Even without a trace on publicart.sg? Jeffrey, do let us know if there are any works that have disappeared without leaving a trace on these pages, and we'll update them. (It's true that we haven't put the Lim Nang Seng Dancing Lady up yet... but it *is* listed on our to-do list...
Straits Times, Forum Page, Jun 15, 2011
Treat sculptures with greater care
I WAS disappointed to read that sculptor Chua Boon Kee was asked to relocate his stainless steel sculptures near Clementi Mall because of concern that the metal could potentially burn people ('Open-air sculptures feel the heat'; last Wednesday).
This raises the larger issue of our attitude towards and regard for public sculptures.
A public sculpture is created to be in dialogue with the site and the environment. Relocating a sculpture compromises both the intent of the artist and the integrity of the work.
Mr Chua was understandably 'unhappy' at the request to move his sculptures to a 'shadier area' as it would disrupt the aesthetic cohesion of the sculptures.
Public sculptures are meant to be seen and enjoyed. In the case of Mr Chua's sculptures, an advisory could have been put up to allay safety concerns.
My own research has found that a substantial number of public sculptures - from the pre-war period to the 1970s - simply disappeared without any trace, especially when a site or old building had to make way for a new development. Even sculptures done in the 1980s and later are now untraceable after being moved from their original locations.
Not too long ago, I was taken to view a long-forgotten sculpture in Tiong Bahru estate. The sculpture, titled Dancing Lady, was created by the late Lim Nang Seng, who also sculpted the Merlion. I realised that the sculpture had acquired a resonance among residents in the area.
Indeed, beyond their aesthetic and decorative value, public sculptures can be a source of civic and communal pride and identity.
I hope our existing and future public sculptures will be seen in this light and treated with more care and dignity. They are part of our artistic heritage.