1.How do the people in the activity feel?(1 min)

I think the people in the activity are enjoying their time in the art gallery. There are two children barrelling/dashing around the place. They look quite boisterous. I would imagine they are making a huge din. The adults might be annoyed because they have to sidestep the running children, and they are disturbing the peace and quiet. In fact, the man in the dark shirt seems quite grim. However, on the whole I think they can overlook the minor disturbance and still enjoy their time.

The theme of the gallery I would guess, would be nature, as I can see from the paintings in the foreground, of birds and flowers. Certainly a mild theme. Such paintings can convey many messages and themes, and can be full of meaning. I think patrons will have a splendid time examining the artworks.

It also looks to be well lit and air conditioned so they will be quite comfortable. They seem to be transiting into a different section, so they are taking one last wistful look at the paintings and then moving on.

 

2.Are you interested in art? Why or why not?

YES

I am interested in art. I actually went to the National Gallery Singapore recently. One which I remember relatively clearly would be Yayoi Kusama’s Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow. My uncle took me, and it was quite the eye-opener. It was my first full-bodied foray into abstract art, rather different from what I usually frequent. I am more familiar with manga and comics, which typically have a story, or some form of theme, like coming-of-age stories for example. Abstract art throws that out the window.

Yayoi was exploring in her works concepts like colour, form and space. I remember she had some large room installations. In particular, there was one with the tulips. She installed a giant sculpture of a tulip and covered the room in colourful polka dots on a white background. Supposedly, it was about her concept of self-obliteration.

I think it is very profound, perhaps representative of us as individuals merging into society, or becoming engulfed and swallowed up by our environment. The interesting thing is, Yayoi also dealt with depression during a period of her life. Art is unique because it is a blank canvas for us to deal with emotions and irrationality, in a space which is unconstrained by words. It is a powerful tool for us to deal with grief, trauma and other issues which are pressing issues of today.

Right now, there are two exhibitions going on which I am interested in. After seeing Yayoi’s work, I’m quite eager to see what other artists have to show the world.

One exhibition is Colours of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay. From what I know of Impressionism, it’s an art style, or art movement rather characterised by ordinary, everyday subject matter and an emphasis on accurate depictions of movement and light. As an amateur artist I sketch people and landscapes, so I hope to gain some useful insights from the masters.

The other exhibition is on two regional artists, one from Indonesia and the other from the Philippines, so I want to see what they are up to.

 

YES(easier)
I am interested in art. Art has special meaning for me because of my cousin, Aaron, who is autistic. The two of us have never been close, but last year we took an art class together at the request of my aunt. While he is normally temperamental, I discovered a different side of him through his artwork. Instead of getting agitated, Aaron described his feelings on the canvas. The way he combines different mediums (oil, acrylic paints, watercolour) has also left me in awe at the way his mind works. The art class allowed us to get to know each other better.

Recently, we paid a visit to Yayoi Kusama’s Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow at the National Gallery Singapore. Aaron was very keen on going, as he is a fan of Yayoi’s polka dot motifs, because he likes the whimsical colours and patterns. He thoroughly enjoyed playing with the installation pieces.

This year, we are looking forward to two more exhibitions. Aaron seems to have his heart set on going to the one called Between Worlds: Raden Saleh and Juan Luna.  I think it will be quite interesting too. These artists are from around the region, so we will get to see a lot of cool Asian and Islamic influences on art.

 
NO

I am not interested in art. I actually attended an art gallery recently. I attended Yayoi Kusama’s Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow, and it was very unappealing. Abstract art deals with issues in an unstructured fashion, which makes me uncomfortable. I fear no man. But what I saw there, it scared me.

 

3. Do you think art exhibits should be free or paid?

There are many types of art exhibits, so maybe it’s best if we do not generalise. Certainly, some art exhibits should be free.

Large scale exhibits are excellent for drawing in the public. By transforming parts of the neighbourhood into artworks, art becomes more relevant and personal for people. However, the scale of the exhibit means that it also costs a lot. In 2016, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth expenditure totalled $2 billion. Some of that money should be set aside to fund these large scale events as they inject life and wonder into our communities.

This is crucial because it seems the arts scene is still nascent. Even though 8 in 10 Singaporeans attended an arts event, in reality only 4 in 10 actively expressed an interests in the arts. The rest only attended because they experienced it while on an errand run or because someone took them. It is vital that art is made more accessible for all audiences and all ages, for first timers as well as for veterans.

Importantly, the use of public money is quite a contentious issue. Of course, spending taxpayers’ monies on something only a minority benefit from, doesn’t make a lot of sense. That’s why I think that exhibits and events like the M1 Fringe Festival should not be government sponsored. If anything, private companies or individuals should be the ones paying for them, or even charging entrance fees to pay for the exhibit.

This way, there can still be independent voices in the arts community, and the government has less say over what can be displayed. We want to have the door open to diverse views in the arts, and have some autonomy and room for the art community to burgeon/develop.