A Sign of the Times - From the Streets of Singapore, which exhibited as part of the Aliwal Urban Art Festival on 19 January 2019, brought together the works of over 40 creatives as - one might consider it so - proof of our thriving urban art scene.
This is the second volume of Kult’s From the Streets, a series of country-specific exhibitions. If ya remember, the first volume Pusakal happened in 2017 where we brought in graffiti and urban art from Manila, Visayas and Mindanao in the Philippines. This time, we shine our spotlight back on homeground, focusing on the urban community’s response to living in a state where rebellion is punishable by law.
We reached out to creatives with instructional signages that we often see on the streets. Alongside the metal street signs that we picked for their negative tone, we gave a short brief to our artists: to respond to living in a state that tells us what we cannot do.
On our part, we saw this as both an opportunity to highlight Singapore’s creative individuality as well as a social experiment. What would members of the urban community produce within the boundaries of our brief and medium? How would creators use this platform - to self-censor, or throw messages back out on the streets?
The artists, designers, performers, and new media artists who we handpicked all came through.
What d’ya think about a no-dab zone? Race Krehel created this piece titled ‘Clout Free Zone’. While keeping to the visual language of street signs, it brought in a slice of viral popular culture.
Kilas’ piece ‘Die or Skate’ draws very much from his distinctive art style - the instructional sign feels as if it has been completely, triumphantly, reclaimed by the streets.
Denise Yap brought a political edge to her ‘Only Straight’ sign, commenting on a topic that has been in heated public discussion recently.
During Aliwal Urban Art Festival, we mounted these signs and put ‘em up, guerilla style, in the car-park adjacent to Aliwal Arts Centre. Some were mounted on metal poles, while other works were displayed in a way that echoed their contents: for example, we acquired an O-bike on which we displayed Trase One’s O-Bike piece.
The theme of this year’s Aliwal Urban Art Festival was ‘On the Edge’, which echoed our exhibition’s themes perfectly. Given strict laws, street art is often perceived to be such a risky act. Yet here our urban street community stands strong on the edge, thriving vibrantly and with pride.