The Cambodia-Singapore Cooperation Centre witnessed a historical event on Wednesday, where the inaugural Street Art Fest++ was officially launched in the presence of various dignitaries.
Slated to be held from 15 to 29 February 2020, the festival is meant to be a unique celebration of 55 years of diplomatic ties between Singapore and Cambodia.
Singapore Ambassador to the Kingdom HE Michael Tan, who officiated the launch on Wednesday, said the festival will highlight the arts and cultural aspects of Singapore-Cambodia relations. It will also include the participation of people from all walks of life – a celebration by the peoples of both nations, and by foreign residents in or visiting Cambodia.
“We did not want just another pro forma activity where only an exclusive audience is involved in the celebration. We wanted something that would be unique, inclusive, and accessible to the public, to be celebrated by the people and most importantly, have a lasting social impact. We want it to be meaningful,” Mr Michael Tan said in his speech at the CSCC.
He added that the festival is also a public-private partnership project that is led by dedicated and resourceful individuals from the private sector, who share a common passion for arts and culture.
Vice-President of the Street Art Fest++ Organising Committee Nick Tan said the event initially was meant to be a small exhibition featuring talents from both countries, which later evolved to a full-fledged festival.
“It will truly be exciting. We are looking forward to this event. We hope it will draw a lot of crowds and become the largest celebration of two nations within this region,” he told Khmer Times in an interview after the launch.
One of the highlights of the festival is live mural drawings by Cambodia-based Canadian artist Fonki and Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong. The duo is known for their works which have graced the walls in many big cities in the world, including Montreal, London, Singapore and Phnom Penh.
The festival, which will also feature a slew of live entertainment and more than 20 food and beverages kiosks, will see both artists work together to create 14-16 pieces of one-of-a-kind murals on portable concrete slabs that measure 2.4m x 4.8m to 2.4m x 7m each at the WorldBridge Arena promenade along the Tonle-Bassac river. It will culminate in the unveiling, on the final day (February 29), of a combined mural to depict the Singapore-Cambodia bilateral relations.
Mr Nick Tan added that such a festival will not only nurture a deeper appreciation towards the arts but will also make art more accessible to members of the public.
“Visitors from all walks of life to the event will be able to help paint out various murals sketched by our accomplished and renowned artists. We welcome other artists and art forms to feature in the two-week festival,” he said. “There is no other similar event in the region of the same concept and objectives, where we celebrate all five senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch – through a festival of street art, street food and music. It is a celebration for the people.”
Mr Michael Tan, the ambassador, said that all murals will be auctioned off to interested buyers and all funds generated will, after expenses and fees, be contributed to the Cambodian Children’s Fund and the Cambodian Living Arts.
“It will help raise funds that go towards supporting two very worthwhile causes. The CCF not only helps Cambodian children in need but also provides them with the skills and opportunity to be masters of their own destinies,” he said. “The CLA not only helps to preserve and promote Cambodia’s arts and culture, but they also help and develop talented Cambodians into aspiring artists.”
“The Singapore Embassy strongly believes in the work and impact of these two organisations. We hope that the event will help further raise awareness of the good work they are doing, and in turn, channel more help and support their way,” he added.
At the launch on Wednesday, several agreements were signed between the organising committee, artists, official event partners, sponsors and beneficiaries to mark the grand collaboration between the two countries.
The auspicious ceremony was witnessed by representatives from the government, including Under Secretary of State from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation HE Tuot Panha, Under Secretary of State from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts HE Phol Norith and the Under Secretary of State from the Ministry of Tourism, HE Ok Darariddth.
The Street Art Fest++ is also supported by official partners such as Khmer Times (official media), Phillip Bank (official bank), RHTLaw Cambodia (legal counsel and auditor), Singapore Club Cambodia (official social club), Tropic Planners and Landscape (official landscaping), WorldBridge Arena (event venue), CBS (official TV media), Style & Design and AP Media.
The event was also made possible with the kind support of platinum sponsors such as Hong Lai Huat Group, Oxley Holdings, Phillip Bank and Tropic Planners and Landscape. Meanwhile, the gold sponsors for Street Art Fest++ are CSME Development, GoodHill Enterprise (Cambodia) Ltd., Singapore Cambodia International Academy and Vattanac Bank.
The organiser said each of the aforementioned has contributed significantly to the festival by providing invaluable assistance towards conceptualising the project.
Also present at the launch were President of the Street Art Fest++ Organising Committee Stella Toh, Cambodian Children’s Fund founder Scott Neeson and Cambodian Living Arts founder Arn Chorn Pond.