After a night of merrymaking and revelry on Day #1 at the Singapore Weekender, we rolled out of bed for another fun-filled day at the Sassoon Dock. The largest and arguably, the smelliest fish market in Mumbai seemed like such a strange choice, but a little conversation with the local fishermen made us see the beauty in it. After all, how poetic it is that a cultural weekend is slated to happen at the most ignored point of the city that never sleeps.
As we entered, it felt like a different world altogether. There were installations by popular Singaporean artists that dotted corners and frankly were far better than what I could possibly fathom. While we already knew what to expect, looking at the creation in person was somehow putting it all in such wonderful perspective. Let’s get to know their work a little better, shall we?
1. The Yok & Sheryo
So this quirky duo has been working together for the past 7 years and has created jaw-dropping installations all across the globe. Here, at the Singapore Weekender, they created an installation and three other murals inspired by the fishing culture of the dock.
The first installation was a larger-than-life rendition of the fishermen’s boats almost akin to Lord Varuna’s faithful vessel ‘Makara’. As a gesture saluting the efforts of the Koli community of Mumbai, they included a real-life fisherman’s boat in a unique way. It’s something now, isn’t it?
While talking to them, the duo told us about how they used to take long walks along the dock and how it inspired them to use the local song ‘Me dolkar’ (that translates to ‘As the golden sun sets, the ocean turns red’) in one of their murals. Check it out!
The other two murals were a combination of both Singaporean and Indian elements, married together in the best possible way. The first one had two Koli women sitting on the Singaporean Merlion and the second one is their own perception of the Bengal Tiger.
If you haven’t already then do go check it out at the Sassoon Dock Art Project.
2. Knuckles & Notch
Knuckles & Notch are a Risograph print and publishing studio who collaborated with Bombay Underground for a Zine Fest at the Singapore Weekender.
The Zinefest was definitely one of the most interesting parts of the whole event. Zines are self-published books that talk about protests, movements and similar social issues. But here, a lot of humorous and witty ones were showcased too.
The ZineFest had short compilations about everything from feminism and menstruation to drawings by kids of Dharavi. Given that books are my guilty pleasure, I ended up roaming around their workshop for hours at a stretch.
3. Daren Soh
Now here’s a landscape and architectural artist who clicks unique pictures of urban landscapes and buildings.
His work picks up a lot from the cosmopolitan nature of the city Mumbai and it was refreshing to see the unique side of the city through his lens. A quick look at his Instagram account shows how artistically he has drawn a parallel between Mumbai and Singapore which quite frankly is not an easy feat to achieve. And guess what? His work is available to be seen by all until the end of the festival. You know what to do now!
4. Tan Zi Xi
Saving the best for the last, Tan Zi Xi’s was the most thoughtful and moving installation. In a very simple yet hard-hitting way, she showed the destruction we have caused to our oceans.
Plastic Ocean by Tan Zi Xi (@messymsxi) Singaporean artist Tan zi xi’s installation, ‘Plastic Ocean’ is an awareness call towards the ignored plight inside Mumbai’s coasts. For two and a half weeks, the artist and her team sewed together nearly 400 kgs of plastic, that was sourced with the help of Banyan Nation, to put this installation together. Through Plastic Ocean, Singaporean artist Tan zi xi gives us a glimpse into the life of a fish. Her installation seems like a never ending ocean of plastic, amplified by mirrors that cover the walls of the room. Come by the #Sassoondockartproject to experience this mesmerising installation yourself. Massive thanks to @visit_singapore for supporting this project Festival supported by @asianpaints 📸 @messymsxi
She used the recycled waste that was thrown into the water bodies, cleaned each of them individually with the help of local women & volunteers and made a visual depiction of how fishes living in the ocean might feel. The idea was to lie down and experience the installation to get an idea of how fishes feel when they live in polluted waters.
And TBH, I couldn’t escape the sinking feeling of the wrongs we’ve done to the environment we live in. This is something you should actually go and experience. Do check it out at the Sassoon Dock Art Project to truly understand its meaning.
Day 2 of the Singapore Weekender ended with all of us taking in the amazing artwork and being completely spellbound. But the fun was not over yet, with the finale of the Weekender remaining, we could only wonder what to expect next. And here’s a hint – A dance-off.
Hold your horses, everyone, it’s gonna be epic!