In my last two years in Singapore I have found myself exploring, researching and even becoming involved in hosting community arts events. A few weeks ago my friends and I organized our sixth Basically Session in collaboration with our friends at, Participate in Design‘s, Upcycle Art Village Project.
Our friends from PiD sharing about their work.
Maggie Stools made at another PiD event and used in the Upcycle Arts Village
Basically Sessions started almost two years ago as a group of friends in the creative industries coming together with the idea of providing a platform for Singapore’s creatives to showcase their work and share their artistic aspirations. The first sessions were held at a friend’s cafe and included a range of sharing from musical performances, to landscape architects speaking on their work, to showing short documentaries and even creative entrepreneurs sharing their stories of how they came to where they are today. Recently Basically also partnered with other events such as ArchiFest in October 2012 and then PiD in April 2013.
Basically 03 at Broun Cafe
Our most recent Basically, in conjunction with the Upcycle Art Village, was unique compared to the first few sessions. It was held as part of a larger community arts event in MacPherson, an older Singaporean public housing estate. As much fun as we have had hosting others in a cafe, this event, with the help of the upcycled furniture display, felt like we set up a living room in the middle of the neighborhood shopping street and invited the neighbors to stop by.
As part of this Basically Session, instead of just hosting other creatives, we also did our own little community art project called “The Faces of MacPherson.” Our photographer friend Amelia offered to take portraits of families we came across in the estate. The idea was to not only share works of art about people and events outside of this community but to also feature local residents in their everyday life as works of art. In exchange for being part of this project Amelia also shared the portraits with the families; instead of merely treating them as subject in our work, we wanted to also give them something in return.
The Faces of MacPherson
After and afternoon of hanging out and sharing the works of Singaporean creatives I can’t say that all of the concepts on community building and the arts I study at work played out in our event exactly as the academics theorize, but I can say it was nice to be a part of an event that provided a place for everyday people in Singapore to sit down and see something new created by their fellow Singaporeans. It’s not every day that you walk out of your supermarket to see a brother and sister singing, or see a short documentary, or simply see portraits of your neighbors in your neighborhood. As Singapore and other cities seek to use the arts as an active method for building better community bonds I hope that residents and community organizers alike make the time to sit back, enjoy, and appreciate the creative works of their city’s citizens.
All photos by Amelia of http://meladegypsie.com/
The Upcycle Art Village @ MacPherson was supported by Singapore’s PAssionArts.
More information on PiD’s Upcycle Project can be found in this short video.
Finally, you can keep up with future Basically Events on our Facebook page.