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The Singapore Arts Festival has come a long way since its inauguration four decades ago in 1977. The island state that was once labeled “a cultural dessert” has grown its repertoire of art offerings with a wide array of art fueled events spanning across the entire calendar of the year.

The Singapore Arts Festival has to be the largest art event of them all with over four hundred activities with local Asian and international artists from over twenty countries displaying their passion in a time span of four weeks.

Originating as a celebration of the local arts with Singapore’s diverse communities, it has morphed into a palette of diverse artistic offerings covering the fields of dance, music, theater and visual arts.

Singapore Arts Festival 2009
Sutra © Hugo Glendinning

Catch the fleeting movements of pugilistic Shaolin monks in Sutra as they transcend speed, action and light in a dialogue between movement and stillness, force versus inactivity. Choreographed by celebrated Belgian chorographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, placed against the compositions of Polish composer Szymon Brzoska, a complete form is created that captivates both the mind and the heart.

Jeremy Monteiro & T’ang Quartet © National Arts Council

Put Singapore’s finest jazz pianist and Singapore’s formidable string quartet together and what do you get? A dynamic discourse of both new and established compositions as Jeremy Monteiro & T’ang Quartet artfully jam together.

Full Frontal © National Arts Council

Full Frontal – a tale of four sleep deprived souls coming together in an attempt to be part of the living. A local festival commission extracts the audience from reality into the world of imitations. Come face to face with differing worlds of hyper-realities, juxtaposition by text, sound and imagery create a lush landscape of imaginations.

Not contented to just entertain, display or inspire, the festival attempts to engage the audiences with workshops and forums to bring audiences into the world and minds of the creators and performers.

In this grim economic climate no one is forgotten, as free fringe events outreach to the heartlands and everyday places where people get to savour a taste of the artistic flavour in the air.

Helios Outreach © La Compagnie Malabar

The festival starts off with a bang, with Helios II (French group La Compagnie Malabar), a blazing acrobatic and pyrotechnic affair at Singapore’s latest gem the Marina Barrage set against the city reservoir and the sea…and the best part is that it’s free!

Singapore Arts Festival 2009
Date: May 15th – June 14th, 2009

Text: Fann ZJ
Photos Courtesy of the artist and National Arts Council © the artists

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