Peace Is A Quilt Made Of Blood

And other mindblowing interpretations of Singapore’s five national values by local artists

As we all know, the five stars on our national flag symbolise peace, justice, equality, democracy and progress. But now, thanks to the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), they have come to mean so much more.

To salute Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, SAM has invited five local artists to reinterpret these universal humanist ideals. The result? 5 Stars: Art Reflects on Peace, Justice, Equality, Democracy and Progress, featuring the work of Ho Tzu Nyen, Matthew Ngui, T.K. Sabapathy, Suzann Victor and Zulkifle Mahmod. Each of them contemplated one core value, and through the creative and curatorial process, offered eye-opening, abstract interpretations.

Peace – Bloodline of Peace, 2015

Visualising peace as a transient state that requires genuine intentions, active construction, education and maintenance, artist Suzann Victor created a 40-metre long quilt made of thousands of Fresnal lenses. The lenses, which reference the commitment and sacrifice necessary to maintain peace, also contain blood from individuals who represent key communities in Singapore.

Justice – No Man, 2015

Based on the understanding that justice has evolved in the law over many civilisations, artist Ho Tzu Nyen created a moving image and sound work that is a meditation on the relationship between crowds, power and how justice is meted out. Viewers are invited into a hall of mirrors to enjoy experiences amidst a spectral crowd.

Equality – Of Equal Measure, 2015

A curated presentation of the varied facets of artist T.K. Sabapathy’s work, the installation features interviews on video, texts and books from his writings and conceptual portraits and artworks by artists. It’s a moving celebration of his foundational role in Singapore’s art scene.

Democracy – Every Point of View, 2015

Artist Matthew Ngui’s dynamic installation – a “forest” of pipes featuring text projection and anamorphosis as a conceptual device – explores the notion of encouraging different viewpoints and perspectives on the value of democracy.

Progress – Raising Spirits and Restoring Souls, 2015

This poetic sound installation by Zulkifle Mahmod is based on our national anthem – in particular a line which goes “sama-sama menuju bahagia” (let us progress towards happiness together). Here, progress is defined by growth, development, evolution and looking towards the future, and celebrated by the song’s familiar melody that resonates via a metronomic orchestra of clinks and twangs along a maze of copper pipes.

5 Stars: Art Reflects on Peace, Justice, Equality, Democracy and Progress will run from now till 4 Nov at the Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Rd.

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