MENTALLY fatigued from handling a deluge of commercial photography projects, professional shutterbugs Samuel He, Ivan Tan and Juliana Tan spent a day in Joo Chiat last October on a "creative break".
The trio photographed several residents and visitors in the area against the backdrop of Peranakan- themed houses in Koon Seng Road, eventually weaving these individual photographs into a large "family portrait" they call a "community quilt".
"It is like seeing the neighbourhood in a different light. This is a place that is not touristy and where Singaporeans feel much at home; it represents who we are as a people," Ms Tan, 24, said of their photographic tapestry.
Deciding to take their project further, the trio applied to the SG50 Celebration Fund to expand the scale of their work to cover eight neighbourhoods and popular places. The fund, set up to encourage ground-up initiatives from Singaporeans to celebrate the nation's golden jubilee next year, gave the nod to their proposal, granting them the maximum $50,000.
Their idea is among 14 that will receive funding, the SG50 steering committee said yesterday.
At least $5 million has been set aside for the fund, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, a member of the SG50 committee.
The amount may be increased should more proposals flow in and get the nod, he added at a press conference on the celebratory events for the big birthday bash.
More than 100 project ideas have been received since the door was opened for fund seekers. Officials are still poring over the mound of applications in search of the gems that will shine. Among the proposals are ideas for musical and visual art performances, charity initiatives and publication projects.
Each project can get up to $50,000, depending on its scale and scope.
Mr Wong said: "I am encouraged by these passionate Singaporeans who are actively coming forward to make a unique contribution to the celebrations by driving their own project."
He would like to see more.
People can apply for funding until August next year.
Meanwhile, Ms Tan, Mr He, 31, and Mr Tan, 26, said the seven other places they have in mind for their project include Bedok Jetty, Little India and Raffles Place MRT station.
Their photographic work will be printed on stickers measuring 1.5m tall and 8m wide. These will be exhibited at various spots in each location they photograph.
"It is our way of giving a shoutout and to show there are beautiful, definitive spaces and people in Singapore whom we pass by in our daily lives without ever noticing. When people notice, we feel they will come to appreciate our home a little more," said Mr Tan.
Other projects that will be given funding include a publication of the stories and experiences of 50 members of Singapore's pioneer generation and a multicultural song composition that will make use of Malay drums and Chinese string instruments. The song was an idea conceived by civil servant Logapreyan Renganathan, 42, and student Bhargav Sriganesh, 21.
Mr Renganathan said: "It may seem far-fetched to come up with a song since we are not stars or professional musicians, but it is about galvanising people through small ideas. We have already got the lyrics and a raw tune down; we are getting a music director to arrange the song, but want regular Singaporeans to be a part of it.''
A celebration for all
- Youth Celebrate!
It will rally young Singaporeans and celebrate achievements in fields such as the arts and sports. Highlights include the National School Games Track and Field competition and a novelty football match pitting school kids against national players.
- SG Heart Map
A way for Singaporeans to share stories of the 50 places they define as "home". The collection of stories, sketches, videos or photographs, among other things, will be crowd sourced over five months.
- My SG Trails and Exhibitions
Singapore will be seen through the eyes of youth via walking trails and exhibitions. These will be designed by students from primary to university level, and showcase places they are proud of.
- SG50 Lecture Series
A series of forums and conferences where local and international thought leaders will give their take on Singapore's future and what it has achieved. Lectures will be open to the public.
- Let's Makan
A community initiative that will provide a starter kit with tips on games, activities and food to people who want to hold potluck sessions featuring local fare for their neighbours.
- Jubilee Walk
To cover historic locations in the civic district and Marina Bay area, the walking trail will incorporate a new pedestrian bridge that will stretch from Merlion Park to Marina Promenade, and four new public art installations to mark Singapore's 50th year of independence.
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