STREET OF CLANS 2019 CURTAIN CALL

 
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And just like that, the 8th to 10th March weekend has flown by and the inaugural Street of Clans festival takes its final bow. The festival may be over, indeed, but the lessons and memories? Those last forever. We remain infinitely grateful to everyone who came, everyone who helped breathe life into this festival, and everyone in between. In case you weren’t able to join us, or did join us and want a lovely little flashback, here’s a highlight reel of what went down at Street of Clans 2019.

COMMUNITY AT ITS HEART

Street of Clans has, from the get-go been a creative festival powered and driven by the idea of community. We wanted to celebrate the clans within the Bukit Pasoh community we were part of — clans who embodied and championed the very concept of community. At the same time, we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the creative community that we also were proud to be a part of. We drew both together, intermixing the heritage and the contemporary in an attempt to create something fresh and exciting. But we couldn’t anticipate how the public would react. And what we saw moved us. We saw festival-goers having fun together; we saw attendees forging genuine connections; and we saw kinship and unity in interactions big and small, all of which has been deeply gratifying.

 
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At Chin Kang Huay Kuan, several alumni returned to reminisce their old primary school and see how the association and premise had transformed. As the student-led tour at the Gan clan came to an end, the attendees, with their curiosities piqued about clans — particularly the ones they belonged to — began fervently scrolling through Google trying to find the answer. Outside, the badminton court revealed an uncanny adeptness at drawing strangers together, with a group of six children batting the shuttlecock back-and-forth for close to an hour, chirping with laughter, despite not having known each other before.

 
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Down the street, BetaBeta’s boats acted as meeting spots where folks serendipitously found each other — whilst lounging on the Friend-ship Builder they painted, 8EyedSpud caught the Binary Style sisters exiting their own installation at Tung On Wui Kun, and new friendships were instantly struck. Whether at The Working Capitol or Chin Kang Huay Kuan, many of the panellists also stayed back to lend a helping hand, immersing themselves in conversations with attendees who sought more detailed guidance, long after the talks had ended. In the cafes and restaurants, the intimate live drawing sessions let artist and subject get to know each other better: Katasumi Koohii often filled with Isaac Liang’s chuckles as he got to chatting with whomever he had illustrated.

In our pursuit to make meaningful matter, it was heartening to see that Street of Clans has allowed people to come together in earnest, whether through stories, design, or mere chance.

 
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CLANS, DEMYSTIFIED

A main goal of the Street of Clans was to help spotlight clans through the contemporary lens of design. The installations stoked interest and brought visitors in, and once inside those clan spaces, people got to learn more about clans: what they were, what they did, and their relevance in society today. From the Koh Clan elders to the student guides from Gan Clan, clan representatives shared ardently with visitors the ins and outs of clans and their common desire for the legacy of their clan to continue. Their impassioned advocacy helped to humanise the stories they told and imbued the clans’ wavering relevance in the world today with a sense of urgency. Certainly, festival-goers with Koh and Gan surnames were glad to learn more about the extended family they might not have even known they were part of. In the end, many visitors walked away with a greater inkling of what clans were and a spurring to go seek out their own clans.

 
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A FESTIVAL BY PEOPLE, FOR PEOPLE, IN CELEBRATION OF PEOPLE

This festival would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our creative collaborators, the kind contribution of our partners and sponsors, and the precious time given by each and every visitor who came down to support Street of Clans. What began as an event with twenty-something stakeholders has since burgeoned to involve over eighty stakeholders within and outside Bukit Pasoh.

It’s been incredibe to see so many artists in the creative field come together under the umbrella that is Street of Clans, as well as individuals and brands who have contributed to the festival by lending their time and expertise. We are humbled that our fellow neighbours in Bukit Pasoh generously opened their doors, whether to host a workshop, talk, or to simply give the public an opportunity to visit their space. We remain endlessly grateful to the four clans for letting us speak with them, understand their story, and allow it to be told in a new way through design, as well as for generously lending their premises to host the installations and for the public to visit. Not forgetting the visitors, young and old, who gave our labour of love the time of day. This festival was ultimately designed for the public to enjoy, and we hope that everyone took away something from it.

 
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 So long, and the biggest thanks.

Emma Wong