Heritage included a set of inherited traditions, objects, culture, but also importantly, treasured places. In land-scarce Singapore, it is a uphill struggle balancing growth and urban preservation; the frenzied pace of urbanization has lead to the demolishment of numerous heritage sites, presenting a threat to the city’s identity, severing it’s past from it’s present and future.
An exercise on empathy & Remember Sungei road are two installations, completed in collaboration with photographer Nicholas Koh as a commentary of Singapore’s disappearing urban heritage sites, specifically the now-defunct Sungei Road Thieves market, the first and only rental-free flea market in Singapore.
Exhibited at Substation Singapore, as part of Onborrowedland in July 2018, 1 year after the market’s closure, while ‘Remember Sungei Road’ was on display at market itself during the last weekend before it’s closure in July 2017, at Kult Gallery and featured their a monthly zine, ‘You want to buy or not’, printed in monochrome as a hark back to the past.
Medium: Cardboard, Ink, Paint, Paper, Polaroids, Printed film photographs,
‘An exercise on empathy’, 2018
Created one year following the closure of Sungei Road Thieves Market, the work consisted of 16 monochrome images, printed from film photographs taken at the market, laid in a 4 x 4 format, on a bulletin board, to mimick ‘tikam tikam’, a local game popular in the 70s.
Similar to ‘tikam tikam’, under each photograph laid a ‘gift’ or ‘surprise’- quotes/anecdotes representing perspectives of residents of the Sungei road area, ex-vendors, people who used to frequent the market, and the government. Audience were called to examine all perspectives and to exercise empathy based on each.
‘Remember Sungei road’, 2017
The pieces were created two weeks prior to the closure of Sungei Road Thieves Market, the first and only rent-free flea market in Singapore, closed by the government to give way to new train station, Jalan Besar. To elicit feelings of Nostalgia, a mix of ‘old’ materials, including a polaroid camera, a typewriter and cardboard salvaged from the market were used for ‘Remember Sungei Road’.
Eight images were created, to represent the 8 decades of existance of the market, using a combination of sketches juxtaposing items and scenery of the market against the polaroid images captured at the market itself.