Rebecca Chew and her daughter Elizabeth visited the contemporary art exhibition for children at SAM at 8Q.
An immersive and interactive exhibition specially curated for children and the young-at-heart, “Imaginarium – A Voyage of Big Ideas” is really for everyone and anyone with a head for ideas and a heart for adventure!
Featuring a total of 7 emerging and established artists from Singapore and the region, the venue is beaming with interesting and captivating artworks and hands-on activities that offers creativity and inspiration in a fun-filled and conducive environment. Participating artists include Japanese artist Takashi Kuribayashi, Singapore artist Chiang Yu Xiang, Singapore collective Band of Doodlers, Singaporean artist Izziyana Suhaimi, Canadian-born, Singapore-based artist Vincent Twardzik, South Korean artist Jeeyoung Lee and Sri Lankan-born, Vietnam-based artist Kumkum Fernando.
Takashi Kuribayashi’s installation comprises of cut-up sections of different tree trunks and terrariums sealed in glass boxes, assembled together to form a new hybrid tree. Over time, these sealed terrariums and tree trunks will decay, which in turn will give life to new organisms and ecosystems, and each glass box will hold a tiny new world of its own. Through this, Kuribayashi brings to light our relationship with nature and our responsibility to protect it. The piece also raises questions on how we currently co-exist with nature and how this relationship will change in the future.
Singapore’s landscape is constantly changing as new developments rise up, “We Built this Estate!” gives children the opportunity to imagine themselves as architects, builders and master-planners of their own make-believe city. Children love this installation as they ran around “building their own world and designing (and re-designing) their surroundings” using the giant Tetris-shaped housing blocks created to allow visitors to freely explore and discover how they could build towards a better tomorrow.
With illustrations sprawling across the walls and winding their way up the 4 levels of SAM at 8Q, “Imagine-a-doodle” by Singapore artist collective Band of Doodlers brings to life a fantastical storytelling of Singapore’s folklore and an inventive vision of the future. Follow whimsical characters as they travel back in time and meet characters from various periods. Together, they take us through the legendary adventures of yesteryear and towards Singapore’s quest for a brighter future. As we journey through vividly animated scenes from Singapore’s past and present to future, a sense of the limitless possibilities of stories yet to be written, and told, abounds.
Elizabeth was clearly engaged in the wall art as she pointed out interesting characters that she spotted among the busy illustrations. This artwork is also one of our favourites!
Band of Doodlers is a Singaporean doodling collective of over 150 artists passionate about drawing, doodling and illustration. Founded in 2013 by Mas Shafreen (Wanton Doodle), their mission is to rid the world of blank spaces by filling them with doodles and to promote co- creation through accessible art.
For artist Izziyana Suhaimi, the age-old techniques of sewing and embroidery are meaningful and symbolic ways of enfolding time, movement (of the maker’s hand), and the creative essence of the maker. Her installation invites visitors to create small objects using textiles, which capture their thoughts about the future of the country. Over time, the artwork becomes a collective tapestry of dreams about and of our shared future. Many visitors enjoyed exploring the fiber arts (embroidery, weaving, etc.) and hand-making small objects from the myriad of materials provided. Elizabeth was too young to contribute her part in creating the tapestry, so she buried herself into the NLB books that were displayed in the same room.
Izziyana Suhaimi is an emerging artist from Singapore. Her work collapses boundaries between traditional and popular cultures, often combining craft-based techniques with contemporary forms. She is drawn to the time-intensive nature of the handmade, in contrast to the prevalent culture of instant gratification and mass production.
Inspired by the wonder that children experience as they explore the world around them, Kumkum Fernando has sought to recreate these sensations for both young and old alike in his artwork, and invites us to broaden our minds and enter the magical worlds hidden within 3 secret boxes and beyond. Each box holds a world that is familiar yet unexpected, inviting visitors to touch, feel, seek and re-discover each world for themselves. Elizabeth was intrigued and drawn to the mysterious boxes like bees drawn to pollen. The artwork of this artist is certainly another favourite of ours! Elizabeth went calling out “egg” several times when she entered the box.
Tapping on visitors’ memories of childhood rewards and precious treats, Jee Young Lee has created a fairytale-like gingerbread house filled with candy which visitors can pick and ‘plant’ in a larger-than-life ‘garden’. Paying homage to our sometimes extravagant childhood wishes and desires, Dream House is a space for everyone to create a dream world where even all our wishes and aspirations, symbolised by the planting of the sweets, can be cultivated and come to life.
Over time, the work is gradually transformed into a garden in full bloom. Dream House is a space where our inner wishes and aspirations for the future can be projected, and made to flourish.
Vincent Twardzik Ching’s artwork installation comes alive only through interaction between the artwork and the visitors e.g. when visitors cycle on stationary bicycles which are hooked up to various objects, such as a drum, a radio, a constellation of stars and text on the walls, where physical energy is transformed into electricity to generate light, sound and movement. Vincent Twardzik Ching is an artist and arts educator based in Singapore.
The second floor of SAM at 8Q is the designated Imaginarium Moonroom. Elizabeth loves the Moonroom as well! It is timely that she has began to take a liking to drawing recently. Hence, while she was in the Moonroom, inspired by the illustrations she saw on the surrounding walls and tables, plus the plethora of multicoloured ink-pens and crayons available, Elizabeth couldn’t help but kept murmuring “Draw” as she went about creating her own artwork by herself.
We would recommend parents to bring their children to this exhibition because we had so much fun! Although not all the artwork can be appreciated by all children of various ages, they are bound to find some that they can relate to, and enjoy the process of exploring, being inspired, creating, and having fun as it rouses curiosity, and takes them (and us grown-ups) into uncharted worlds!
Being a child-focused exhibition, Imaginarium: A Voyage of Big Ideas will certainly be an inspiring artistic encounter for children regardless of their age, because it offers a range of creative experiences and encourages expression. It can be so fun for children, but more importantly, we believe the experience that children have with art should be exciting and fun, which in turn will lead to enhancing their creativity, questioning, and sensory experience, which tickles their thinking process, and leads them to imagine the impossible.
Written by Rebecca Chew.
Her blog can be found at https://jremembrance.wordpress.com
Exhibition: Imaginarium – A Voyage of Big Ideas
Dates: Till 19 July 2015
Venue: SAM at 8Q, 8 Queen Street, Singapore 189555
Hours: Mon – Sun 10am – 7pm, Fri 10am – 9pm