Singapore Bicentennial Office decides to make iconic Sir Stamford Raffles disappear

Now you see him, now you don't! The Singapore Bicentennial Office (SBO) has confirmed that they were behind the “disappearing” of the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, located along the Singapore River. SBO had commissioned the optical illusion to set the context of the commemoration of the Singapore Bicentennial, in a bid to spark "fruitful" conversations on the history of Singapore.

The Singapore Bicentennial, which will officially launch on 28 January 2019, marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the British in 1819, one of the key turning points in our history. Singapore will commemorate its 200th, but the SBO has slightly different plans for the commemoration in 2019. It recognises that there were other significant milestones in the nation’s journey, which began some 500 years before the British arrived in Singapore. There were also many who arrived in 1819 and in the years that followed, who contributed greatly to the nation. This optical illusion on the Sir Stamford Raffles statue is thus done in a bid to engage Singaporeans in an open dialogue on the arrival of the British, and the contributions of those who came before and after.

In a statement to Marketing, a SBO spokesperson said that this was an invitation to explore the nation's longer history. The trick-eye effect was created in partnership with local artist Teng Kai Wei, who specialises in public sculptures. He has also worked at last year's Singapore Night Festival. Also in line with the 200th anniversary of Stamford Raffles’ arrival in Singapore, the Singapore Bicentennial office launched a new bicentennial logo. However, the logo does not just commemorate the 200 years of history but aims to mark Singapore’s history since the 1300s.

Reflecting the nation’s journey, the new logo comprises seven poly-shapes, each representing one century for a total of 700 years of Singapore’s history. According to a statement, the poly-shapes are refined into a circle to symbolise the nation’s transformation throughout time, adapting and evolving to become present-day Singapore.

In June last year, Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) appointed  J. Walter Thompson Company Singapore (JWT), comprising J. Walter Thompson and Mirum, as its agency partner to handle integrated marketing communications and engagement for the Singapore Bicentennial account.