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What's on at Singapore's first Civic District Outdoor Festival this weekend

Multimedia light shows, inflatable giant bunnies and more

By Amanda Chai | Aug 01, 2017

  • What's on at Singapore's first Civic District Outdoor Festival this weekend
    Bunnies on the Padang. Photo credit: INTRUDE CLASSICS by Amanda Parer

How often do you see seven-meter tall bunnies lounging casually on the Padang, frozen in time as their bodies emanate light from within? Not too often; which is why the Civic District Outdoor Festival is one event not to be missed. Happening this weekend and the next (Aug 4-5 & 11-12), the festival is a series of immersive art installations, live performances, and an art market and food street rolled into one. For a cohesive touch, the creative theme "When Time Stood Still" ties everything neatly together.

The Civic District, which incorporates the buildings, memorials and parks of historical interest in Singapore, sets the backdrop for the inaugural event, over which carefully curated exhibitions will be showcased—extending the art experience beyond just the walls of these classic institutions. Organized by the folks over at the National Gallery Singapore, the festival will feature six program zones across outdoor and indoor spaces, with participating institutions like The Arts House and Victoria Theatre extending their opening hours for programs to run till late.

Here’s what you can expect.

The district comes alive with Singapore’s largest outdoor multimedia installation

The star program of the festival, an outdoor Projection Trail will map multimedia projections onto four heritage buildings for the first time, in a poetic exploration of the festival’s theme. Follow the trail as it tells the story of Hemera’s Dream, a visually stunning adventure where Hemera and her brother race against time to save their city—starting from the National Gallery façade and ending at The Arts House. Be sure to check the various timings and locations for when each piece of the story will screen.

Frolic with giant bunnies on the Padang

Photo credit: INTRUDE CLASSICS by Amanda Parer.

Enter the aforementioned bunnies—part of Australian artist Amanda Parer’s light installation Intrude scattered across the Padang. An exploration of the natural world and our role as humans within it, the large inflatable rabbits against the night-time landscape will surely evoke in you a sense of the ephemeral. Plus they’re cute to boot.

Explore a woolly time vortex

The Time Vortex is local artist Adeline Loo’s response to the festival theme. Loo’s knitted vortex, her version of a time tunnel, encourages viewers to explore the notion of time-stopping, in a cheeky reference to the central storyline of Hemera’s Dream. Check out her installation at The Arts House any day from Aug 4-12.

Picnic with the Padang bunnies

Expect a spread at Hemera's Feast food street. Photo credit: National Gallery Singapore.

A street of food booths will line St. Andrew’s Road on both weekends of the festival, where you can pick from savory and sweet vendors including Ninja Bowl, Coco Loco, &Sons and more. Once you’ve got your food, hop on over to the Padang to nab a mat for a scenic picnic with friends. Nothing like dining against the cityscape with a host of inflatable rabbits.

Treat yourself to handmade trinkets

Indulge in a little retail therapy and support local entrepreneurs these next two weekends. Aether’s Art Market at the Empress Lawn will bring together wares from some of Singapore’s most creative artists, craftmakers and independent labels; choose from handmade accessories to illustrations and even scented candles.

Support local tunes till late

From 6pm till midnight each weekend, get your groove on with performances by homegrown musicians like Inch Chua, Joie Tan, Jack & Rai and Sara & Alvin (53A) at the National Gallery Singapore.


The Civic District Outdoor Festival is happening Aug 4-5, 11-12 from 5pm till midnight, at various locations around the Civic District. Admission is free, more information here.

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