Tag Archives: artsbuzz

Hashtags, Selfies, and Emoticons

Education has always been position as a cognitive enterprise, focusing on intellectual development and knowledge-production. This is especially so in the context of Singapore, where education is positioned as being paramount to producing human resources to drive the economy. Thus, it is unsurprising that with the focus on what is in the ‘mind’ in the realm of education, the function of the body and bodily sensations are often neglected. However, much as we are ‘minding’ education, most of us are also ‘feeling’ it in many ways. If you are to reflect on your memories of your first day of school, of making friends, and of studying really hard for your exams- these are experiences that are very emotionally situated.


Thus, this project is very much about emplacing ‘feelings’ in the middle of education. But how does one ‘do’ something as fleeting and as elusive as emotions? While scrolling through the ‘popular/suggested feed’ on the social media application, Instagram one day, I realised that secondary school students are uploading photos documenting their schooling and social lives on the app. I also discovered that it is not uncommon for each of their pictures to receive more than a hundred ‘likes’. Looking at their pictures, I was inspired to use Instagram as a platform to conduct a collaborative project so as to understand their schooling lives better.


Participatory and collaborative work is not something new, especially in the realm of social sciences or developmental studies. In particular, participatory research using images, such as inviting participants to draw pictures, or maps, or even taking photos are common methodologies so as to spread out the ownership of the research to encompass both research participants and the researcher. My methodology builds on these existing work by seeking to dismantle the power-relations between myself and the students. Furthermore, Instagram is also more cost-effective than traditional methods (without having to buy and distribute cameras to the students), and allows the students a greater sense of control because they are using something they already know.


This exhibition is a provisional attempt to showcase some of the pictures submitted by the students, with cost and technical challenges. All of us had fun thinking, photographing, curating, and discussing about the photos. I hope you will too!


Hashtags, Selfies, and Emoticons-2 edit


For feedback regarding the showcase, please contact Clara at: ang.clara@nus.edu.sg

ArtsBuzz: Picturing Heritage in Japan

Have you seen the current exhibition of beautiful photographs in the ArtsBuzz? If you’re wondering what it is about, below are some musings from 2 of the photographers themselves on this.


This exhibition shows what Japan’s heritage means to each of us who participated in JS3229: Field Studies in Japan. All the photographs feature various places around the Hiroshima and Kumamoto regions. Using these photographs, we aim to convey our own perception of Japan’s heritage, and also demonstrate how we can view a picture through various angles. By doing so, we continue to uncover the hidden history and heritage behind these landscapes which cannot be easily achieved through simply looking at landscapes and photographs at face value.

This trip was highly beneficial to me, no matter as a student or as a tourist. Being a tourist that had been highly interested in Japanese culture since I was young, I was able to see and understand Japan on a first-hand basis. I could truly understand why traditions and ideas such as furusato-zukuri (native place-making) were firmly rooted in Japanese culture. Being a student on this fieldtrip, I was able to view Japan through the tourist’s lens, and understand the mechanisms used in promoting domestic tourism within Japan in a more academic way. This module exposed me to the ways of Japan tourism, and is definitely the most memorable module and experience that I can take away in my university life.

~ Lu Qianni


This exhibition is about lessons we learnt from Kyushu – about heritage and how it is always prevalent precisely because of its importance to society. 

The 10-day trip to Hiroshima and Kumamoto was the most amazing study trip I’ve had the luck to participate in. Not just because of supportive and great classmates and the Professor, but also the friendly and hospitable locals that shared much about their lives and homes, inviting us to be a part of their communities. It wasn’t just a module, but a life experience where I learnt a lot about my own interests, how to look and not just see our surroundings, and about stepping out of comfort zones to talk to strangers. This exhibit provides our reflections on a particular photo that stood out for us in relation to our study of heritage and tourism in contemporary Japan.

~ Peh Chehui

The current exhibition will run in Central Library Artsbuzz until 25 August 2014.


ArtsBuzz Exhibition: Oiled Impressions & Penmai

Two collections–Oiled Impressions and Penmai–are on display at ArtsBuzz of Central Library, from 4-18 March.

The immediate surrounding has always had an enchanting effect on me, whenever I  pause and take it in. “Oiled Impressions” represents just that collection of moments: moments I took in, moments I yearn to be in, and moments I dream of.  “Penmai” is a collection that is very close to my heart. “Penmai” is the Tamil word for “feminine” and women have always been a source of inspiration for my thoughts. The kindness of a kitchen help, the grace of a dancer, the innocence of a little girl, the love of a grandmother, the labour of a spinach seller, the vivacity of a mother, are just some of my inspirations.

This is my very first exhibition at NUS and I hope you will take a turn around the world through my tinted shades.

Dhanya is a Civil Engineering undergraduate. She comes from Chennai, a South Indian city that has deepened her senses and appreciation of culture and tradition. She has been drawing and painting since she was a child and is discovering herself as an artist, today.

When she isn’t painting, Dhanya is busy training to be an engineer. She enjoys writing, designing clothes, filling her ears with indie music, and chalking plans to change the world. She loves to meet people and can be contacted dhanya91@gmail.com.

