A guide for the broke but artistically woke

Welcome back to reality; after a solid month of festive partying and reckless spending, we expect you’ll want to simmer down with some wholesome, hopefully free, activities. Enter Singapore Art Week to save the day—the island’s signature visual arts event is back for its seventh edition, happening Jan 19-27 all around the island. This year, expect the line-up to be significantly more accessible than before, with museums, galleries and art fairs pitching in with mainstream art offerings you don’t need an art history degree to appreciate. Before you go insane trying to cram it all into your calendar, we pulled out a few (free) highlights to bookmark.
 

Sim Lim Square Art Residency (Jan 7-27)


Ever wanted a peek into the lives of artists-at-work? A stone’s throw away from Lasalle College of the Arts, the infamous Sim Lim Square is playing host to a three-week residency for art and technology communities. The residency will host artists Johann Yamin (Singapore),Eom Jeongwon (South Korea), Ko Tzu-An (Taiwan) as well as Weixin Chong (Singapore), who recently won the Grand Prize at the 2018 President's Young Talents awards. Taking inspiration from the interactions between visitors and people who work in the building—ranging from mall tenants to repair technicians—the artists will produce works within the space, creating in turn an open studio, workshop and exhibition all wrapped in one.
 

Dance of a Humble Atheist (Jan 10-17)


Kicking off the 2019 programme for Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, video artist Toh Hun Ping’s debut solo show is set to bring stop-motion art to the next level. On exhibit is a single 17-minute film of wild experimental techniques—bleaching, scratching and recycling filmstrips, then incorporating actual ceramic pieces—that reflect on existence, death and the afterlife. An acid trip realised on film, perhaps?
 

Light to Night Festival 2019 (Jan 18-Feb 24)


Crowd favourite Light to Night returns for its third year, with a bumper six-week edition to span both Singapore Art Week and the Singapore Bicentennial in February. While the second half of the festival has been themed to honour Singapore’s histories, the first two weekends will see installations and programmes emphasising new perceptions of art via the five senses. At various locations around the Civic District, look out for the return of projection mapping show Art Skins on Monuments—along with new commissions like a self-explanatory Sensorial Trail and the site-specific audio and environmental installation Under the Five Trees, which brings together 14 literary and sound artists including writers Boey Kim Cheng and Amanda Lee Koe.
 

Home(work) (Jan 19-27)


2018 was a year of interrogating domestic labour through art (from our very own Wild Rice’s Supervision to Alfonso Cuaron’s award-winning Roma); and the conversation continues well into 2019. Happening at the National Design Centre, a community-centric installation will examine local issues of domesticity and labour, through mediums ranging from sculpture to drawing. Expect to see everyday household objects turned into art objects, subverting notions of the domestic space to open a new artistic perspective on the issue of work within the home environment.
 

Art x Tech for Good (Jan 19-27)


In a happy collision of art and technology, 13 students from Lasalle’s Broadcast Media, Fine Arts and Music programmes created new media over the course of four months, using hardware ranging from HTC’s virtual reality systems to MacBook Pros and Google’s Tilt Brush. This month, they’ll be presenting their works at a special immersive exhibition in partnership with The MeshMinds Foundation, spotlighting sustainability through VR painting, 360° films and 3D printing.
 

Of Other Places (Jan 19-Feb 3)


Miss the old National Library, the Quarry and even now-disappeared Singapore coastal lines? Head down to The Substation, where a new interdisciplinary exhibition will address the evolution of public places in Singapore. Through interactive installations, paintings, videos, photographs and sound works, the group of entirely Singaporean and Singapore-based artists hopes to explore the relationship between people and places in Singapore.
 

ArtWalk Little India (Jan 18-Feb 2)


You can take a little trip around Singapore town—specifically the Little India precinct, as ArtWalk Little India returns for its fifth edition. Get your cameras ready for the stunning wall murals, exhibitions and performances created to the theme of “Image and Sound of Fragrance”, as you imbibe, at your own pace, the rich culture of the heritage district.


State of Motion (Jan 18-Feb 24)


Another big trend in the arts that’s surfaced in the past year is greater interest in Asian horror. Zoning right in on that is the Asian Film Archive, with the 2019 edition of their annual State of Motion film programme. Comprising artworks, film screenings, panel discussions, exhibitions and even tours, A Fear of Monsters will explore the parallel histories and connections between Southeast Asian horror film and Southeast Asian contemporary art. Tours are ticketed
 

Art After Dark (Jan 25)


Closing the week of art events is another edition of the ever-popular Art After Dark, Gillman Barracks’ massive night-time open house party. As per protocol, all the new and ongoing exhibitions at the galleries onsite will be open to the public; up until the evening, when the arts enclave turns into a full-blown party with booze, eats, pop-up stores and music.


Singapore Art Week 2019 will take place Jan 19-27 at various locations. The full line-up and more information here.