With a huge deadline looming, what better way to fight writer’s block, then to take the day off with friend’s soaking up the Singapore scene on my first of our art journeys for this blog.
Full from our scrumptious feta burrata at Artichoke (food of the gods, surely) we delved into the quaint little gallery next door to bring to life the pictures I’d heard five of the photographer’s talk so passionately about the week before; Nancy Borowick, Maika Elan, Sandra Mehl, Emilie Regnier and Bernice Wong.
Women in Photography, Chapel Gallery, Objectifs
In total, eight internationally renowned female photographers from a range of backgrounds illustrated experiences just as diverse, through their work. Singapore’s Bernice Wong’s familial experience of rambunctious life with single Mum, Mel and her seven children. Emilie Regnier’s bold and beautiful shots of African women’s hair and their beauty dreams reminded me so much of home in South London but also of the aspiration linked with our beauty rituals.
American photographer, Nancy Borowick’s heartfelt, intimate record of her parent’s incredible journey together through stage four cancer and eventual death. The series focuses simply on love, togetherness and enjoyment of life, as individuals and as a couple, truly touching.
Sandra Mehl’s work follows two sisters in the south of France, growing up in a poor neighbourhood with their eccentric family. She documents their youth, naivety and desperation to be grown up, with such realism that it made me laugh in a nostalgic way and took me back to my awkward teenage years, trying to find out who you are as a young adult and as an old child. I loved it.
Vietnam’s Maika Elan’s The Pink Choice series was born out of personal curiosity about homosexual couples behind closed doors was in pursuit of a question she wanted to answer through her work. Beautifully done, she documents everyday moments for a variety of couples spending time together in the relaxation and privacy of their homes.
Finally Gohar Dashti’s photographs called Today’s Life and War is a series of striking images of domesticity surrounded by war. This represents the legacy of the Iran/ Iraq war for a generation of survivors who live on with war as part of their everyday memories, history and lives.
Don’t miss out on this little gem of an exhibition – it can be seen until 19th November.
Blade Runner 2049
Next we treated ourselves to Blade Runner 2049 in gold class at Suntec’s Golden Village. I could barely remember the original so my diligent friend gave me a quick recap on the main characters and original plot. A bleak, time warped, future noir that was totally absorbing, if not for the characters, then for the scenery and bursts of cleverly choreographed action combined with a simple story but one that kept us all completely captivated. Reminiscent of the time I first watched The Terminator with its terrifying, repetitive musical score, Blade Runner 2049 was riveting viewing. A beautifully crafted dystopian epic, deftly in keeping with the original film. Admittedly after 2 hours we were shuffling in our seats a little but it was definitely worth watching on the big screen and lets face it, gold class is always a great idea!
Dada Masilo’s Swan Lake, Esplanade
Finally for this weeks art journey we headed to Esplanade to see Dada Masilo’s Swan Lake. The last time I went to see the ballet was Matthew Bourne’s all male version, at the same venue and Dan:s festival in 2014 so I was very keen to see how this would compare. The South African dancers very quickly deconstructed and humorously dismissed the traditional moments of Swan Lake that seasoned audiences might have been expecting, using humour to show that they were going to do something different and different it was.
Masilo, the artist in residence at the Dance Factory in Johannesburg is known to fuse dance styles in her work. Using part of Tchaikovsky’s original score, the dancers fused traditional balletic movements with stomping, ululating and hip shaking movements of traditional African dance. This gave the performance an energy that combined beautifully with the grace of the swan story. Weaving African and contemporary culture, the story deals with the themes of prejudice and liberty, celebration and grief.
The two lead male lead characters; Siegfried and Odile were exquisitely lithe and emotive in their solos. They fall in love but ultimately their love is unfulfilled and the swans die in a beautifully moving final dance of grief. Contrastingly, Dada Masilo who took the role of Odette, the lead female dancer, had all the sass and energy of the great Rosie Perez back in the day on Soul Train.
Refreshingly, both male and female dancers play the traditionally female role of the swans (apart from in Bourne’s version), giving the production an androgynous feel.
A really exhilarating and passionate dance piece that lead to a standing ovation at the end. Keep the innovation coming Esplanade, this is the kind of performances we need more of in Singapore!
Till next week and more adventures! Oops, now back to that deadline….
Look out for more of Sam’s art journeys coming soon here!