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Have you seen these themed MRT trains by the National Arts Council yet?

Have you seen these themed MRT trains by the National Arts Council yet?

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Commuters on the North East Line will be greeted by a themed train decked out with selected art works from Singapore Art Week 2024 (SAW) from 8 to 28 January 2024, as part of a three-year partnership between the National Arts Council (NAC) and Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Seven train stations along the same Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line will also be enlivened with murals as part of the partnership.

Envisioned as an art trail, the initiative aims to give the public a head-start in viewing the artworks that will be showcased throughout SAW, which will be taking place from 19 to 28 January 2024, according to a statement by NAC.

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In particular, the themed train will feature a piece of art titled “My Mother Says”, a tapestry of sayings and words of wisdom. It is a co-creation involving 20 Tampines Changkat residents in which participants shared their stories and preserved the wisdom encapsulated in their elders’ words by transmuting them into light installations through creative typography. This was a product of a three-week workshop under the SAW x PAssionArts project.

Other artworks will highlight precincts across seven MRT stations, namely Bugis, Bencoolen, Dhoby Ghaut, Little India, Rochor, Paya Lebar, and HarbourFront. Through these, the public can also learn about a diverse range of SAW Open Call projects in the respective areas, presented through wall decals designed by the artists themselves.

The partnership between NAC and LTA seeks to bring the arts closer to the public in land transport spaces and public transport commutes through commissioned artworks by Singapore artists and arts organisations.

Additionally, the two parties are also working on enlivening under-utilised spaces below viaducts with local artworks. These initiatives also seek to deepen collaborations between NAC, LTA, and other stakeholders in a bid to bring more arts into public transport nodes and commuting experiences.

The collaboration was launched with Low Yen Ling, minister of state, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Trade and Industry.

“This partnership forms a part of our broader vision to transform Singapore into a distinctive city with many accessible spaces for people to enjoy the arts wherever they are,” said Low. She added that the initiative aligns with the country’s strategic roadmap for arts and culture policies, “Our SG Arts Plan (2023 – 2027)”, which aims to foster inclusivity, vibrancy, and opportunity through the arts.

Besides refreshing their journey, the artworks will create a greater appreciation for local talents as commuters enjoy art on the go. The public showcase will enable artists to reach and grow new audiences through a wider platform, according to Low.

She explained that by bringing the arts to commuter spaces, the initiative will enhance the vibrancy of common areas and brighten the quality of travel and daily life for Singaporeans.

“Our partnership with LTA unlocks greater opportunities for the public to encounter and appreciate the arts in familiar yet unconventional spaces,” said Low Eng Teong, chief executive officer at NAC.

“We hope to continue opening up more spaces as creative canvasses to integrate the arts into our everyday lives and surroundings, complementing efforts to create a distinctive city and endearing home for all,” he added.

Ng Lang, chief executive at LTA, added that the partnership with NAC will enrich LTA’s existing Art in Transit (AIT) programme, bringing artworks closer to commuters and enlivening transport nodes.

“With millions of commuters taking public transport daily, our MRT stations and bus interchanges present an ideal canvas for artists to showcase their works, creating vibrant spaces that enhance the commute,” he added, expressing commitment to collaborate with more partners through AIT to foster closer public connection with the arts.

In the second half of 2024, the public can also anticipate the launch of an artwork under a selected viaduct, supported by the Public Art Trust initiative. The commissioned artist will work with the community to develop a large-scale artwork that aims to rejuvenate train viaducts and reflect the characteristics of the precinct.

The partnership follows the NAC-SMRT Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in August 2023, which seeks to enliven commuting spaces through music, poetry, and busking.

This comes shortly after LTA launched the first of its three-part film series that aims to educate Singaporeans about the readiness of supporting the electric vehicle infrastructure in Singapore.

Titled “Now Showing on Roads Near You”, the campaign leverages the power of cinematic storytelling, along with a pun on the language of cinema in our everyday lexicon to ensure electric vehicle readiness is hyper-visible to the public.

The first film of the series was created in the style of an adrenaline-pumping action thriller, following a protagonist who finds out that his mother is being held hostage.

Related articles:
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SG arts and culture portal releases rap song starring local talent
National Arts Council to liven up arts and culture scene with slew of new partnerships

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