Works of Indian artists and writers displayed at four libraries here

SINGAPORE - The artworks by four Singapore artists are inspired by Singaporean English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil literature. And two of them feature the work of Indian Singaporeans M. Balakrishnan and Chandran Nair and permanent resident Kasinathan Baskar.

From now to August, the National Arts Council (NAC) in partnership with the National Library Board (NLB) present the second Project LAVA in the Libraries - with a multilingual focus. Project LAVA aims to put Singaporean writing in the spotlight and to celebrate the nation's writers and artists.

The art piece Bird Sanctum (right) was created by Baskar. This installation was inspired by renowned author Balakrishnan's novel, Kuruvi Kottam (Bird Sanctuary). It portrays the unique idea and style of the author. As in the novel, birds are used as characters to trace Singapore's social culture and the impact of modern migration.

Baskar is a contemporary visual artist who has a bachelor's degree (distinction) in painting. He has also displayed a flair for poetry, receiving the Golden Point Award for poetry in Tamil consecutively in 2011 and 2013.

Balakrishnan, also known by his pen name Ma Ilangkannan, has published more than 60 short stories, five collections of short stories, three novels and three novellas. Some of his short stories have been published in newspapers as well, translated into Malay and English, made into a television series and used in anthologies. In 2005, he received the Cultural Medallion for his contributions to literature in Singapore.

Another artwork (a series of three ink paintings) by one of the four artists, Malcolm Koh, was co-inspired by a poem Lallang by another famous author and poet Chandran Nair. He is also a painter, theatre practitioner and retired mediator of UNESCO in Paris. Nair started writing at an early age and in 1972, he published his first book of poems, Once The Horsemen and Other Poems. He also writes stories which have been published in several anthologies.

The art piece Bird Sanctum is currently at library@chinatown. Each piece of art will be on display at one of the four libraries for a month and will then move to a different library for another month. The four libraries are Jurong Regional Library, library@chinatown, Bedok Public Library, and Ang Mo Kio Public Library.

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