During 2012, walking along Shenton Way & Robinson Road during lunch times, I was immensely entertained by the wit appearing on pedestrian crossing buttons. Her Street Art during 2012, caught the attention of the authorities & the imagination of Singapore & the world - & raised issues of Street versus Art versus Vandalism, the relationship between the street artist, commercial & 'state graffiti' & the artist's role in society.
It was a pleasure to meet the artist responsible on 16 May 2014 at BooksActually, Sam Lo aka SKL0.
Sam shared her story, previous & current work & projects (RCGNTN, those stickers, Singapore twister & Jenga, Star Wars Sculpture, drawings & designs).
Sam was a captivating speaker & came across as a very decent, intelligent, artist who feels passionately about Singapore. You can see more of her work at SKL0 & on Instagram.
In her own words:
"It is almost impossible to talk about developing a culturally vibrant, creative or lovable city, without some tolerance for those slightly messy activities that sometimes challenge the rules. For Singapore, it would be useful to make a distinction between this kind of art and outright graffiti or vandalism that seeks to deliberately destroy public property for its own sake."
In terms of those 2012 stencils & stickers, Ng Yi Sheng, I think nails it:
"Lo’s work, on the other hand, was immediately understandable as an act of reclamation. She was a Singaporean citizen transforming sterile public spaces by making them more idiosyncratically Singaporean, via the use of Singlish. It was if the traffic lights and roads she marked were being taken back from the Singapore government and returned to the Singaporean people. They were now “our grandfather objects”, as the artist might have said – landmarks we had every right to inherit and call our own."
Long live the messiness of art & the witty, playful, challenging reclamation of public spaces by the people.