If you’re fussing over which of the 30 homes from Open Homes you should go for, this breakdown will get you up to speed. If you haven’t already heard, Open Homes will kick off SIFA 2017, and this true-blue Singaporean event features 30 homes over three weekends.
And after The O.P.E.N's public forum Art As Res Publicae , there’s been much open debate about the value of the arts as a “special space” where we can be exposed to people and viewpoints beyond our own realities.
That’s precisely the value of an event like Open Homes, where ordinary people are given a space for their voices and stories to be heard (especially so since Open Homes heads into 20 HDB homes this time around).
It’s truly one event where you can invite your family or friends to get involved, even though they may not be ordinarily be arts-goers. And that’s pretty awesome in itself.
And if you're wondering how to pick your favourite, here are 5 ways to pick your favourite home:
1. LIFE EXPERIENCES
First up: this set of homes is packed with personal life stories in all their colourful diversity, and there’s definitely going to be something you can relate to.
We’ve got a bunch of younger folks here, whose stories converge around that tricky coming of age period in vastly different families.
From left to right: A House of Dreams, Balance
Like Punitha, a daughter who defied parental exceptions to pursue her calling as a literature teacher ( A House of Dreams). Or Christie, who relishes being an independent woman, but wonders what it means to ‘balance’ that with being a filial daughter ( Balance).
From left to right: Pieces That Fit a Home, My Father the Grandfather
What’s great about Open Homes is that you also get a chance to interact with the residents. Take Pieces That Fit a Home: Harianto shares what’s it’s like to grow up in a home full of missing pieces and you get to ask him questions in an informal Q+A style.
Samuie uses role-playing to express his feelings around a childhood where he was often mistaken as his father’s grandson ( My Father, The Grandfather).
From left to right: History and Her Story, Balik Kampung
Nur Sakinah and Zhi Wei share their love story as an inter-racial marriage ( History and Her Story), while an artist reflects on her travels around the world only to realise the value of Singapore’s unique Kampung spirit ( Balik Kampung).
From left to right: Bak Serumpun Serai Banyak Gunanya (Like The Useful Lemongrass Cognates), Zullete's Yarn
You’ll also get to meet Mohamad Mustain, a bachelor who lives on his own but who surprisingly happens to be pretty handy with the sewing machine ( Bak Serumpun Serai Banyak Gunanya (Like The Useful Lemongrass Cognates), as well as the Zullette family ( Zullete’s Yarn) who’ll recount the transformations that have become part of their lives.
There’s definitely wisdom to be mined here, as these everyday warriors bring forth their stories of triumph and healing.
From left to right: Lemons Lemonade, Bao Bao, Magic in Our Hands
As one of our residents would attest, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonades. Laura discovers a recipe for life despite life’s more bitter moments, and you might want to check out her library of inspirational books ( Lemons Lemonade).
Sharing is indeed healing for these folks - and they hope you could see the light at the end of the tunnel too. Joan and John, parents to four beautiful kids, generously share their experience with a stillborn child ( Bao Bao).
Walking the talk is motivational coach Wendy Wand, who shares her story of resilience as a young single mother ( Magic In Our Hands).
From left to right: The Best Time, Between Sunset and Sunrise, I M Possible
In these homes, we reckon everyone could learn to embrace life’s inevitable challenges, whether it’s to learning to appreciate the moment and simplicity of life ( The Best Time), the healing power of silence ( Between Sunset and Sunrise) or continuing to strive for our best lives ( I M Possible).
3. CULTURE AND HERITAGE
Next up: these homes are a window into Singapore’s diverse cultural heritage. If you’re interested in individuals who’ll bring a slice of tradition or history to life, these homes will be right up your alley.
From left to right: Something Old, Something New, Magnet
For one, you’ll get to visit residents and homes in two character-filled districts - Geylang Serai ( Something Old, Something New) and bustling Waterloo Street around Bugis ( Magnet).
From left to right: Food Sorcerer, Harumnya Si Bunga Rampai (The Fragrance Of Flower Potpurri)
Not forgetting local traditions: you might have heard of Rukhsana’s famous local home cooking school, and you’ll have a rare opportunity to hear her share about her culture (the Bhori tribe) and how she fell in love with cooking ( Food Sorcerer).
Floral designer Hamidah will teach you how to prepare Bunga Rampai (flower potpourri) which is commonly used in Malay weddings ( Harumnya Si Bunga Rampai (The Fragrance Of Flower Potpurri)).
Definitely another interesting treat are these two individuals who’ll recount their own fascinating experiences of local history.
From left to right: Alice In Her Wonderland, When Mother Music Comes for Tea
Alice in Her Wonderland reminds me of local director Royston Tan’s 881 - think a mini-performance of Cantonese opera and boisterous insider stories of “code-language” used by Singaporen street hawkers.
History buffs will also enjoy When Mother Music Comes for Tea . Khir recounts his personal stories and friendship with Mrs Daisy Devan, an iconic Singaporean music producer who launched the careers of artists like Sharifah Aini, Tracy Huang and Teresa Teng.
Creativity truly comes in all stripes, and these bunch of homes brings together residents who aren’t afraid to flaunt their creative talents. Isn’t it about time we debunked the “myth” that creativity is only the realm of designers or artists?
From left to right: Between The Pages, Makers and Mavericks
Take for instance these two families, who come together to celebrate creativity. Between the Pages showcases Melissa, Marcel and their 6-year-old son Jacob who read excerpts from Melissa’s children’s book about a boy who builds a rocket to the moon.
The Flynn Family from Makers and Mavericks will share their own individual creative pursuits and get the audience involved in an interactive session to make something with found objects.
From left to right: Tapestry of Love, Nothing Is Impossible
In Tapestry of Love , join three homeschooling mothers and their children, as they share how their friendship comes together through blanket making - you'll also get to join the families in an outdoor tent they have built together.
Finally, magic fans will get to visit the home of a magician, where even pieces of furniture will have their own “magical” properties ( Nothing Is Impossible).
5. ARTIST HOMES
Finally, come visit these artist homes for a fascinating glimpse of what feeds their craft and lives.
We won’t say more, but you could definitely guess there’s likely to be some live performances/art in the bag (if these fascinating personalities aren’t already a bona fide attraction in their own right).
From left to right: Writing the World, Mummy Not At Home, Creating My Space
From left to right: The Music of Love, Living Flamenco, The Art and Science of Homemaking
We’ve got lined up:
1. A poet (Elancharan from Writing The World) shares how his poetry is inspired by his family’s ingenuity in transforming old artefacts
2. Tour the home and dance studio of a renowned flamenco maestro and his wife (Antonio and Daphne from Living Flamenco)
3. Two visual artists share their craft (Ling Nah from Creating My Space & Danny from Mummy Not At Home)
4. Two music educators give mini “music-performances” to explain each other’s personalities (Alice and James from The Music of Love)
5. One biologist-scientist turned artist and another biologist talk about the connections between art and science (Suresh and Isabelle from The Art and Science of Homemaking).
Lastly, tickets go for $15/ticket and you’ll need to register here to book your slot.
Spread the word everyone!