Singapore's Tallest Mural Blends Gond and Urban Art

Singapore's Tourism Board and StArt digitally launched the 7 feet mural, a beautiful blend of Gond adivasi art and urban street art
A portion of the mural
A portion of the mural

In an amalgam of tradition and art, the Singapore Tourism Board and StArt India Foundation conceptualised the island city&rsquos tallest art work titled &lsquoDancing In Unison&rsquo. The mural was unveiled via a digital event on&nbspJanuary 21, 2021.

The Singapore Tourism Board and StArt Foundation have previously collaborated to bring other artistic projects to life, like the launch of STB&rsquos &lsquoPassion Made Possible&rsquo 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 StArt innovated its approach towards the expression of art. In the words of GB Srithar, STB&rsquos Regional Director of India, Middle East and South Asia, &ldquoThe limitations brought about by the COVID-19 did not stop us from innovating and showcasing a common passion for art between India and Singapore.&rdquo

&lsquoDancing In Unison&rsquo 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 StArt India Foundation, says, &ldquoThe collaboration between Bhajju Shyam and Sam Lo is a timely reminder that despite differences, we are all connected in inherent ways.&rdquo

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&rsquos 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 &lsquoIn Spite Of&rsquo. &ldquoThe idea was to see how my style and Sam&rsquos can have a conversation," says Bhajju Shyam. "As we started to delve into each other&rsquos 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&rsquos contemporary palette and colours that are seen in my style of Gond. We collaboratively picked colours for the elements.&rdquo

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