So the Pioneer Portraits are finally up! Thanks to the hard work of the entire team from OuterEdit and the opportunity provided by the Orchard Road Business Association, or ORBA. I heard that the installation lasted overnight, all the way to the morning of the launch day itself. Thanks guys, especially Ryan, Shermeen and Evelyn for doing such a great job at coordinating the whole thing and keeping all of us updated all the time.
This whole Pioneer Portraits project depicts various milestones of Singapore over the past 50 years as well as a possible vision of what Singapore would be like 50 years from now. The illustrations were installed on the glass panels in a chronological order, starting from 1965 to 2015, and a bonus 2065 piece.
Mine falls on the year 1973, when the first Chingay parade took place. The aim is to depict the progression of the parades over the years. I used the bumboat as a symbol of trade and commerce – the main reason people from different regions, different religions, different ethnicities and basically different everything came together in the first place. It has always been about making a living, I believe.
The first Chingay parade was a Chinese procession, as it was initiated by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew to make up for the ban the government placed on the popular firecrackers which the Chinese community like to use during the Lunar New Year celebrations. (I heard from Ms Indranee saying that someone she knows personally had his thumb blown off by firecrackers or something O_o) Anyway, the Chinese-only origin and the ban of firecrackers is why I have the lion dance and the sign at the base of the drawing.
As the years went on, the parades took on a more multi-ethnic and even more globalised touch, and further up the picture, hell begins to break loose (really, the current Chingay parades have more and more strange and funny floats that stop making any sense to me). This float ends with an Ox lead singer and his lion band performing some heavy metal, as it was the year of the Ox when the first parade took place in 1973. Added the winding dragon at the final stage to wrap and tighten everything up!
I really enjoyed making this piece. You know sometimes when you work on something, you have doubts about whether it’s going to turn out the way you want it to; but for this piece, everything just fell into place nicely without having to tweak much. Moments like this are rare.
On the launch day (1st August 2015), the guest of honour, Ms Indranee, walked down the entire Orchard Road to look at all the 24 illustration pieces created by 24 artists/designers, me being one of them :> When she saw my piece, she was delighted to see the Ah Meng who’s popping the party popper. And she kept repeating “arhh I really like the Ah Meng!”. But my favourite is the lion dance leh lol. Everytime I look at them I wonder what the durian, mangosteen and mango are doing on their heads.
It’s always fun to spy on strangers stopping to look at these artworks and snapping photos of/with them 🙂
The works will be up there for 2 months, so do take a look at them when you next go for a stroll along Orchard Road.
One of the guests from the entourage approached me to give his compliments and also asked for my contacts. He told me who he is and what he does. It’s encouraging, but I shall leave it like this for now. If it leads to something interesting I will update accordingly. Also spoke to the Chairman of ORBA and his family over dinner – turns out they know Civil Wok okayy~
Also met a girl, Natalie, who is one of the 24 artist/designers. She stayed in New York for 7 years and worked as an architect for a year while she was there. So cool. We talked about collaborating some day. Yah I know, everyone talks about collaborating, but still, it sounds exciting to me >:)
P.S. I don’t need the whole world to believe in me and to believe in my way of chasing my dreams. I just need a handful of close genuine buddies and family who can give me a push when times are hard, and I’m glad I have them around. “不择手段非君子，不改初衷真英雄。” Old fashioned, outdated, however some people want to call it, especially in this time and age when principles no longer matter for many people. But I will live by my principles and my beliefs.
One day, I will find my One Piece. One day.