Dhanya Balasubramanian
Civil Engineering

Exhibition at ArtsBuzz: White Nights

Flowers bloom around the clock if the night never gets dark.

From 2-25 October,  Central Library will exhibit a collection of floral paintings called “White Nights”. Why floral paintings? Since I majored in Environmental Biology, I possess the utmost love for all living things and naturally something as beautiful as flowers would represent an theme for my solo exhibition.

“White Nights” is my first solo exhibition at the NUS Central Library and is a tribute to all my friends as an appreciation for their help and support through these years. This floral-themed exhibition lets me share the beauty of nature as seen through my eyes.

I also hope to bring the visual arts to NUS in my own little way and add a little spice to varsity life in the process. “White Nights” gives me an opportunity to express my concept of “visual arts as a universal  language”. The “White Nights” exhibition will be expressed in 4 languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

About the artist

Born in 1990 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, Ching Siong studied general art at Page One Academy, and received his B.S. in Life Sciences at NUS in 2012. While at NUS, he absorbed conventional concepts and skills in watercolour and oil media, subsequently forming his own style. He now concentrates on local contemporary art and children’s art. In 2009, he received a world first honor prize from Hong Kong Po Leung Kuk. He is currently a painter and art teacher in Malaysia.

Should you have any queries, please contact Ching Siong at teychingsiong {at} gmail {dot} com.

Tey Ching Siong

The Art of Neighbouring: Exhibition at ArtsBuzz

What does China’s rise mean for those who live along its borders? Reflecting on the PRC’s strategies to foster trade, secure access to natural resources, and prevent unrest in its own borderlands, this exhibition shows the ways in which people’s lives and futures are affected by living along the borders. As rising China (the nation, the notion, the buzzword) channels aspirations, triggers fears and creates opportunities, “neighbouring” becomes a crucial skill in the borderlands – a skill that includes evading, openly opposing, making use of, or renegotiating the border situation.

In the first half of the 20th century, the fuzziness of erstwhile frontier zones was replaced with the sharp contours of nation-states. Political and military conflicts between the PRC and its neighbouring states brought many long-established trans-border relations to a halt. More recently, new stimuli of economic growth and material prosperity readily impelled a momentum of “opening up”. As ancient crossroads emerge as zones of contact and translation again, borderland communities actively engage with new possibilities; they also become targets of new regulatory regimes to “manage” the flows of people and goods across the borders.

This exhibition aims to show how the closure and re-opening of the PRC’s borders condition the myriad realities of making as well as being China’s neighbours through peace and turmoil. Three photographers present a selection of images that portray the diversity, the transformations, the vulnerability and the resilience of these border zones.

The exhibition is now being held at Central Library’s ArtsBuzz and is made up of two series. Series one will run from 1 to 15 September while series two will run from 16 to 30 September.

About the Photographers

DRU C. GLADNEY is Professor of Anthropology at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He began his field research in western China over 30 years ago, and has carried out more recent projects in Kazakhstan, Kyr­gyzstan, Turkey and Malaysia.

TOM CLIFF is a final-year PhD candidate at the Con­temporary China Centre of the Australian National University (ANU). He was a professional photographer before coming to academia. More of his work can be found at www.tomcliff.com

MARTIN SAXER is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Asia Research Institute (ARI). He car­ried out field research in Siberia, Tibet and Nepal since 2003. He is the director of two feature length documen­tary films, including “Journeys with Tibetan Medicine” (www.anyma.ch/journeys).

Make It Real: NUS Mountaineering

The NUS Mountaineering Club is named Make It Real (MIR), based on the belief that people can overcome any obstacle and achieve their goals, as long as they have the dedication and perseverance to make their dreams real. This photo exhibitition is dedicated to the members of MIR, fellow students in NUS, who dreamt of snow-capped summits, and made their dreams a reality. The twenty photos displayed in Artsbuzz are taken by different gifted photographers from MIR during their overseas Technical Mountaineering courses or expeditions in the Himalayas.

A Brief history of MIR NUS Mountaineering Club
When Dr. Robert Goh and his 2002 Singapore Xixabangma Expedition team decided to pass their mountaineering skills and passion onto NUS students through a Programme called Make It Real(MIR), they had no idea how powerful an impact that programme would leave on NUS students in many batches that followed. The first 10 trainees who turned up for the MIR recruitment talk formed MIR 1.  NUS’ Centennial Everest Expedition are alumni of this ‘Make It Real’ programme, while the Singapore Women’s Everest Expedition was also initiated by ‘Make It Real’ members. To date, we are the eleventh batch of MIR.

Sacrifices and the spirit of mountaineering
Mountaineering is not a sport. It is a lifestyle which encompasses elements of uncertainty and risk, but it is not a blind pursuit of risk for its own sake. Thrill seekers have lots of easier activities to pursue. On the contrary, mountaineering involves detailed planning, preparation and motivation to overcome obstacles and to push the limits of human body further and higher. In the harshest of environments, we truly discover what we are made of.  It represents the “make it real” spirit with brains.

