At the end of 2020, Hawker Culture in Singapore was inscribed to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This has raised the profile not just of hawker culture as a practice and tradition worth recognising and safeguarding for future generations, but the broader notion of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) itself, which encompasses traditions, expressions, rituals, knowledge and skills that are practiced and passed on from generation to generation.
This is of special interest in the culturally rich context of Singapore and Southeast Asia, where modernity and urbanisation intersect in complex ways with tradition and heritage. In particular, the increasing drive to safeguard ICH is met with ongoing movements to contemporarise and adapt to current contexts. In relation to this, it is worth considering the concurrent activity of collecting of tangible objects – whether artwork or historical artefacts – and the roles of collectors and museums in doing so as part of the larger effort in generating greater awareness and appreciation of ICH.
Artists could consider an exploration of one or more of the following categories or examples*:
● Traditional performing art forms – such as Indian dance forms, Malay dance forms, Dikir Barat, Bangsawan, Wayang Kulit, Chinese Opera, Wayang Peranakan and Dondang Sayang
● Food heritage – such as Hawker Culture, the making of Popiah, Kueh and Yusheng
● Social practices, rituals and festive events – such as Silat, Chingay, Thaipusam and Easter
● Traditional craftsmanship – such as Peranakan beadwork and embroidery, the making of Soya Sauce, Flower Garlands, Rattan Products, Cheongsam tailoring, Kavadi, making and repair of Malay drums
● Knowledge concerning nature and universe – such as Traditional Chinese medicine, Traditional Malay medicine, Ayurveda, Birthing Traditions and Orchid Cultivation
When: 19 Apr - 18 May 2022,