As part of its continuous focus on engaging young audiences, National Gallery Singapore launches the Children’s Festival: Small Big Dreamers 2018 from 9 June to 9 September to empower children to be creative, to imagine and reimagine the world around them, and build greater self-awareness through experiential art and active play. Each bi-yearly edition will be inspired by a Singaporean artist who dreams big and demonstrates that anything is possible, thereby inspiring others, especially the young ones, to follow suit.
This first edition spotlights the life and practice of Singaporean artist Lee Wen, a Big Dreamer in his own right. An internationally-recognised, multidisciplinary artist and one of the pioneers of performance art in Singapore, Lee Wen is known for the overwhelming sense of optimism and perseverance conveyed through his works despite his battle with Parkinson’s disease which limits his body movements.
The Festival will feature a special commission – A Waking Dream: Sun-Boy and Yellow Man and four other interactive installations that encourage visitors to create their very own stories – similar to how Lee Wen was guided by stories in his artistic practice.
The immersive Small Big Dreamer’s journey begins at the City Hall Foyer as one enters the dream-like world and encounters Sun-Boy and Yellow Man – two personas created by Lee Wen in his body of works.
From dancing around the spaces and creating the perfect soundtrack for their adventures using pots, pans, ladles and whisks, to journeying through obstacles with Yellow Man on the bridge or under a gazebo of red lanterns, visitors are encouraged to be led by their unfettered imagination and explore the different spaces fearlessly. This mirrors Lee Wen’s own leap of faith as he left the banking industry to dive into the art world as a performance artist.
From dreams to possibilities
The journey continues at the Koh Seow Chuan Concourse Gallery and Ngee Ann Kongsi Concourse Gallery, where visitors will open their minds to limitless possibilities through the installations by artists from the region and beyond. Hands On by We Make Carpets, a Dutch collective, spurs the visitors to create their very own artworks using simple everyday objects such as ropes, pool noodles and coloured velcro swatches.
Filipino artist, Mark Justiani introduces a new iteration to the popular Firewalk: A Bridge of Embers, 10-metre infinity bridge with an illusion of depth that crosses the boundaries between dreams and reality. teamLab creates a multitude of stories and fleeting encounters with characters such as rabbits and frogs hopping and leaping across the room.
Held in alternate years to each other, Children’s Festival: Small Big Dreamers will complement the Gallery Children’s Biennale, which was first launched by National Gallery Singapore in 2017, as part of its continued engagement to inspire young, curious minds through art. Children’s Festival anchors on the life and works of a Singaporean artist in the National Collection, whereas Gallery Children’s Biennale gathers the best of children’s art programming from the world for all our visitors.
General admission applies to Children’s Festival: Small Big Dreamers 2018