SG Arts Museum works with artist playfully defying SIA's demure 'Singapore Girl'

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) has collaborated with artist Amanda Heng, to invite "women of all shapes and shades to join the Singirl Online Project". Its call to action was stated in a Facebook post it shared on 14 May on its official Facebook page. 

"Utilising the posterior, artist Amanda Heng puts forth a playful and defiant counterpoint to the 'Singapore Girl' – a demure image of the Singapore Airlines stewardess which grew to become a uniquely Singapore icon and standard for feminine identity," the post said. It also posed the question of how this project would challenge mainstream perceptions of gender and national identity. 

The Singirl project consists of a series that started in 2000. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE understands that Heng began the project to joke about the iconic Singapore Girl air stewardess that was deemed as an icon created by Singapore Airlines (SIA). According to Heng's bio on the NLB site,  Heng wanted the project to encourage people to question the stereotyping of women and also the reasons given for the destruction of heritage sites in Singapore in the name of economic development. The Singirl Online Project was started In 2011, to encourage women to sign up for the Singirl contingent. 

The Singirl Online Project's website has an interactive feature that allows users to scroll through the contingent of images and manipulate its motion.  MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to SAM and Heng for a comment regarding the project. 

According to its website, Singapore Airlines says that the Singapore girl was first born in the 70s which was a time of fashion, invention and transformation.” Yet she remains timeless across generations. Her beauty, unfading. Her elegance, always in style. Dressed in her signature sarong kebaya, she’s the symbol of Asian hospitality recognised the world over,” reads the description.

For many of us in the ad industry, we know the Singapore Girl to be introduced by Ian Batey in 1972 as an icon of the SIA brand. While many might argue that the Singapore Girl has over the years become just a sterotype of subservient women and is outdated in nature, she still remains one of the most iconic visual emblem for the brand.

Meanwhile, here are some iconic #throwback ads created by SIA which put the SIA girl front and centre.

Feeling nostalgic about travelling yet? We're with you.  

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