40,000 people all painting with one heart

It has taken six months and 1,300 litres of batik dye to complete what has been dubbed the longest and largest artpiece ever created in Singapore.

The finishing touches were added on Wednesday to the batik painting, measuring 360m in length and 10m in width, by about 100 pupils from Meridian Primary School.

The cloth painting will deck the route at next year's Chingay Parade, set to take place on Feb 7 and 8 at the F1 Pit Building.

It was completed during a Chingay media conference held at the school in Pasir Ris.

Made of 260 cloth panels sewn together, the artwork features different flower motifs, including the national flower Vanda Miss Joaquim. Entitled "Paint with One Heart", the project began in May and is the combined work of some 40,000 participants comprising Singaporeans and immigrants.

Local batik art trainer Ika Sarkasi, 46, said he and his wife outlined the floral motifs for the artwork while the actual painting was done by the participants.

He said: "It was a challenge for me as a facilitator but what mattered was that everyone had fun."

Mr Ang Hak Seng, chief executive director of the People's Association, which has organised the parade since its inception, said 20 per cent of the artwork's participants were new immigrants. He told reporters: "Through the co-creation of fabric arts such as batik painting, we hope to bring together people of diverse backgrounds across Singapore - people from all generations, races, religions and estates."

Some 70,000 people are expected to take part in next year's parade, which is themed "Colours of Fabric, One People."

Local talents who will be involved in the parade include music director Goh Kheng Long, 46, who has worked with Taiwanese singer-actor Wang Lee Hom. Mr Goh composed and arranged the parade's opening song - "Paint With One Heart".


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