Last weekend Little E and I were delighted and privileged to attend the media preview and opening of “Imaginarium – A Voyage of Big Ideas” at Singapore Art Museum at 8Q via the invitation of Editor-in-Chief Irene Marx of Singapore Art Gallery Guide. An immersive and interactive exhibition specially curated for children and the young-at-heart, “Imaginarium – A Voyage of Big Ideas” is really for everyone and anyone with a head for ideas and a heart for adventure!
The first in a series of SAM exhibitions that celebrates Singapore’s Jubilee Year (SG50), Imaginarium is inspired by the crescent moon on the Singapore flag, symbolising a young nation on the rise and its capacity to dream big and think large.
Featuring a total of 7 emerging and established artists from Singapore and the region, the venue is beaming with interesting and captivating artworks and hands-on activities that offers creativity and inspiration in a fun-filled and conducive environment. Participating artists include Japanese artist Takashi Kuribayashi, Singapore artist Chiang Yu Xiang, Singapore collective Band of Doodlers, Singaporean artist Izziyana Suhaimi, Canadian-born, Singapore-based artist Vincent Twardzik, South Korean artist Jeeyoung Lee and Sri Lankan-born, Vietnam-based artist Kumkum Fernando.
Takashi Kuribayashi – Trees (2015 Mixed media installation)
This installation comprises of cut-up sections of different tree trunks and terrariums sealed in glass boxes, assembled together to form a new hybrid tree. Over time, these sealed terrariums and tree trunks will decay, which in turn will give life to new organisms and ecosystems, and each glass box will hold a tiny new world of its own. Through this, Kuribayashi brings to light our relationship with nature and our responsibility to protect it. The piece also raises questions on how we currently co-exist with nature and how this relationship will change in the future.
Takashi Kuribayashi is an established Japanese artist whose work focuses on the boundaries that separate human civilization from the natural world. He often creates large-scale installations or environments using natural materials like plants, earth, and water to deliver an experience of both sides of the human/natural boundary.
Chiang Yu Xiang – We Built this Estate! (2015 Mixed media installation)
Singapore’s landscape is constantly changing as new developments rise up, “We Built this Estate!” gives children the opportunity to imagine themselves as architects, builders and master-planners of their own make-believe city. Children love this installation as they ran around “building their own world and designing (and re-designing) their surroundings” using the giant Tetris-shaped housing blocks created to allow visitors to freely explore and discover how they could build towards a better tomorrow.
Chiang Yu Xiang is an emerging Singaporean artist who was featured in the 2014 Noise TAP exhibition held at SAM at 8Q. Having experimented with various mediums, his interest is in sewing, textiles and drawing vector graphics. He is a member of Band of Doodlers.
Band of Doodlers – Imagine-a-doodle (2015 Site illustration)
With illustrations sprawling across the walls and winding their way up the 4 levels of SAM at 8Q, this work brings to life a fantastical storytelling of Singapore’s folklore and an inventive vision of the future. Follow whimsical characters as they travel back in time and meet characters from various periods. Together, they take us through the legendary adventures of yesteryear and towards Singapore’s quest for a brighter future. As we journey through vividly animated scenes from Singapore’s past and present to future, a sense of the limitless possibilities of stories yet to be written, and told, abounds.
Little E was clearly engaged in the wall art as she pointed out interesting characters that she spotted among the busy illustrations. This artwork is also one of our favourites!
Band of Doodlers is a Singaporean doodling collective of over 150 artists passionate about drawing, doodling and illustration. Founded in 2013 by Mas Shafreen (Wanton Doodle), their mission is to rid the world of blank spaces by filling them with doodles and to promote co- creation through accessible art.
Izziyana Suhaimi – Let’s Make! Studio (2015 Embroidery)
For artist Izziyana Suhaimi, the age-old techniques of sewing and embroidery are meaningful and symbolic ways of enfolding time, movement (of the maker’s hand), and the creative essence of the maker. Her installation invites visitors to create small objects using textiles, which capture their thoughts about the future of the country. Over time, the artwork becomes a collective tapestry of dreams about and of our shared future. Many visitors enjoyed exploring the fiber arts (embroidery, weaving, etc.) and hand-making small objects from the myriad of materials provided. Little E was too young to contribute her part in creating the tapestry, so she buried herself into the NLB books that were displayed in the same room.
Izziyana Suhaimi is an emerging artist from Singapore. Her work collapses boundaries between traditional and popular cultures, often combining craft-based techniques with contemporary forms. She is drawn to the time-intensive nature of the handmade, in contrast to the prevalent culture of instant gratification and mass production.
