It is sometimes said, with both candour and a tinge of macabre humour, that the two main events which bring families and friends together, are weddings and funerals. A humanised city must give dignity to death and dying. Despite its significance, conversations around care, grief, and dying are often considered taboo in Singapore. Both Sides, Now is a project that uses artistic processes to normalise end-of-life conversations in public spaces.
In order to crystallise the essence of this project, the participants have placed a floral arrangement of Asiatic lilies in the centre of the table. These flowers are often seen in condolence wreaths, which are common gifts and symbolic gestures of sympathy for a family’s loss. The installation further draws upon the typology of the table used. These round tables are common fixtures in Chinese funerals, particularly those that are held in the void decks of housing flats, where loved ones and friends gather for conversations. Visitors are encouraged to spend time contemplating the questions provided. As a poetic reflection on these discussions, the lilies are allowed to wilt naturally as the exhibition runs.
Both Sides, Now is a multidisciplinary arts-based community engagement project on normalising end-of-life conversations and creating end-of-life friendly communities. Presented by Lien Foundation, Ang Chin Moh Foundation, Drama Box and ArtsWok Collaborative since 2013, with spatial design from Forest & Whale (2017 – 2019), the project has created and installed work with various diverse communities in Singapore on living well, and leaving well, with dignity.
Gira Gira Gira
Alla fine della tua vita,
cosa rendarà più facile accettare la morte?
Scrivi o disegna le tue risposte su una girandola
e lascia che soffino nel vento.
Turn, Turn, Turn
At the end of your life,
what will make it easier to accept death?
Write or draw your answers on a pinwheel
and let them blow in the wind.
We invite you to experience this work by creating your own pinwheel while reflecting on the question posed. Watch it turn, turn, turn while listening to aural work, “Life m0vements”.
Pinwheel materials are available on site for visitors or download your printable pinwheel template here.
Listen to “Life m0vements”, a work by artist anGie seah with a resident undergoing treatment for cancer.
With vignettes and sounds recorded in the intimacy of the latter’s home.
Watch this short film composed of a compilation of narratives and experiences of both young and old on living and leaving.
Featured works are screened on site as part of the Both Sides, Now installation.
“Some Things Lost, Some Things Gained” by Jasmine Ng Kin Kia (Executive Producer)
“remember to eat” by Shirley Soh (Artist)
“Akan Datang (Coming Soon) Susie’s Void Deck Voices” by Jasmine Ng Kin Kia (Director)
Kok Heng Leun is a prominent figure in the Singapore arts scene, as a theatre director, playwright, dramaturg and educator. He is known for his ability to engage the community on various issues through the arts, championing civil discourse across different segments of society. He served as a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2016-2018, representing the arts sector.
Ngiam Su-Lin is a respected creative producer, especially in the areas of arts and community development. She has produced numerous community theatre and festivals in collaboration with the public, people and private sectors. She plays a significant intermediary role through ArtsWok Collaborative which she co-founded to champion multi-disciplinary, collaborative approaches towards civic participation and social change work.
Wendy Chua is a multi-disciplinary designer who designs for longevity and curates future narratives. Her practice is focused on co-creation with communities, pedagogies to instill creativity in children, museum design and curatorial research. Her work has received the Electrolux Design Lab Award, Red Dot Design Award, Japan’s Good Design Award and the President’s Design Award.