Edited by: Wee Min Er
Contemporary artists in Southeast Asia express themselves through the dynamic and versatile avenue of art. Such intriguing forms of expression calls for attention as it impresses others, and has become a force that cannot be repressed. Looking at Little India and Kampong Glam below, I know that Singapore is not an exception to this phenomenon in the region.
She asked, "What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Little India?" I fumbled with my words, throwing up good descriptives, due in part to the fact that the surveyor is an Indian. She stopped me midway through my "praise-singing", and simply said, "2013 Little India riot". Suddenly it all made sense. The state has a vested interest in changing perceptions of this heritage area through contemporary art. In the process of rebranding and managing the public's perception, contemporary art was ingenuously, covertly and conveniently used as a tool.