Kumkum Fernando – Kiko’s Secrets (2015 Mixed media installation with sound)
Follow Kiko on a journey of discovery as the artist invites us to broaden our minds and enter the magical worlds hidden within 3 secret boxes and beyond.
Inspired by the wonder that children experience as they explore the world around them, the artist has sought to recreate these sensations for both young and old alike in his artwork.
Each box holds a world that is familiar yet unexpected, inviting visitors to touch, feel, seek and re-discover each world for themselves.
Little E was intrigued and drawn to the mysterious boxes like bees drawn to pollen. The artwork of this artist is certainly another favourite of ours! There went Little E calling out “egg” several times when she entered the box. =D
Kumkum Fernando is a Sri Lankan artist based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. With a background in advertising and having spent many years living abroad in Australia and Southeast Asia, Kumkum’s work has a strong and eclectic sense of aesthetics. His practice is driven by a passion for storytelling through art.
Jee young Lee – Dream House (2015 Mixed media installation)
Paying homage to our sometimes extravagant childhood wishes and desires, Dream House is a space for everyone to create a dream world where even all our wishes and aspirations, symbolised by the planting of the sweets, can be cultivated and come to life.
Over time, the work is gradually transformed into a garden in full bloom. Dream House is a space where our inner wishes and aspirations for the future can be projected, and made to flourish.
South Korean artist Jeeyoung Lee is known for intricate and otherworldly installations that she creates by hand, in her tiny studio of 3 x 6m. With exquisite attention to detail, she then photographs the installations as a form of self-portraiture. The fantastical settings she creates are born from her memories, dreams, and desires.
Vincent Twardzik Ching – Greenroom II: Interstellar Overdrive (2015 Bicycles, generators, LEDs and stereo equipment)
This artwork installation comes alive only through interaction between the artwork and the visitors e.g. when visitors cycle on stationary bicycles which are hooked up to various objects, such as a drum, a radio, a constellation of stars and text on the walls, where physical energy is transformed into electricity to generate light, sound and movement.
We are prompted to think of how our future cities might be powered, and how this might change our lives. As the title Greenroom II: Interstellar Overdrive suggests, we are reminded that within this universe, there are still infinite potential resources and ways of living, waiting to be discovered. This work addresses both the search for new energy sources and the need for collaboration towards a sustainable future.
Vincent Twardzik Ching is an artist and arts educator based in Singapore. His practice is driven by the belief that art can connect individuals to society and their inhabited environment. Colour, form and performative actions inform many of his artworks, inviting the viewer’s spontaneous participation.
The second floor of SAM at 8Q is the designated Imaginarium Moonroom, which is a space for exploration and learning. Through the Moonroom’s specially-tailored workshops and hands-on activities, children will begin their own journeys to experience and engage with art, and to cultivate a love of art-making.
Little E loves the Moonroom as well! It is timely that she has began to take a liking to drawing recently. Hence, while she was in the Moonroom, inspired by the illustrations she saw on the surrounding walls and tables, plus the plethora of multicoloured ink-pens and crayons available, Little E couldn’t help but kept murmuring “Draw” as she went about creating her own artwork by herself.
We would recommend parents to bring their children to this exhibition because we had so much fun! Although not all the artwork can be appreciated by all children of various ages, they are bound to find some that they can relate to, and enjoy the process of exploring, being inspired, creating, and having fun as it rouses curiosity, and takes them (and us grown-ups) into uncharted worlds!
Being a child-focused exhibition, Imaginarium: A Voyage of Big Ideas will certainly be an inspiring artistic encounter for children regardless of their age, because it offers a range of creative experiences and encourages expression. It can be so fun for children, but more importantly, we believe the experience that children have with art should be exciting and fun, which in turn will lead to enhancing their creativity, questioning, and sensory experience, which tickles their thinking process, and leads them to imagine the impossible.
Besides the 7 artworks presented, visitors can look forward to an all-round experience by participating in the following public programmes:
- Create your own terrariums
- Learn the fine craft of embroidery
- Create your own secret boxes taking inspiration from Fernando’s Kiko’s Secrets
- Watch film screenings for children
A roundtable discussion – The Art and Science of Imagination, will gather parents who are professionals and experts in their fields to discuss how imagination is a vital part of their working lives and how it inspires them to inspire others. With something for everyone to partake in, whether you are young or old, Imaginarium: A Voyage of Big Ideas promises to be a completely interactive and immersive experience.
The media preview and Grand Opening was held on Saturday, 14 March 2015, 12.30pm at SAM at 8Q, 8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535. The exhibition will continue running from now till 19 July 2015.