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In an amalgam of tradition and art, the Singapore Tourism Board and St+Art India Foundation conceptualised the island city’s tallest art work titled ‘Dancing In Unison’. The mural was unveiled via a digital event on January 21, 2021.
The Singapore Tourism Board and St+Art Foundation have previously collaborated to bring other artistic projects to life, like the launch of STB’s ‘Passion Made Possible’ brand at Sassoon Docks, Mumbai in 2017 and Lodhi Art Festival, New Delhi in 2019.
With the world in the middle of a global pandemic, the partnership between STB and St+Art innovated its approach towards the expression of art. In the words of GB Srithar, STB’s Regional Director of India, Middle East and South Asia, “The limitations brought about by the COVID-19 did not stop us from innovating and showcasing a common passion for art between India and Singapore.”
‘Dancing In Unison’ is a celebration of the artistic collaboration between Padma Shri recipient Bhajju Shyam and self-taught visual artist Sam Lo. While Shyam is one of the living legends of Gond art, the traditional art form of Madhya Pradesh, Lo is a Singapore-based artist whose exceptional art work is an expression of social commentary based on his observations and the socio-political climate. As Giulia Ambrogi, co-founder of St+Art India Foundation, says, “The collaboration between Bhajju Shyam and Sam Lo is a timely reminder that despite differences, we are all connected in inherent ways.”The mural on the wall of the 7-storey Broadway Hotel in Little India is a visual delight that is symbolic of the dance between nature and an urban lifestyle. The tree is a token adapted from Gond artwork. With its painted trunk running across the windows of the building, it symbolises the universe where all elements of nature are interconnected, while the brightly sprayed sparrows stand for freedom (a recurrence in Sam’s work). The deer is again, a tribute to the classic Gond style, and an observable red ribbon running through the entire length of the mural, is reminiscent of an omnipresent motivation connecting the universe.The mural blends with the theme of the Singapore Artwalk 2021 which is ‘In Spite Of’. “The idea was to see how my style and Sam’s can have a conversation," says Bhajju Shyam. "As we started to delve into each other’s practice, we found similarities in our ways of seeing the world. There was a back and forth of sketches and ideas and organically individual elements stared to come together. The choice of colours was a mix of Sam’s contemporary palette and colours that are seen in my style of Gond. We collaboratively picked colours for the elements.”
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