The previous life of Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) was named Singapore Arts Festival. I totally enjoyed the programmes back then, yet I could not say I loved the Festival. Now I can, with the three-year old SIFA and its pre-festival segment The O.P.E.N, indeed I can. I am thankful to its previous lives, for without them there wouldn’t be something to build on.
Before I state my reasons, I feel the need and urge to put up a special mention of The Sardono Retrospective Presents: Expanded Cinema (free admission) in this year’s SIFA, and related performances The Sardono Retrospective Presents: Solo Live Painting, and The Sardono Retrospective Presents: Black Sun.
Here is why I love SIFA, and The O.P.E.N:
- I don’t need another conventionally-proper and world-renowned symphony orchestra or choir or opera or Shakespeare, however, I welcome Borderlands, Ron Arad’s 720° (oh my gosh this one is free admission!), Paradise Interrupted, Hamlet | Collage, and Sandaime Richard.
2. Festival Director Mr Ong Keng Sen is involved from head to toe, he had been seen in performances at past SIFA, always making the effort to perform in at least one production or to present something. He is an artist!
Check out Sandaime Richard by him and Hideki Noda, as well as “an added performative component in collaboration with Festival Director Ong Keng Sen” in THE KULA RING Aesthetic Considerations Of Sharing And Exchange (this one is free admission too!).
3. Affordable pricing; O.P.E.N Pass/SIFA FRIEND; generous discounts.
4. SIFA, and The O.P.E.N present “the darnest” (in the most positive and favourable way) and the most eye-opening events it can bring to Singapore.
For instance, I Am LGB; Everything By My Side; Five Easy Pieces; Ibsen: Ghosts; Sixty-Six; Dances And Ceremonies: Spring/Summer 2017; Artist Workshop by Qetiq & Mukaddas Mijit, just to name a few.
5. SIFA is open to and opts for interesting/thought-provoking/heart-warming venues.
Let’s say, The Projector (for film screening), houses of members of the public, Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, Bukit Brown Cemetery, just to name a few.