Warisan Kita (Our Heritage) Mural Project
On 21 November 2015 at 10.00 am, as part of its commemoration of Singapore’s golden jubilee (SG50) celebrations, the Malay Heritage Foundation Ltd (MHF) unveiled the Warisan Kita (Our Heritage) mural at the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC). Mr Ong Yew Huat, Chairman, National Heritage Board graced the occasion as the Guest-of-Honour.
The unveiling of the Warisan Kita (Our Heritage) mural is the final phase in a journey that began in June 2015. More than 170 participants from all walks of life had participated in a series of 10 clay tiles workshops at the Malay Heritage Centre between 12 June 2015 and 9 August 2015. After five (5) months, the mural was finally ready to be unveiled to the public for their first time.
Warisan Kita mural is also one the projects featured in this year’s Arts in Your Neighbourhood programme by National Arts Council.
The Warisan Kita mural project is a first on many fronts. It is an art work that is not commissioned to a particular artist. Instead, it is a result of a grounds-up and collaborative art-making process involving members of the public – almost all are working with clay for the first time. The youngest participant is 2 years old while the oldest is in her 70s. As shared by participant Chong Yit Mei, “It makes people part of creating history.”
Secondly, unlike a jigsaw puzzle, there is no prescribed picture that will provide clues as to where all the pieces will fit into. The final picture is formed organically, with each piece playing its own important role to complete the picture. 159 clay tiles have been selected to form this specially curated mural that will be displayed at the Malay Heritage Centre. Each tile has their own story to tell and when placed together, the mural is a showcase of our rich and diverse cultural heritage and a shared appreciation of Singapore. The tiles have been interspersed with empty spaces to represent windows to the future stories that are yet to be told. This symbolises the dynamism of our cultural heritage that is continuously evolving in order to stay relevant and memorable to its generation. Finally, it is probably the only mural that is being displayed outdoors and easily accessible to members of the public so that they can go up close and personal to appreciate it. We hope it will also inspire new social conversations and interactions.
In conjunction with the project, a limited-edition publication, Warisan Kita has also been produced to document the processes involved in the creation of this traditional art form, including the behind-the-scenes activities. This will be a useful resource that can be used for future reference for anyone interested to find out more about this art form.
The project was made possible through the collaboration with many partners. Among them are ceramic artists from Jalan Bahar Clay Studios, Temasek Potters and Ahmad Abu Bakar – all of whom are students of Pak Iskandar Jalil, Master Potter and recipient of Cultural Medallion for Visual Arts(1988), Public Service Star (2012)and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette (2015). 10 youth volunteers coordinated by Creative Muslim Youth Kakis – a youth collective from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and LaSalle College of the Arts, lent their helping hand to ensure that the workshop sessions ran smoothly. The project is also one of the initiatives under the SG50 Kita Service to the Nation Week and supported by the Harmony Fund (MCCY), National Arts Council and our generous donors.