death per se, nor about Covid. Rather, it is a meditation on that singular moment of a sudden realisation of a loved one's untimely, imminent death. The emotional core of it stems from losing a friend S. to suicide in October 2020.
The Singapore writers involved in this project were affected in different ways by the Covid year, and each contributed different inspired and powerful poems to Joshua's project that explores the theme of objective x subjective time.
See the virtual exhibition at <https://pandemictime.org/> - there are 24 different artworks to choose from and to order if you wish. -Aaron
#laniakeaculture #pandemictime #loveinthetimeofcorona
Stoked to know that our latest bird postcards have flown into the hands (and hearts) of nearly 500 guest workers from India! Since May 2020, my faith community has been reaching out to the brothers in two dormitories in Kranji, in partnership with Hope Initiative Alliance. On a rainy afternoon last week my friends and I handwrote greetings to them on the bird postcards, and I tagged along when the goody bags (toiletries, snacks, masks and sanitizers, along with the greeting cards) were handed over. I mentioned that I had painted one bird a day during the circuit breaker period, and that these birds represent my feeling of wanting to fly freely but not being able to. One of the brothers, receiving the card, somberly said, "all of us, too". We encouraged them to keep up their spirits and that we looked forward to be able to hang out with them one day, soon. -Namiko
Will you join us in setting these Freedom Birds free, to bring hope from Singapore around the world? Details in the Google form
We're inviting you to participate in 'FREEDOM BIRDS HOPE' - a collaborative art project
2020 will go down in history as the year that put a hold on daily life around the world. Lock-downs, social distancing and the closure of borders repressed our natural wanderlust and restlessness. Our collective experience this year is like a cage full of birds -- grounded and earth-bound.
Laniakea Culture Collective conceived this art project for us to break out of our enforced isolation and disconnections, and to uplift others by sharing positivity and the hope that 2021 will be better. In these digital times, we also want to recover the vanishing tradition of physical correspondence, bearing personal expressions of love and affection across oceans.
This 8-week special postcards project needs up to 1,000 participants in Singapore, those with loved ones living far away (and especially if you have not been in touch with them recently). We warmly welcome you to find out more about the project and how you can be involved. Namiko and Aaron will happily tally and track the postcard destinations and share timely updates on our FB page Laniakea Culture Collective. Let us give wings to these "freedom birds" to take flight from our little island to every far-flung corner of the globe. Let's go!
xoxo, The Laniakea Culture Collective
Click here to fill up our google form and for details, payment and participation instructions
#freedombirdshope #artandpoetry #coastlands
FINAL re-print. Help me to help the kids in Banago Slum Bacolod Philippines have a great Christmas. All proceeds from sale minus printing cost goes to them through Fishes and Loaves ministry. Get them soon coz they disappear fast ! Sale on only until end-Nov. -Namiko
Posted @withregram • @sputnikfaithart We're back!!
Join us on Saturday 7th November 2-3pm GMT for Industry Notes #4, a deep dive into the world of fine art with an astounding international panel.
Award-winning artists Namiko Chan Takahashi (Singapore), Duncan Stewart (South Africa) and Jon Doran (UK) will be sharing their experiences and answering YOUR questions.. so bring your best ones!
Details and tickets available at Eventbrite!
Book Launch of "Love and Life at the Gallery" (online)
Featuring poems in all of Singapore’s national languages about artworks at the National Gallery Singapore, this anthology offers a multigenerational and multicultural exploration of the dimensions of love and life.
Showcasing the works of over 30 Singapore poets, including both new and established voices, "Love and Life at the Gallery" presents the rich imaginative possibilities that emerge when art and poetry are paired. The launch will feature an interview with the editors as well as readings by contributing poets.
30 Aug 2020 (Sun), 4:30-5.30 PM
Link to Peatix RSVP to the book launch event online (free of charge!): https://bit.ly/pfs2020live
PFS YouTube live-streaming link will be sent to registered attendees nearer to the 30 August book launch event.
Details about the launch are also available on Facebook:
Catch video readings by selected poets on the PFS YouTube channel from Friday 28 August 2020 onwards @ https://bit.ly/lovelifereadings
Link to purchase the book: https://lovelifepoems.peatix.com
#LLATG #poetryfestival #ngs #laniakeaculture