PARK(ing) Day 2017

The annual worldwide public art installation event has been locally introduced by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). This event invites community members to transform parking lots into vibrant public spaces for one day- sharing amazing ideas in hopes of elevating standards of our local arts scene.

With the theme of “Pathways”, we were invited to create an idea that could connect the community by inviting interaction amongst members of varying generations. My group (Jeremy Silva, Tristan Smith, Haris Dzulkifli, Brandon Pereira, Gabriel Broughton and myself) was one of the many groups from St. Joseph’s Institution that stepped up to showcase our definition in alignment with the theme.

Connecting the Old and New

The parking spot designated for us was facing the Malay Heritage Centre, Sultan Gate. With this in mind, we were inspired to find a concept that presents a traditional Malay medium in a contemporary light.

This concept was achieved with the Malay traditional spinning top, also known as Gasing. Our idea involved interaction amongst the participants with the following steps for guidance:

  • Members of public are invited to master the technique of spinning the Gasing

  • As the Gasing continues to spin, they are asked to pour paint onto it- choosing the colour and from any height

  • Repeat the process and once the canvas is filled, replace with a new one while waiting for the completed canvas to dry

A splattering effect was created with each pour but the unique observation was the variations on its pattern. These variations, as experimented prior to the event, was dependent on the speed the Gasing was spinning and the height at which the paint was poured from.

After several coats of paint (varied colours), the new canvas would soon resemble the iconic Contemporary style adopted by Jackson Pollock.

It undoubtedly felt like an unbelievable feat to even produce art with the tools of a traditional game.

It was notable that the older generation, who were more exposed to the proper technique of spinning the Gasing, were the ones who spun the Gasing while children and younger members of public poured bottles of their desired paint.

Our group in action attending to eager participants

We were overwhelmed with positive responses from the public and friends on that day as many children were eager to create their own form of art. Soon, we were forced to set up a small booth to dry while display our finished works. To our surprise, we even had people asking if any of the pieces were for sale. Even after giving away several finished pieces, there was still enough canvas for our group to take home as memorabilia.

Four of our finished canvases measuring approximately 60cm x 40cm each

Valuable Takeaways

This event was my first major involvement in the local arts scene and acted as a major stepping stone in the coming years. It felt wonderful to see the older and younger generation connecting with one another over a concept that fuses both traditional and contemporary. Despite introducing a complex concept, it was well received by the public who immersed themselves fully in the occasion. It made me realise how supportive the local arts culture can be as it requires someone to have the courage to step up with new ideas and elevate the arts scene in Singapore. 

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