Artists, craftsmen to collaborate on special showcase at New Majestic Hotel

Singapore’s creative community will take over the New Majestic Hotel on its closing weekend as part of the Multiply event, featuring art, design, fashion and food. Photo: Multiply
Priyageetha Dia (picture) is one of the artists showcasing their artworks at Multiply, which will also feature design, fashion and food. Photo: Nadarajan Rajendran

Artists, craftsmen to collaborate on special showcase at New Majestic Hotel

The event, to feature a myriad of creative disciplines, will honour the hotel’s design roots

SINGAPORE — The “Sticker Lady” and “Golden Staircase” woman will be among more than 50 creative individuals coming together for a special event at the historic New Majestic Hotel building before it closes its doors on June 1.

To be held on May 27 and 28, Multiply: A Majestic Playground will feature works and wares from local artists, designers and craftsmen to honour the hotel’s creative roots.

Samantha Lo, also known as the Sticker Lady or SKLO, will be painting and wheat-pasting walls with some of her graphic artwork.

Lo is the spunky street artist who became known for her socially satirical work after she spray-painted “My Grandfather’s Road” on Telegraph Street and ran afoul of the law in 2012.

Lo will be collaborating with 10 other artists, whom she has “invited to come take over the walls (and some ceilings) with me”.

She said: “Everyone has something really unique to bring to the table, from carefully painted, intricate work to 3D installations involving rubber bands and origami. I’m really excited to see how they’re going to apply their disciplines to a public space such as this one.”

Priyageetha Dia, 25 — the artist behind the “golden staircase” at a Jalan Rajah HDB block — will also be showcasing her work at Multiply.

Her work will be a continuation from where “I left off with my little gold ‘memento’ on the stairs — it is more of a playful attempt at squares ‘drifting’ in space”.

Multiply is curated by Carolyn Kan, the founder of Keepers and jewellery atelier Carrie K, and jointly organised by Straits Clan, which is behind the new members-only lifestyle venue that will take over the building from June.

The New Majestic Hotel, which opened 11 years ago, was Singapore’s first design hotel, shining a spotlight on local designers and their work. At the time, emerging artists were invited to integrate their brand of artistry into the hotel’s spaces, alongside several well-known creative individuals from various disciplines who each had a hand in personalising a room at the establishment.

Commenting on the use of public spaces for art, Lo acknowledged the issue can be “tricky”. “We are talking about public spaces, and there is a sort of accountability expected of anyone who puts anything out there,” she said.

While not everyone may agree on the use of public spaces for art, Lo said “the intention behind the work should be the focus of the questions instead”.

That said, Lo acknowledged that there has been more effort put into developing public art in Singapore in recent years. “Opening more spaces is a form of acknowledging the potential in this creative area,” she said.

Dia, however, feels that public art in Singapore needs to “move on from cliche murals and uninteresting sculptures”.

She said: “I find that there is a lack of art beyond the ‘white cube’ gallery model, and it’s not just about murals you can find under your HDB void deck.”

Anyone can put a piece of work in a public space “in an attempt to ‘activate’ the significance of it”, but Dia feels it needs to “go beyond that”.

She added: “Public art is a dynamic, multi-faceted field, and it is not limited to just murals. It’s a field to enquire, activate and educate, and not just be representational of the community we live in.”

Lo, who most recently created a vivid, large-scale, nature-inspired mural at the Arjan Garh metro station in New Delhi, said: “With more opportunities for artists to show their work and the impact this has on people, we can only hope that there will be more steps taken to evolve public perception of public art after this introduction stage. We are taking baby steps here, but we are going somewhere.”

Multiply: A Majestic Playground takes place next Saturday and Sunday at the New Majestic Hotel, 31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road.