If the only thing you know about Peranakan culture is everything you saw in The Little Nyonya (that starred our November cover girl Jeanette Aw!), it’s probably time to get schooled. And what better platform to learn from than the first-ever Peranakan Arts Festival? With four exhibitions, three seminars, two theatre productions and one exciting bazaar, prepare to immerse yourself in the life and culture of a baba or nyonya. Here’s what you can do at the five-day fiesta.
Discover Peranakan art
A Visual Arts Journey is an extensive exhibition featuring historical photographs and fashion pictures depicting Peranakan life from years long past. Also on display are the works of contemporary Peranakan artists like Adeline Yeo, Desmond Sim and Carolyn Law.
From 4 to 8 November, at Victoria Theatre.
Sing and laugh all night
Laugh out loud with Bibik Behind Bars, Kena Again!, a musical comedy about a group of gambling bibiks (aunties) played by a stellar cast including Shirley Tay, Melvyn Chew, and a special appearance by Koh Chieng Mun. Watch as the bibiks set out to conquer Singapore’s new casinos with lots of hilarious hijinks and outrageous schemes.
From 5 to 8 November, at Victoria Theatre. For tickets, click here.
Discuss the future of Nyonyas and Babas
With society changing at an increasingly rapid rate, traditional cultures are slowly becoming diluted and forgotten over time — and Peranakan heritage isn’t an exception. Thus, three seminars will be held to discuss the preservation of Baba Malay, the effect of consumerism on Peranakan culture and what the future will hold for this unique group.
7 November, at Victoria Theatre. For tickets, click here.
Relive your first love
Titled Pintu Pagar after traditional swinging doors from the ’60s, this poignant play follows the 40-year relationship between a wealthy Nyonya girl and her neighbour from a poorer Chinese immigrant family. Filled with both tear-inducing and heart-warming scenes, you’ll want to bring the tissues for this.
From 4 to 8 November, at Victoria Concert Hall. For tickets, click here.
Eat, drink, play, shop
It wouldn’t be a Peranakan festival without food. At the Ba-Bazaar (see what they did there?) @ Empress Lawn, taste the best of Peranakan cuisine while shopping for kebayas and beaded slippers, and admiring vintage art pieces, ornaments and memorabilia.
From 4 to 8 November, at Empress Place.
Check out the Peranakan Art Festival website for more information
Photos: Peranakan Arts Festival