Speech by SMS Tan Kiat How at the Launch of Meta Art Reimagined Singapore
Mr Damian Kim, Managing Director, Singapore, Meta
Mr Goh Beng Kwan
Ms Kumari Nahappan
Mr Norhaizad Adam
Local AR creators that collaborated with traditional artists (Dude.sg, Serial and GOWAAA)
Ladies and gentlemen
1. A very good morning to all of you. I am delighted to join you today for the launch of Meta’s ‘Art Reimagined Singapore’.
2. The arts and culture play an important role in Singapore. The diversity of our artists and richness of our art forms reflect the multi-cultural society we live in. They help us explore our roots and heritage, bringing people and communities together to foster a connected society and deepen a sense of belonging to Singapore.
3. It is important that the arts, including traditional arts, remain accessible and engaging to audiences, including our young people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw how digital technology enabled arts and culture organisations to remain connected with their audiences.
4. While our galleries, museums and other arts venues have since reopened, we believe that technology will have far reaching impact on the arts and culture scene. Artists will be able to leverage technology to express their works in different and engaging ways. With technology, especially immersive environments, audiences can appreciate art much more intimately and from new perspectives.
5. I am therefore heartened that Meta has brought its Art Reimagined initiative to Singapore, which brings together local traditional artists and Augmented Reality, or “AR” creators to create three innovative works. These will be presented in a public exhibition over the next three days and later on, going to the Arts House, and going into the communities together with the National Library Board – a very good initiative by all partners. Using AR technology, the audience can interact with the artworks in novel ways, while learning about Singapore’s rich cultural heritage.
6. For instance, in Goh Beng Kwan’s work - ‘Transformation’, the audience can watch his 1978 realistic painting of the Singapore River transform into an abstract artwork while he recounts the evolution of the Singapore River from a trading port to the vibrant riverfront today.
7. Kumari Nahappan’s sculpture - ‘Tango’ features a pair of chillies entwined in a Tango dance pose. Using the AR face effect, younger audiences can play a game to try ‘eating’ our local ‘chilli padi’, while avoiding the much hotter Scotch bonnet chilli.
8. Norhaizad Adam’s ‘Longgok’ performance provides audiences with a window into local Malay culture and beliefs. Using the AR effect, you may just spot the ‘Jinn’ spirit who hangs around unfolded clothes emerging from the pile and dancing along!
9. Let me congratulate Meta, the artists and the AR creators for bringing various art forms to life for audiences - from traditional paintings and sculptures, to performing arts like dance - you have leveraged technology to make art a novel experience, bringing art to life while showing the passion and dedication that artists have put in their art forms. I am glad that you will be having these exhibitions not just in spaces like these, but also going one step further, and bringing these into the community, and making it accessible and more engaging to young people.
10. On our part, the Government is committed to support the Arts and Culture sector to adapt to a more digital environment. MCCY, NAC and NHB launched the Arts and Culture Digital Roadmap last year which sets out initiatives to help our arts and culture organisations as well as artists adopt digital solutions to better connect with audiences and improve operational efficiency.
11. Government agencies NAC and NHB, as well as cultural institutions including the National Gallery of Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum, have also set up innovation labs to enable art and culture organisations to test out new ways of engaging the public.
12. But the Government’s effort alone is insufficient. We need the support of industry and community partners.
13. In this regard, I would like to thank Meta for its effort. I encourage other industry partners to similarly partner our arts and culture organisations, to spark innovation in the arts and creative space, enable our artists and creators to reach new audiences and access monetisation opportunities, while bringing more exciting opportunities and experiences to audiences.
14. I wish the organisers, artists and content creators every success for Art Reimagined Singapore.