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Gardens by the Bay, Mid-Autumn Festival 2019
Photograph: Sam Chin/Gardens by the Bay Mid-Autumn Festival 2019

The best things to do in September

Despite the cancellation of F1 Singapore Grand Prix, September is still lit – with lanterns, art exhibitions and more

By Cam Khalid

September in Singapore has become synonymous with Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, but due to the pandemic, its engines have been turned off. Nonetheless, there's plenty of online and offline events to occupy this month's schedule. Fill your tank with mooncakes and light the lanterns for Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrate Indian arts, heritage and culture with a diverse lineup of programmes, and check out the various thought-provoking exhibitions around the city.

RECOMMENDED: 101 best things to do in Singapore and the guide to Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore

ila, immaterial bodies
Photograph: Ila

Immaterial Bodies

Film Objectifs Centre for Photography & Filmmaking, Rochor

Find out what lies between the material world of things and the immaterial world of effects, and delve deeper with thought-provoking moving-image works and audiovisual installations created by local artists Ila, Wayne Lim, Weixin Quek Chong, and Denise Yap. The exhibition takes viewers through the links between bodies and four domains including the shifting urban landscape, systems of control, post-human transformations, and alternative kinships – all in a bid to feed curious minds with new possibilities and ideas for the future, especially in a world that has been rocked by the pandemic.

An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season
Photograph: National Gallery Singapore

An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season

Art National Gallery Singapore, City Hall

As part of the art initiative, Proposals for Novel Ways of Being, National Gallery Singapore introduces its latest visual feast: An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season. The Gallery's space is decked by the immersive, mixed-media installations, sound and movement performances, and site-specific artistic interventions of 10 young Singapore-based artists including Kin Chui, Priyageetha Dia, Aki Hassan, Ila, and Norah Lea. These intriguing works aim to turn on the light bulb on new ways of thinking and doing, all for a more humane future.

Diana Rahim
Photograph: Diana Rahim / Singapore Art Museum

Time Passes by Singapore Art Museum

Art Singapore City, Raffles Place

Another art exhibition under the Proposals For Novel Ways of Being banner, this collaborative effort by Singapore Art Museum and National Gallery Singapore is conceived as a corridor of time that echoes the indeterminate passage of our days as we navigate the pandemic that is still raging on, as well as the detritus it leaves behind. A reference to the middle chapter in Virginia Woolf's novel To The Lighthouse, Time Passes features works that manifest acts of care-taking through the handling of different materials, and the commitment towards uncovering possibilities of living and relating even during tumultuous times.

Zhang Si Jing, Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Photograph: Carina Sze Lau


Music Singapore City, Raffles Place

Under the banner SSOPlayOn!, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's (SSO) digital season continues with more concerts to be streamed from the stage to the comfort of your sweet digs via Sistic Live. This month, delight in the chamber works of J. S. Bach, Paganini, Handel, Dvořák, and Kelly Tang in VCHpresents Intimate Moments with SSO first violinist Zhang Si Jing and friends (September 12 to 26). The SSO then returns to the Esplanade for a digital concert led by conductor Kahchun Wong (September 26 to October 10), featuring Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll.

Planet or Plastic
Photograph: Jordi Chias

Planet or Plastic?

Art Photography ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay

To school you on the global plastic pollution crisis, ArtScience Museum is teaming up with National Geographic to showcase the museum's first exhibition since its post-circuit breaker re-opening. The exhibition sets out to raise awareness through more than 70 powerful photographs and videos as seen through the lenses of National Geographic photographers and explorers who have witnessed – and are still doing so – the devastating impact of plastic pollution on the natural world, especially in the oceans. Highlights include award-winning underwater photographer Jordi Chias' image of a loggerhead turtle ensnared in an old plastic fishing net.

Archifest 2020
Photograph: ADDP Architects in collaboration with OWIU Design


Art Singapore City, Raffles Place

In response to global warming, architects all over the world, including Singapore, are exploring various responsible designs and architectural ideas that could benefit ecology and humanity. Themed 'Architecture Saving Our World', this year’s Archifest invites all to delve deeper into the city's urban environment, examine the role of architecture in today's global climate, and get inside the mind of an architect. This marks its first hybrid edition, featuring a myriad of immersive online and offline programmes including online forums, virtual exhibitions, hybrid workshops, decentralised islandwide pop-up activities, and an inaugural virtual Pavilion.

Lim Tze Peng
Photograph: Ode to Art

Lim Tze Peng’s A Century of Ink

Art Singapore City, Raffles Place

Veteran artist Lim Tze Peng is celebrating his 100th birthday on September 28, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Despite his age, he continues to paint larger-than-life pieces, spending a few hours a day to paint on oversized rice paper that's clipped to a wooden board, all while standing up. See his artworks come to life – sort of – on Ode to Art's online gallery. The virtual art tour comes complete with audio narratives and videos too. Viewers can also expect a coterie of art collectors' well-wishes and greetings to Lim Tze Peng in time for his birthday, while revealing private collections to the public for the first time.

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