From the solo exhibition of Zhang Bin

It’s seems that creativity is something very hard to master here in Singapore, yet I see it everyday, in the sticker art that litters (beautifying) Orchard Road’s lightposts. But just was does it mean to be inspired to be creative?

In China, inspiration means stealing someone else’s better idea and making it for less, then flooding the global market with it. In the US, there’s a saying, “if you copy one person, it’s plagerism. If you copy many people, it’s research.” Here in Singapore, it seems to be, if it works in the US or Britian, slap Singapore on front of it and it will work here. But ultimately I guess, inspiration means to find your own way while travelling down the road that others have taken before you. The key to that is to find your own way, down the old way, by trying creatively to find a new way, to cast your seeds out and see what grows of it.

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Sometimes that seed of creativity falls on the fertile soil of possibility and from it sprout memories that last a lifetime. There are other times that the same creative seed falls on the barren rock of hapless circumstance, allowing forth the gnarled branches of the unforgettable tree of regret. This month, we look at some artists who have decided to create their own fertile soil, by setting up their own artists colony in Little India (page 20), and in the process have created some ground-breaking of their own in this little city with global aspirations.

Already, we’ve attracted the attentions of international artists, like the solo exhibition of Zhang Bin, (at Art Seasons Gallery, #5 Gemmill Lane) who from the 7th to the 6th of August will be showing his show, Yangbanxi, his novel re-interpretation of the “Model Operas” that Mao used to enforce conformity of opinion and behaviour. It’s irony at work here folks, inspired by anti-capitalist artworks, now for sale in the world capitol of capitalism.

Another crewe that’s taking something (drum’n’bass in this case) and done something original and great with it is Subversive, who this 16th will have their 2nd anniversary at Home on the Riverwalk, with Zul and Vortex on the decks. If you haven’t already picked up the phone to buy tickets, there’s something wrong with your knowledge of music.

In the interest of encouraging you to educate yourself on the influences of your own style and inspirations, I would like to leave you with a personal anecdote. Some years back, I got a funky T-shirt with some Asian-looking characters on the front. I thought I was pretty hip sporting it. When I went to my parent’s house for a visit, my dad pulled out his Mandarin dictionary and translated it for me. Turns out, my ignorant little self had been running around town with a t-shirt that read, quite simply, Rice Head.

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