School of the Arts student does art work of paper planes with names of teachers who have left

It was removed by the school in about a day.

By Belmont Lay | May 18, 2017

A former teacher from the School of the Arts has shared on Facebook a poignant art piece done by one of the current students:

According to the post, the installation is an art work that showed downed paper planes with names of teachers who have left the school. They were stuck in the concrete crevices located just outside the general office on the fifth floor of the school.

Providing some background, a comment on the post said the work was done as part of the student’s “performance art masterclass” and there was “no intent to offend”.

However, it was also revealed that the piece was removed promptly as no permission was sought from the school beforehand for it to be displayed.

Whether this installation is a testament to the ephemeral nature of art, the cathartic expression of loss for those who came and went or an insider reaction to the realities of embarking on an arts education in what is still a conformist Singapore, no one knows for sure as the accompanying descriptions and comments are cryptic.

This is what the post said:

Yesterday, on the same day as all the ruckus about School of the Arts (SOTA) students not pursuing the arts after graduation, a current SOTA student put up an art installation in memory of the teachers who have left the school.

It consisted of folded paper airplanes stuck in the crevices between the concrete slabs on level 5. Written on each folded paper airplane was the name of a teacher who had left the school. The installation was located just outside the general office, near where the Vice-Principals’ offices are.

The art installation lasted about a day. It was removed by the school today.

As a former SOTA teacher, I would like to say thank you to the student who created that heartwarming, short-lived piece.

(The picture below was sent to me by my former students.)

Here is a comment providing the background of the art work, which also claimed that the student would be spoken to by the school:

Sota, founded in 2008, was in the news recently as it was reported that its graduates were embarking on non-arts-related university courses.

The Straits Times on May 16, 2017, reported that more Sota graduates are pursuing non-arts-related university courses, which appears to defeat the purpose of embarking on an arts education in the first place.

From ST:

Over 70 per cent of its graduates have gone on to pursue non-arts-related university courses, said Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu, in an address to award recipients.

At Sota, a maximum of 200 students per cohort take a six-year integrated arts and academic curriculum leading to the International Baccalaureate diploma or the career-related programme.

On top of their academic subjects, they must specialise in one arts subject – dance, music, theatre, literary arts, visual arts or film.

The percentage of graduates pursuing non-arts-related university courses has increased from 60 per cent in 2012 to 83 per cent in 2015.


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Related article:

12% turnover rate: School of the Arts teachers quitting constant in last 5 years


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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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