Our July 2017 highlights
‘Enchanment’: that’s the theme for SIFA 2017, and it couldn’t be more appropriate. Its function – as an antidote for an increasingly cynical world – brings with it ideas that begin at The OPEN, a ‘pre-festival’ that promises equal parts wit and laughter through lecture-performances, films and interactive performances.
The newest instalment of world-famous circus series, Cirque Du Soleil, returns with the clown-inspired Kooza. Featuring an international cast of 50 acrobats, musicians, actors and singers, the show tells the story of ‘The Innocent’, who goes on a self-discovery trip and meets eccentric characters and experiences countless thrills along the way.
Pesta Raya returns to celebrate the rich heritage and beauty of Malay traditional and contemporary arts. Anticipate musical performances from new and old artists including a dikir barat battle, Malaysian rock icon, Ella, and Indonesia's rising indie-alternative band, Payang Teduh. Learn more about the Malay archipelago at the screening of Setan Jawa, which features the visual imagery of Javanese mythology, and accompanied by a live gamelan and Western orchestra.
Voices of Amazon makes its debut in Singapore, raising the importance of preserving the unique ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest whilst embracing the true spirit of Brazil. Follow Beleza, a water spirit, on a quest to cure her dying sister, which leads her into the heart of the Brazilian rainforest. There, she discovers that the forest is no longer abundant in plants and natural medicines. The intriguing storyline unfolds through a fusion of ballet, contemporary dance and capoeira.
Formerly known as National Poetry, the annual poetry event returns with the local-and-proud-of-it theme, 'Regardless of Race'. The festival features works from established and aspiring local poets that celebrate the nation's multi-racial and multi-lingual society. Also, look out for a poetry writing and performance workshop ($38/person) led by homegrown artist Shivram Gopinath. The two-hour session will introduce hip hop, comedy, prose monologue and traditional poetry reading.
Immerse yourself in the local food scene at this year's Singapore Food Festival (SFF). Start from STREAT, SFF’s signature event and work your way through various workshops and events such as Ion Orchard’s Chocolate Wonderland (Jul 14-16), kueh pairing workshops, and The 50 Cents Fest where you’ll get to try hawker dishes for – you got it – 50 cents. Additionally, indulge in traditional hawker fare paired with artisanal wines hosted by Merchant Wine Store. For a relaxing time, tuck into a curated picnic basket on the lawn while enjoying a local food film under the stars at Open Farm Community.
Sydney Opera House, Taj Mahal, the Acropolis – these are just a few of the world’s iconic landmarks that have been recreated into massive LEGO installations. Marvel at the craftsmanship that went into each one, and participate in the Brick by Brick art project, where you can add LEGO pieces to create a topographical map of Singapore.
Free events in July
State of Change presents two independent works by homegrown artists, which use photography to recall the past. 'Some Other Way' by Nicholas Koh and Jiahui Tan is a salute to Singapore's colourful history, featuring the now-closed Sungei Road Market in a vibrant, pop-art style. The second work, 'Singapore Vanished Public Housing Estate' by Koh Kim Chay and Eugene Ong, documents Singapore's first homes from the 1950s – 15 of which have been removed to make way to new estates.
Open Farm Community's Social Market returns with more food, artisanal produce and handicrafts. The tenth edition introduces its first sunset market, with activities for both adults and the little ones. Take a stroll through the outdoor farm, learn how to shake up your own cocktails in a masterclass conducted by Jonathan Lee of Tippling Club, or create your own flower crown at Gathered+Styled's booth.
Sip on this: presented by The 1872 Clipper Tea Co, the inaugural Singapore Tea Festival is a two-day event that celebrates all things tea. Look out for 18 local brands, such as Hush Tea Bar and Pin Tea, showcasing its bestselling blends, shop for tea-inspired wares and bites, or attend a workshop by homegrown illustrator Tan Zi Xi, where you'll learn how to customise your dull tea towels with quirky and tasteful prints. Make sure to register for the workshop before the event.
Join in the yarnbombing, watch a drone race and tinker with technology at Maker Faire. Hosted by Singapore Science centre, the two-day event features exhibitions, workshops and talks in celebration of innovation, creativity and resourcefulness. Exchange ideas with crafters and scientists as you learn more about the do-it-yourself culture and creating things to solve everyday problems.
In celebration of the culturally rich precinct that is Little India, the Indian Heritage Centre presents an exhibition of over 100 contemporary works and historical artefacts. There’ll also be screenings of a trilogy of short films, including The Day I Lost My Shadow by Singapore’s own K Rajagopal (A Yellow Bird, 2016). Keep an eye out for The Weighing Scale – it’s impossible to miss – featuring three tonnes of saga seeds, in an installation referencing the spread of global diaspora.
The annual student-run festival features a whole slew of local performers. Back for its tenth edition, Ignite celebrates the best of homegrown bands, bringing in both established and up-and-coming local acts. This year's main festival (Jul 28 & 29) line-up includes ShiGGa Shay, THELIONCITYBOY, LEW, Jasmine Sokko and more.
Chinese traditions and modernity are given a boost at the newly opened Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre. Steep yourself in the works of illustrator Lee Xin Li, Supermama founder Edwin Loh, filmmaker Kirsten Tan (of Pop Aye) and more. There’s art installations, photographs, short films and graphic art pieces to be admired, each exploring the values and beliefs of local Chinese culture through the eyes of the modern generation.
A rainforest sprouting from the floors of the ArtScience Museum? You'll get just that, thanks to a virtual reality adventure that'll take you on an immersive journey into the thick of South-East Asia's rainforests. Spot orangutans and endangered Sumatran tigers, then plant a virtual tree – because for every one planted, an actual tree's planted in Rimbang Baling, Sumatra.