These artistes are an example why Singaporeans are risk-averse
You’ve probably heard of how home-grown family art collective Holycrap.sg had to take down their showcase at National Gallery Singapore’s cafe and retail space Gallery & Co.
Now this incident has set tongues wagging with Singaporeans expressing disappointment and raising the question of how far galleries should go when curbing creativity.
Perhaps Holycrap.sg’s case is a classic example of why Singaporeans are afraid to take risks — efforts may be for nothing after all.
So if you are wondering what exactly the foursome of artists did that ended up in the sanctioning of their art, here’s a recap.
What went down at the Gallery
Holycrap.sg comprises of four members Claire, Renn, Aira and Pann. The foursome are a family and has put up annual art exhibitions since 2011.
Their latest exhibition, titled “When Renndom Met Airany”, is about children growing up together without separation and in time inspire each other in art and their daily lives.
The exhibition was scheduled to run from 24 Nov till 24 Jan at Gallery & Co at National Gallery Singapore.
But the exhibition did not last long because four days later, the family members were informed that their 19 pieces of their artwork were to be reduced to just 3.
The situation was a result of a miscommunication between National Gallery Singapore and Gallery & Co.
Gallery & Co confirmed that the exhibition’s concept had been approved by the National Gallery, but the format of presentation was not. The incident gained attention on social media after the family posted about the matter on Facebook.
The bone of contention was the placement of the pieces “exhibition-style”. According to Gallery & Co, this format was not cleared with the Gallery, which does not allow unapproved art exhibitions within their premises. The cafe is considered part of the Gallery’s premises.
Sounds like somebody didn’t explicitly ask if something was possible, and just went with it.
For their part, Gallery & Co offered an alternative, requesting that all but 3 of the paintings be taken down. This option was not taken up, and the exhibition had to be taken down.
And we wonder why Singaporeans are so risk averse
The decision to remove the works of Holycrap.sg will only discourage Singaporeans from exploring that grey area between what explicitly not allowed, and what is explicitly allowed.
Because here’s exactly what happens when somebody toes the line — they get censored.
The cafe probably thought that asking the Gallery for permission was a mere formality, and perhaps didn’t make clear the full contents of the exhibition. The exhibition took place, and a surprised Gallery staff probably choked on a morning coffee when walking past the paintings.
In order to follow suit, we need to leave our comfort-zone and not have the fear of looking back, which will allow our nation to have a more progressive society — a society which isn’t afraid of failure.
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