Last weekend, we attended the opening of the inaugural edition of National Gallery’s Children’s Festival: Small Big Dreamers. We loved the Children’s Biennale last year – it remains one of my favourite family-friendly events to date. So we went for the event with sky high expectations and hey, we were not disappointed at all!
Featuring a special commission inspired by the life and practice of one of Singapore’s pioneer performance artists and a Cultural Medallion award recipient, Lee Wen, together with other interactive installations, the Festival aims to encourage children and the young-at-heart to dream big through art and play. Even though I am not familiar with the artist, I am so heartened to see that we are appreciating local talent in such a big way!Hands On (by We Make Carpets)
From pool noodles to kitchen sponges, did you know that there are many things in your home that can be used to create art? Dutch art collective, We Make Carpets, taps into the creative potential of everyday objects, experimenting with different materials to create playful and intricate works of art. Their inventive artworks help us to see familar objects in new and interesting ways. See that last pic in the collage below – I can’t believe it is made entirely out of kitchen sponges! This was our favourite room by far because there was just so much to see and do! The boys spent a long time here playing with the pool noodles peg board, wooden pieces on the giant canvas on the floor as well as the velcro artwork. Rainbow Passageway
The Cosmic Dancer is a character from Lee Wen’s 1981 book, A Waking Dream. Follow him along the Rainbow Passageway and up the stairs. As you walk, notice how the rainbow transforms into yellow threads like the sun’s rays.
This journey is a reminder of the bold steps Lee Wen took to become a performance artist using his body, rather than painting or sculpting, to tell a story.
Even if the significance of the exhibits is lost on you (like they were for us, haha), they make for great photo ops!
Do you ever daydream? Lee Wen invites you to let your imagination take flight in his Daydream Tunnel. You will meet Sun-boy and Yellow Man, characters that Lee Wen created for his 1981 book A Waking Dream and 1992 performance Journey of a Yellow Man.Rainbow Concert Hall
If colours could make sounds, what sound would a rainbow make?
Music is important to Lee Wen and he often uses it in his art. Rainbow Concert Hall is inspired by his painting Yellow Man, where are you going? Lee Wen created this painting in 1990 just before leaving Singapore for London, where he participated in a sculpture symposium and stayed on to study art and design. It represents his departure from his hometown to his arrival in London to begin a new artistic journey.
The kids will have fun here making a HUGE RUCKUS with everyday objects like salt shakers and pots – you’ve been warned: earplugs recommended!
Anatomy of Dreamers
Lee Wen performed Journey of a Yellow Man no. 2: The Fire and the Sun at a farm in India in 1992. He performed Strange Fruits more than ten years later, walking the streets and coast of eastern Singapore while carryinig a cluster of red lanterns. Here, Lee Wen invites you to design your own Small Big Dreamers journey by choosing one of three paths and discover the different journeys that the Yellow Man has taken and explore Sun-Boy’s land of dreams.
The boys had fun poking at the overhead red lanterns, balancing on the ropes and making their way through the rope obstacle course.
We didn’t manage to see all the installations – they were a good number and all quite spread out – but we definitely had a great time there. You can expect to spend at least 2-3 hours – you can have your lunch there (food is pretty good)! It wasn’t too crowded since the place is huge. However I would still recommend going on a weekday if you can! There are performances and workshops on certain days as well. More details in the website.
Small Big Dreamers will be at the National Gallery from now till 9 Sep 2018. Don’t miss it!