An Honest Cross Section

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Beloved biscuits brand, Julie’s, has spent the significant part of the first two quarters of 2014 inviting and asking people ‘Who is the Best of You?’ An abstract, open-ended question that sounds more like it belongs as a year-end Cambridge art topic for the Drawing & Painting segment, but nonetheless, they asked this question all the same.

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The question and resulting responses, collated from the likes of Kumar and Michelle Chong, an edible art installation by Janice Wong of 2am:dessertbar (who presents a very sweet-smelling, edible art installation), illustrator/embroiderer Teresa Lim and MINDS Lee Kong Chian Gardens School, amongst others, and are presented in an exhibition in the Marina Square atrium which runs till this Sunday, 26 October 2014.

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Walking around the exhibit space, if you aren’t paying close attention to the exhibits, the curation can quite easily be lost. Weaving through the temporary walls, slew of frames, posters and artwork write-ups, upon closer inspection, and if you stay ever so still, you’ll feel a distinct buzz in the space. An almost containable sort of energy that subtly creeps from the many corners and fills the exhibition venue.

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I believe the energy comes from the works on display. The far-reaching corners of Singapore from where these stories are plucked and put together that emotes. My closest reference to this is probably a National Day-themed exhibition, which tends to present Singapore in the simplified heuristics of Chinese, Malay, Indian & Other (or CMIO, as the abbreviation in referred to heavily, in certain circles). Just as ‘gender-neutral’ism is becoming a thing in Sweden, and we are struggling with gender stereotypes, still (there was some ridiculous attempt at a case for stereotypes in The Straits Times online forum). I feel that these simplified categorizations provide flawed presentations of each race.

Anyway, I digress.

How does this all relate back to the exhibition? Well, I feel that this showcase presents, possibly, the most honest cross-section of Singapore I’ve ever seen. High income, low income, heterosexual, LGBTQIA, artistic, scientific, able, handicapable, traditional and non-traditional family units, any the spectrums in between, I think I caught a glimpse of at least some, if not all, of these represented in the exhibition.

And I think it was nice, for a change, to have everyone acknowledged, even if its through a brand exhibition.

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If you can, I highly recommend spending about an hour and a half, at least to experience most of the exhibition. Particularly the videos by our very own film-making heavy-weights – Boo Junfeng, Liao Jie Kai, and Royston Tan.

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Boo Junfeng’s video (above)

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Liao Jie Kai’s video (above)

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Royston Tan’s video (above and below)

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I’m not typically a person who enjoys videos, but I was quite surprised to find that I really enjoyed Royston’s video.

In contrast with the bulk of exhibits, which took on a very positive spin to the theme. Talking about the person, activity, idea, place etc. which brings out the best in them, I felt that Royston’s video touched on a much darker topic of a failed relationship, and that being a defining moment. At least, that’s how I interpreted the video. And, I can relate.

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The Best of You exhibition

22 October to 26 October 2014

Marina Square, Central Atrium
6 Raffles Boulevard
Singapore 039594

Entry is free.

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