Arts contributing meaningfully towards a more cohesive society
Speech by Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry, at the Launch of Thriving Singapore Virtual Exhibition
10 October 2020
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening! It is my pleasure to join you today as we launch “Thriving Singapore – a virtual exhibition”.
First of all, I would like to congratulate CreativesAtWork and ALH Studio for bringing together talented artists and performers to co-create their first immersive virtual exhibition. This is an innovative concept befitting of our current times. Through this online showcase, Singaporeans and people all over the globe are able to enjoy the exhibition on Thriving Singapore wherever they are.
The arts community has adapted well to the new ‘normal’ through transformation
When we look at how COVID-19 has transformed our world, do we view it as a glass that is half empty or half full?
While COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we live, work and play, it also presents us with opportunities to reflect and innovate. One innovation is the adoption of digital tools which can help artists develop and present their works digitally, to both existing and new audiences. Take for example, the collaborative art piece between two artists, Arai (‘Eh-rye’) and Ebao. This combined effort took place entirely online, without both artists having to meet physically! I applaud all the artists involved in today’s exhibition for seizing the opportunities presented during this difficult period. They have not let the pandemic stop them from collaborating with new partners, but instead, they have successfully leveraged technology to advance their art.
The Government is committed to supporting the continued development of our arts ecosystem, even during COVID-19. This project, like more than 400 others, was supported by the National Arts Council’s (NAC) Digital Presentation Grant (DPG). The DPG is part of the $55 million Arts & Culture Resilience Package, which seeks to safeguard the livelihoods of arts and culture practitioners, grow more opportunities for them, and encourage longer-term capability development to help the arts community emerge stronger after COVID-19.
The arts contributes meaningfully towards a more cohesive society
In times like these, the arts has the power to uplift our spirits and bring Singaporeans together as one united people. Thriving Singapore is an example of the power of co-creation resulting in an exhibition which we can be proud of.
Take for example, the watercolour painting digitised for this exhibition by Leach. Her work is an impression of a ‘Thriving Singapore’ represented through symbols such as trees, bridges and our city skyline. The images reflect Singapore as a modern city with skyscrapers and technological advancements – a lively hub that is still firmly connected to nature. The painting captures our cohesiveness as a society and the different “qualities” we have that keep us resilient and strong even as we navigate the new normal.
Strong partnerships between the Government, private sector and the public is key to maintaining a vibrant and sustainable arts sector
The Government is committed to sustaining a vibrant arts sector. MCCY and NAC will continue to work closely with the arts community, and together, with the people and private sectors, we can all overcome the challenges and emerge stronger from COVID-19.
I would like thank the organisers once again, as well as all the artists and creative professionals for putting together this exhibition. You have inspired us with the hope that Singapore will keep thriving in spite of all odds!