'The Future of Our Pasts Festival': Yale-NUS interprets Singapore's history through the arts in conjunction with the Bicentennial

'The Future of Our Pasts Festival': Yale-NUS interprets Singapore's history through the arts in conjunction with the Bicentennial

200 years on

Text: Aravin Sandran

Programming efforts have begun rolling out for Singapore's Bicentennial, which commemorates the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles in Singapore. Following the recent unveiling of the Bicentennial logo in December, Yale-NUS College has launched The Future of Our Pasts Festival (TFOOPFest).The month-long festival that kicks off in mid-February 2019 will bring to light untold narratives of local communities, places and people through various activations around the city.

A total of 11 projects including documentaries, installatons and exhibitions have been conceived by current students and recent graduates in Singapore and overseas, in an effort to weave together multiple perspectives of Singapore's history through art and cultural themes as diverse as architecture and inter-racial relationships.

Here's a round-up of the top picks from the festival's projects.

Exhibition: Remembering Sungei
20 February to 3 March
DECK, 120A Prinsep Street

Closed permanently in July 2017, the Sungei Road Thieves Market was a haunt for second-hand collectors. This exhibition examines perceptions of value and heritage in Singapore by focusing on objects that were sold at the market and features video interviews of vendors discussing their experience selling and interacting with customers at the market.

Music performance: Sarong Party
22 and 23 February
LASALLE College of the Arts

Distinctively local and optimistic, local band The MadHatter Project is holding a listening party titled Sarong Party. Mashing music, poetry and art centred around Singapore's colonial history, this mixed-media experience is set to be just as entertaining and witty as their previous outings that included songs about Teochew porridge and Harry Potter.

10 March
SPRMRKT, 41 Robertson Quay

MEANTIME will blend a hybrid of documentary and fiction. It features original writing, forgotten old photographs and illustrations to tell the stories of older couples who met in Singapore. From a first date at the cinema in the 1950s to a family day out at an amusement park in the 1970s, each page is laced with nostalgia and memories to last a lifetime.

Film screening: Rojak Romance
10 and 16 March
The Projector and Indian Heritage Centre

A young mixed race couple (Tinesh, a Malaysian Ceylonese Tamil male and Jane, a Chinese American female) confronts their differing religious backgrounds, discusses their expectations around children, and meets each others' families in Rojak Romance. Following the documentary's screening, there will be a post-show dialogue with Tinesh, Jane and the filmmakers.


The Future of Our Pasts Fesitval will run from 16 February to 17 March 2019 at various locations.

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