Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat at the Celebration of the Singapore Bicentennial Public Art Commission on 24 November 2019.
Mrs Rosa Daniel,
Chief Executive, National Arts Council
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good Sunday afternoon to all.
Thank you for joining us at Punggol Oasis Terraces for the celebration of Five Stones by Twardzik Ching Chor Leng.
This “Five Stones” artwork before us is one of three public artworks commissioned by the National Arts Council’s (NAC) Public Art Trust to commemorate the Singapore Bicentennial.
The two other artworks are:
The Time Tree by Robert Zhao which is now at the Jurong Lake Gardens; and Crossing Shores by Speak Cryptic at East Coast Park.
These three works explore our nation’s history and progress from different perspectives and reflect on how our sense of being Singaporean has deepened over the years.
These public artworks adds to the range of activities we have put together for our Bicentennial year.
Many of you would have been to the Bicentennial Experience at Fort Canning, which will be on until End-December.
Exhibitions, such as the “Raffles in Southeast Asia” at the Asian Civilisations Museum and the “An Old New World” exhibition at the National Museum Singapore have been well-received.
I am glad that Singaporeans are not only keen to better understand our history, but also how we can come together to chart our future together.
Role of Art in Bringing Communities Together
Five Stones is a reminder of what we have in common and our shared history as one people,
Expressed through the larger-than-life expression of something familiar to almost all Singaporeans.
Watching some of you play with the 3-metre, inflatable “stones” earlier certainly brought back nostalgic memories.
I am sure many of you, like me, will remember gathering around to play the game with friends, classmates, and neighbours - regardless of race, religion or background.
I certainly enjoyed playing “five stones” when I was a child, and even with my children when they were growing up!
Five Stones was commissioned under the Singapore (SG) Arts Plan
To create unique and accessible arts experiences for all Singaporeans, to encourage greater engagement with the artwork by our communities, and to create a sense of delight for those who “bump” into the “stones”.
Tomorrow, Five Stones will make its way from Punggol. Each stone will make its way to different locations around Singapore.
The movement of the artwork echoes the tossing and gathering of five stones in the game.
Imagine throwing the five inflatable stones in the air, with each landing in various places across Singapore – from Tampines, to Woodlands, and Jurong.
Thereafter, the stones will all come together in the heart of our Civic District at the Padang, during Singapore Art Week in January 2020.
I encourage all of you to track down the stones, take some nice shots, and post the pictures on your social media accounts.
With #sg5stones, so that we can follow their journey together.
Situating Five Stones and the other two Bicentennial public artworks in accessible public spaces was a deliberate choice.
For arts and culture can be experienced next to your home, in your neighbourhood;
It is for all Singaporeans; and I hope it will also inspire more Singaporeans to become artists, and to encourage more budding artists to showcase their work.
This will make Singapore a more vibrant home for all of us.
Before I conclude, I would like to thank Oasis Terraces management and the different agencies who made this possible – the National Arts Council, Housing Development Board, National Parks Board, and PUB.
Together, you have contributed to making Punggol a more distinctive place to live.
Congratulations once again to Chor Leng for Five Stones.
I am sure your artwork will inspire and connect people across Singapore through a playful re-imagination of our familiar childhood game.
Have a good evening ahead.
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