Traces and Echoes: This year’s extended 6-week Light to Night Festival gets a historical slant

‘The Regency Made Me Blind’ by Gary Carsley and Jeremy Chu. Photo: National Gallery Singapore
‘The Regency Made Me Blind’ by Gary Carsley and Jeremy Chu. Photo: National Gallery Singapore

Light art festivals come our way every year, but the Light to Night Festival in 2019 strives to be different with its extended six-week programming as part of Singapore Art Week and Singapore Bicentennial. Plus, as a first, our country’s historical narrative will be included in the festival’s works.

Back for the third time, Light to Night features almost 50 programs revolving around the theme of “Traces and Echoes”, inviting visitors to explore art and history with their five senses.

The Singapore Art Week edition (Jan 18-27) showcases artworks influenced by personal stories and memories, while the Singapore Bicentennial commemoration (Jan 28-Feb 24) displays reflections by artists, writers, and performers reimagining our past and offering their perspective on important moments across the past 700 years.

Over the first two weekends, you can stroll around National Gallery Singapore, The Arts House, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, Asian Civilisations Museum, and Esplanade Park in search of art installations. Expect to see Art Skins on Monuments, the biggest façade light show on our shores, returning with a new storyline called “The Odyssey”, where an explorer traipses across seven cultural institutions to find his identity.

Under the Five Trees. Photo: National Gallery Singapore
Under the Five Trees. Photo: National Gallery Singapore

Also look out for the Sensorial Trail, where you’ll encounter a medley of scents, sounds, and elements of touch at the National Gallery Singapore, as well as the environmental installation Under the Five Trees at Esplanade Park, where a team of 14 talents have created five works based on sound, music, poetry, and landscape design.

Other highlights include the outdoor work, Sticks, which takes inspiration from the transformation of the city skyline along the Singapore River, and Open Books, which turns fantasy titles into life-sized installations.

Meanwhile, at Victoria Concert Hall, Pitch Black is a music experience taking place in the dark using body parts as percussion. Then there’s The Regency Made Me Blind, a digitally composed work made of printed images of five botanical gardens in Southeast Asia, as well as chill activities like food stalls at Art x Social on Empress Lawn, Comedy Fridays with Kumar and Hirzi, and Music Saturdays with local acts Charlie Lim and The Sam Willows.

Art x Social. Photo: National Gallery Singapore
Art x Social. Photo: National Gallery Singapore

When the Singapore Bicentennial takes over, the festival goes for a historical slant across the next four weeks, with the façades of buildings depicting “7 Stories in 700 Years”, displaying the significant figures and moments of Singapore.

On the one-month line-up, you’ll find a media installation called The Memory Conduit, which captures Singapore’s collective social experience, and a multimedia photo wall archiving personal photographs from the community at the Padang Atrium. Visitors can also “travel” back in time to meet key individuals from our country’s history at the interactive theatre production Shadows In the Walls.

Shadows in the Walls. Photo: National Gallery Singapore
Shadows in the Walls. Photo: National Gallery Singapore

All in all, you’ve got loads to do and see in the Civic District over the next few weeks — and it’s only the beginning of 2019.


Light to Night Festival is on from Jan 18-27 and Jan 28-Feb 24, 5pm-midnight at various locations in the Civic District. Free.

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