We Heart Art: Looking Back At A Visually Stimulating 2021
STORY: Sim Ding En
23 December 2021
We had an art attack this year - and I say that with much joy and pride for Singapore artists. The proliferation of visual arts in 2021 is also testament to the fact that our local creatives will never run out of ideas.
Like Natalie Kwee - one half of illustrator duo 8EyedSpud - told us: "Creativity is not something that can be depleted permanently… It’s all about asking questions, poking, and prodding the brief, working and reworking a sketch, until you get to the end."
Here at Wonderwall.sg, we heart visual art - all forms of it, from calligraphy, paper craft and animation to digital effects, murals and inflatables - and here, we look back in wonder at all the stuff that wowed us this year.
We're glad to be spoilt for choice when it comes to this series on Wonderwall.sg that throws the spotlight on the artists behind artworks we come across but don't know the creators of. We've had insightful conversations with local talents not only about their works and inspiration, but also about the joys and challenges of being an artist in Singapore.
Click on the image or link above to check out all the artists we've featured in this series, and perhaps be inspired to become one yourself in 2022!
When it comes to art that is larger than life, this is the Wonderwall.sg series to check out. We take a look at some of the most visually stunning neighbourhoods in Singapore - and, in once case, the inside of an elevator shaft! - and learn more about these wonderful walls that we (re)discovered in 2021 while jalan-jalan-ing.
Click on the image or link above to find out where some of Singapore's most stunning murals are located, and who the creatives behind them are.
This national treasure, and probably Singapore's most prolific and well-known muralist, is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only did the 52-year-old continue to capture our heritage on public walls in his gloriously endearing and characteristic style, he's also kept up with painting on canvases, something he finds more challenging because of the finer details and paint strokes required. Nevertheless, he embarked on a massive 50m-long canvas project in July.
"I’ve dreamt of creating a long canvas painting. I was inspired by the famous Song Dynasty painting “清明上河图”. I wanted to create a Singapore version showing her everyday life in the 70s, 80s. In my eyes, Singapore’s physical cityscape transformed most drastically during these 2 decades," he writes in a Facebook post.
"While '清明上河图' is 5m long, I am aiming to paint it much longer, maybe 10 times longer. It’s not a mural. It’s a canvas painting, so hopefully it is less transient. It will also take a very long time to complete."
By October, he had completed 13.2m (about 26%) of the painting but took a break to work on other projects, like working on a charming wet market scene at 30 Temple Street and being involved in a community mural project at Dignity Kitchen at 69 Boon Keng Road.
Awesome animation at NDP 2021
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the focus of this year's NDP was on safety, resulting in an ingenious show designed for viewers to celebrate our nation's birthday at home. Local studio Root Playground Media helmed interconnected animated films that were amazing and moving in equal measure.
Additionally, a slew of local animators and artists came together under the direction of Jerrold Chong and Huang Junxiang to created a delightfully charming music video for this year's NDP theme song, "The Road Ahead" - making it the first NDP MV to blend live-action and animation.
There were also two new NDP songs with animated music videos: "Breathing City", spearheaded by local studio Weaving Clouds, featured drawings by 623 students from six local schools, while the MV for "Spirits Anew" was a stunning solo effort by visual artist Howie Kim.
Famous New York burger chain Shake Shack opened its seventh joint in Singapore in August. The location: Gardens By The Bay. The joint featured artwork by local artist Soph O who utilised a floral-inspired palette and incorporated organic abstract shapes to reflect the natural surroundings. We took the opportunity to turn our attention to the other local artists and their decidedly vibrant art featured in the other outlets.
This KAWS sure had an effect. The hype surrounding this giant 42m-long inflatable was real.
First, well-known Instagram photographers had been engaged to take stunning drone shots of the artwork by KAWS aka 47-year-old American artist Brian Donnelly.
Then, an injunction obtained by The Ryan Foundation (TRF) - a non-profit organisation owned by Singapore collectors Ryan Su and Adrian Chan that promotes arts awareness and appreciation - was issued on the afternoon of 13 Nov to AllRightsReserved Limited (ARR), the Hong Kong organiser of KAWS:HOLIDAY, to stop the exhibition from happening.
Eventually, the court order was lifted, and peeps returned to taking selfies galore with the great reclining behemoth, cuz #FOMO.