Mountaineering is something you can never experience in Singapore without going out there to the mountains to see and feel for yourself. The exhilaration of being up there above 5000m, the cold dry windy temperatures and the panaromic scenery of the ends of the world are the mini crescendos in life which make it more meaningful.

Mountaineering is a passion that can only be justified by the self and the will to achieve something much more for yourself. Finally, the camaraderie gained in mountaineering is something that cannot be attained elsewhere, anywhere, anytime.

Our journey to make our dreams of climbing mountains a reality is just one of many dreams. And like mountains, all dreams have obstacles that need to be overcome. But with perseverance, these dreams can be made a reality, as we can attest. The photos speak for themselves. So which dream are you pursuing? Be inspired and make it real!

Samantha Vu, Han EnChou and Nicholas Chee
On behalf of MIR11

Photo Exhibition: Secrets

This exhibition showcases the winning works of residents of Sheares Hall in our annual Intra-Hall Photography Competition, organised by the Sheares Hall Photographic Committee. This year’s entries were shot to the theme, Secrets. Participants were presented with the challenge of capturing and portraying intrigue and mystery in what is unseen, unheard and unspoken in everyday life. Judged on creativity, composition and relevance, the competition bought out the best of our photographers in depicting what would otherwise be concealed.

The exhibition period is until 14 March.

Tam Tze Siang
Sheares Hall

Exhibition: On Dreaming

Close-up detail from one of the art pieces

We all have dreams.
But not all of us have the courage to pursue them.
We wish, we hope, we long for.
We think and keep thinking.

I’m afraid of trying,
Of failing.
I love art.
I fear it too.

We live, day after day,
Wishing for changes,
Wishing to change.

One day after one too many,
Enough becomes enough.

This series of art explores the intangibility of dreams. A tree wishes to experience anti-gravity – it wants to be upside down before its final breath. A sea-dragon dreams of flight, having only tasted water against its scales. A group of stones want to move, to change their perspectives.  Dreams, everyone has them.

Dreams. What are we without them?

Xiang Yeow is tired of being stagnant, of deliberating over each movement. He invites viewers to share their thoughts on his art so that he may consider how best to forge ahead. He can be contacted at xiangyeow at gmail dot com and www.teacherlet.blogspot.com.

The ink on canvas as well as batik art exhibition will be at Central Library’s ArtsBuzz from 17-24 October. Many thanks for your thoughtful input.

Xiang Yeow
Year 2 Science + USP

The Art within Metamorphosis

Exhibition Name :   NAVC Project IMHope  

Date :   1 Sept 2011 – 15 Sept 2011

Venue : ArtsBuzz, Central Library, Level 4



This exhibition showcases the artistic talents of the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) residents, and aims to reduce the prejudices that we often have for the mentally ill.

As Metamorphosis” signifies a rebirth, it is akin to Project IMHope which serves as a platform for our residents to re-connect with the society through our weekly interactions. The birdcage represents their “home”, a safe haven but also a form of restriction. The butterflies taking flight out of the cage towards the window symbolizes how our residents relate to the outside world through their artworks.  The rich and vibrant colours of the butterflies represent meaning, hope and colours that Project IMHope adds to the residents’ lives.

The artworks on display were selected from a large collection of works done by the residents of our adopted wards during our weekly sessions. We hope that through this exhibition, the residents will improve their self-esteem and gain greater acceptance from society.

Sher Ling
Volunteer of Project IMHope

Sojourn Along the Silk Road

Sneak peek at the exhibition

Wajihah Hamid travelled the road less travelled, following the footsteps of Marco Polo. For several months their paths must had intersected, albeit many years apart. Could Marco Polo have felt the same mysticism present in the ancient Silk Road cities? Did Wajihah tell the same stories Marco Polo told, to a disbelieving audience?

In the summer of 2007, Wajihah Hamid left the comforts of Singapore to volunteer with the Silk Road Foundation and Mongolian National Museum for an archaeology expedition in Takhilt, Khovd. There she experienced the nomadic lifestyle of the Mongols by living in a ger (tent) at the ancient crossroads of Takhilt. Upon completion of the expedition, she ventured overland across Mongolia. Her travels took her across the Gobi desert to China via the fabled Trans-Mongolian train where she began her Silk Road journey. After spending time in the ancient historic cities of China, she crossed over to Kazakhstan before finally reaching Uzbekistan, the mecca of the Silk Road

Wajihah’s journey through the Silk Road was the fulfilment of a childhood fantasy. The beautiful lakes and scenic parks dotting the landscape transformed her preconceived imagination of Mongolia and Central Asia as a terrain filled with arid deserts. She saw vast lands of greenery, picturesque mountains and even the sea amidst a celestial glow. The warmth nature of the people and their sense of contentment was a humbling experience.

Through this exhibition, Wajihah aims to show the exuberance of life and diverse landscape of the places she visited, and to share her experience of the ancient Silk Road. Wajihah also hopes to raise funds for the Mongolian NGO, Adolescents Development Centre. Do visit the exhibition to find out more.