Art takes you places you didn't mean to go - a saying that turned into reality for 22 Singaporean artists. The senior artists from the Singapore Art Society (SAS) were given the opportunity to carry a slice of Singapore to India through an art exhibition called The Nanyang Spirit which depicts the multiculturalism in Singapore.
The exhibition, from March 11 to 21, was a collaboration between SAS and the Art Spice Gallery located at The Metropolitan Hotel in New Delhi. On display were the artists' own depictions of Singapore through Chinese splash paintings and blurred images of people and city life.
It proved to be a monumental cultural exchange programme between Singapore and India as the artists showcased 44 works based on the Singaporean "Nanyang" theme which denotes the identity of the Chinese population in South-east Asia and blends multiple stylistic techniques of the East and West.
Said curatorial director Vidhya Gnana Gouresan: "Most of the artists are representatives of the spirit of the Nanyang style. They have experienced the changes as Singapore grew from the end of World War II and have entwined this element of modernity into their paintings. This creates an amazing cultural and educational experience for the artists as well as those who attended who saw Singapore from the artist's perspective."
The event, supported by Singapore Airlines, the Singapore embassy in India and Singapore Tourism Board, was well attended by people from all walks of life. The exhibition's opening ceremony was attended by Singapore's high commissioner to India Lim Thuan Kuan.
The artists also did some artwork in front of the audience during the opening ceremony on three different canvases using three different techniques.
"The 22 of us split into three groups to do some on the spot demonstration. There were at least seven people to each canvas and we all combined and created art pieces using different techniques. One canvas was an abstract using watercolours, giving it a modern feel. The second group used oil and the third used Chinese ink," said SAS president Terence Teo Chin Keong.
"The audience was very happy. I noticed that there was an automatic change in colour in our paintings - it was more vibrant. This may have been due to our surroundings and the audience."
Though there is an annual cultural exchange programme arranged by SAS, this is the first exchange to involve such a big group. The trip was also an opportunity for the artists to visit places such as Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Jodhpur. For many of them, it was their first time visiting India.