Some reactions to artist’s golden staircase in Jalan Besar is why S’pore might never art
Where art thou art?
If you’ve ever thought our HDB flats look a little drab and dreary, one of the flats in Jalan Besar has got the bling on.
Priyageetha Dia, a student from Lasalle, has gilded a flight of stairs on the 20th floor of Block 103 Jalan Rajah.
Her golden staircase work of art is accompanied by a thoughtful exposition on the thin line between art and vandalism, seeing that her project makes use of the public space.
In essence, she considers it art because her work “does not seek to obliterate a public space, [while] vandalism in all sense has no respect for another individual”.
Her full post is as follows:
Response from the Jalan Besar Town Council, however, has not been favourable.
According to Today, a town council spokesperson called the work “unauthorised” and “not permissible”, as it violates the Town Council’s Common Property and Open Spaces By-laws.
The good news is, there may be potential for future collaboration between the two as the town council has reached out to the artist.
People of the internet, as always, are divided on the project. Many have supported Priya on her post, and even provided suggestions on how to take her work further:
Others, however, are less than encouraging:
But for those who are concerned, you’ll be pleased to know that the stairs are not slippery:
In the midst of the raging debate about art and vandalism, this incident appears highly reminiscent of Samantha Lo (aka Sticker Lady), circa 2012.
Once arrested for stencilling “My Grandfather Road” on the streets and pasting stickers on public spaces, she has since collaborated with the organisers of a street carnival to officially re-create, on large scale, the very same thing she was penalised for.
Regardless of the slippery definitions and fluid boundaries between art and vandalism, expressions like these challenge the monotony of everyday life enough to spark conversation.
And that’s saying something — not just about the project’s contentious status, but also about our outlook.
Because artists working with the authorities can sometimes reek of selling out.