Art, Viewpoint

The Incredible Lightness Of Being

Tucked in bed and tapping away at my laptop, it’s all rather unusual. I’m normally a desk type of person. I like sitting at a proper desk to write and to work, preferably with a mug of coffee (before noon), a bottle of water (past noon) or a cup of hot Chinese tea (post dinner). There’s something about siting upright that makes you more productive, and gives you a better posture too.

Today was a day filled with two different sorts of art venues – The U Factory, and Aliwal Arts Centre.

I’ve heard about The U Factory for a while, it sounded cool – mostly because of that cute little underline below the “U”, the offbeat location and maybe even because I didn’t have a clear idea of what it was actually. So because it’s ending soon (31 Jan), we decided to check it out before it closed its doors for good.

I imagined: a large, interactive space filled with workshops, exhibitions, retail and F&B, all coming together to engage people with craftsmanship and art. I found: two small galleries filled with rather inaccessible art, a ramen burger van that took ages to churn out a burger (clearly not made for crowds), a small coffee joint, and a retail/cafe thing with a most awkward layout.

I guess we both didn’t like it much, for it felt like everything – the space, the names, the labels, and the atmosphere seemed to be conspiring to make art inaccessible, keeping it elitist, only for the people that understand it. Because, honestly, I really didn’t get the double-paged leaflet I was handed which was supposed to explain what each artwork meant. Because the works weren’t labelled and the descriptions didn’t quite match what the gallery floor map depicted. It was an exercise in futility.

We bailed after a bewildering hour and skipped over to the Aliwal Urban Arts Festival at Aliwal Arts Centre and found a much more comforting scene there, with street graffiti artists, lots of bands and a really, really cool event poster. Love it.


I even got to check out some works from Malay artists which I never got to see before, and I particularly liked one called “In A Male-Dominated Society”. In a somewhat ironic way, when people talk about supporting local design in Singapore, they usually are thinking about the majority ethnic group – Chinese artists and designers, Chinese cultural references and even Chinese dialects. Don’t see much going on with the others.

Backtracking slightly, what I loved most about the event was the location – being in Arab Street during that magical hour of day-to-night, when everything is bathed in incredible 6pm light and prayer calls sounding in the background. And that incredible fresh wind! In those moments, walking hand-in-hand with D and exploring the surrounding streets, we felt content, peaceful and in love with our country. Mostly because it felt like Bali 😉

I am IN LOVE with the weather these days. The air is always so fresh, cool and always on the move, it creates an invigorating sort of energy. We’ve even taken to driving around with the windows down, because it feels so great to have fresh air against our cheeks instead of A/C. Great weather really does make people happy, and I hope it stays this way for a while.

Peace out, it’s time to sleep. I had a lovely Saturday and look forward to an even better Sunday. You too! xx


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