Sunday, 1 April 2012

Singapore Arts Festival 2012: Our Lost Poems (18 May - 27 June)

Hear ye, all ye Singaporeans! Around this time of the year is when the Singapore Arts Festival takes place. You already knew that, or have at least heard of it before, I suppose. Or maybe not. For the uninitiated and the non-Singaporeans, it's a yearly local festival that celebrates the arts in all forms - music, dance, film, visual art etc. - and takes place around the middle of the year when school vacations start getting underway. Festival performances are conducted by both local and foreign arts groups, and have been specially curated for the festival. The theme of this year's festival is "Our Lost Poems". Below is a short description of the theme, taken from the Singapore Arts Festival website:

The Singapore Arts Festival 2012 completes the trilogy we started two editions ago: Between You and Me (2010), I Want to Remember (2011), Our Lost Poems (2012).
Our Lost Poems looks at myths, legends, wandering thoughts, reflections, lost riddles and hidden stories. It is a discovery of tales and aspirations that need to be told and retold. Stories that inspire us, legends that have deep cultural roots, and riddles that reveal the secrets of the world. This coming Festival finds us at a crossroad, waiting to reaffirm our sense of place in time as we uncover refreshing facets of ourselves:
Something ancient.
Something lost.
Something hidden.
Something new.

Sounds quite interesting, doesn't it? I found this year's theme rather apt given Singapore's youthful cultural heritage that blends both old and new, mythology and material progress, into the country we now live in. Having signed up for Arts Club membership, I recently received a few pleasant surprises in my mailbox that reminded me of my wonderful experience at last year's Arts Fest. The Singapore Arts Festival 2011 was themed "I Want to Remember", and I certainly remember the many unforgettable performances that I attended, especially InternalA Game of You and Immigrants. I would have done reviews on these excellent performances myself if I had the time. Unfortunately, life caught up with me, and I'm reduced to linking you to another reviewer's meticulous and articulate reviews. I also have an especially vivid memory of the 2010 Arts Fest because I was working at the National Arts Council in the post of Temporary Officer (Corporate Communications - Singapore Arts Festival 2010). It was 3-month long whirl of coordinating events and dealing with foreign and local media, but I managed to attend quite a number of good performances, including Carnival of Animals, dance/film, Atsuhiro Ito's unique optron performance and a few location-based shows like the Fire Garden at the Esplanade. It was really quite a treat.

This year, I hadn't really thought of attending any of the Arts Fest shows because I hadn't received any Arts Fest brochures in the mail to remind me of the upcoming events. That was remedied with the arrival of this...

This year's Arts Fest team has really paid attention to detail! The aesthetically pleasing envelope with its black and white printed designs and quirky captions is a nice touch to the advertisements you usually receive. "The Poetic Times" broadsheet included was a pleasant teaser that suggested the programme outlines, relayed in a jaunty, tongue-in-cheek manner complete with pictures and trivia.

If that didn't do enough to pique your interest, check out what came in the mail a few days later after the jump!

A postcard I wrote during last year's festival

I had completely forgotten about the postcard I had written at the Singapore Arts Festival 2011 - they had promised it would be mailed back to me a year later. Sure enough, they did mail the postcard back to me, and I chuckled a little as I saw what I had written. Brings back some memories, it does...

Before I slip into another of those reveries, let's get back to the present. The Festival Guide, a snazzy yellow and black information guide, was also included in the envelope. In the guide you can expect to find programme information, an events calendar, ticketing information and the location map all laid out clearly for your perusal.

One of the more interesting programmes in the booklet!

I sure hope that has piqued your interest! If you're not an Arts Club member (meaning that you didn't get these delightful Arts Fest paraphernalia in the mail) and can't seem to find a hard copy of the Festival Guide to flip through, you can check out the Singapore Arts Festival 2012 website. It's where you can download a soft copy of the Festival Guide, keep track of the latest happenings and find out everything else you want to know about the Singapore Arts Festival 2012 and its organisers!

I haven't quite decided if I'm going to any of the ticketed shows yet, though I would probably try to make a few free ones. It's great that more and more Singaporeans are participating in arts and cultural activities, and participating in the Singapore Arts Festival in whatever capacity you can is a great way of immersing yourself in living, breathing art. Having been to the Singapore Arts Festival 2010 and 2011, both as a part of the organising team and as a member of the public, I can attest to the quality and enjoyability of the performances, and I encourage all Singaporeans to take the chance to participate in the Singapore Arts Festival 2012. Who says Art is only about stale old artefacts and paintings that are hundreds of years old? Nope, Art is alive and it's up to you to decide how you want to interact with it - you can start by attending the Singapore Arts Festival 2012 and finding out what works for you. The Singapore Arts Festival spans from 18 May to 27 June - that's more than a month to check out the programmes and schedule in a few performances to attend. Enjoy!

Rachel loves sharing about the beautiful things in life from different perspectives. She writes on beauty and lifestyle in Cherchez Beauté , and does more abstract stuff on Antelune . When she's not writing, she's playing with her dog Holly, doodling and reading fiction. You can follow her on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .