'Disappearing' Raffles statue a teaser for Singapore Bicentennial

'Disappearing' Raffles statue a teaser for Singapore Bicentennial

Collage of "disappeared" statue of Sir Stamford Raffles
Photos of the "disappearing" statue of Sir Stamford Raffles near the Singapore River.

SINGAPORE: People walking along the Singapore River over the weekend might have been shocked to see that the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles - a prominent feature of Boat Quay - looked very different.

Painted over on one side so that it blended into the background, the statue seemed to disappear when viewed from a certain vantage point.

This was created by strategically layering paint over the statue's white polymarble surface, said the Singapore Bicentennial Office (SBO), which confirmed on Wednesday (Jan 2) that it had commissioned the stunt.

disappearing Raffles statue collage
The statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, before and after application of paint. (Photos: Singapore Bicentennial Office)

To commemorate the Singapore Bicentennial marking the 200th anniversary of the British arriving in Singapore, SBO decided to go for something "slightly different".

The curtain-raiser to the Singapore Bicentennial - to be launched on Jan 28 - was intended to spark a conversation on the arrival of the British and their contributions to the nation.

"The idea ... was to arouse curiosity, maybe some reflection and ultimately, to spark conversations about our history," said SBO deputy director Wong Chock Fang.

"We're hoping to get Singaporeans to think more deeply about our history."

"disappearing" raffles statue
A close-up of the "disappearing" statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, located along the Singapore River. 

SBO said it recognises that there were other significant milestones in the nation’s journey, which began some 500 years before the British arrived in Singapore.

"There were also many who arrived in 1819 and in the years that followed, who contributed greatly to the nation," an SBO spokesman said.

disappearing sir stamford statue
The “disappearing” statue of Sir Stamford Raffles aims to spark fruitful conversations on Singapore's history. 

The artwork was created in partnership with local artist Teng Kai Wei, who specialises in public sculptures. He is best known for the interactive light installation, titled Leap Of Faith, at last year's Singapore Night Festival.

Throughout the project, which took two and a half weeks, Teng and his crew had to work intermittently due to constant rain.

"We had an idea of erecting a big umbrella, but it's not feasible at all!" he said.

tourists admiring disappearing stamford statue
People crowd around taking pictures of the “disappearing” statue of Sir Stamford Raffles.

The artwork will be taken down by the end of Thursday.

Source: CNA/nh(hm)

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