“How Singaporean am I? Okay lah, like that lah.”
Artist Samantha Lo is a strongly dedicated Singaporean, and with her latest exhibition titled 'The People’s Republic' located along Siloso Beach, she clearly isn’t afraid to show it.
Lo and behold, get inspired by Samantha's latest exhibition
For all those familiar with Samantha’s recent brush with the law, this proactive attitude of hers doesn’t come as a surprise.
Samantha was sentenced to perform 240 hours of community service as punishment for her street art on several public properties in 2012, capturing Singlish-influenced phrases in spray-paint and stickers, which earned her the nickname ‘Sticker Lady’.
Samantha still struggles to dispel the society-given moniker.
“Putting on a label on things just kills everything,” said Samantha with regards to her work as an artist.
Samantha owes her inspiration to the local support that keeps her going
Nonetheless, Samantha remains grateful towards Singaporean society, “Ever since the whole case happened, the support and solidarity from people inspired me to go in this direction and show my appreciation”.
“My inspiration is based on my observations of Singaporeans. I wish to highlight the way we are and how we’re unique.”
“Taking spaces and showing this familiarity is my way of connecting with people and making it feel like home,” she continued.
And as she gave us a casual guided tour of her latest works, consisting of evocative and sentimental street signs that depict Singaporean culture, it wasn’t difficult to grasp that Samantha had the soul of a born and bred Singaporean.
Samantha gives a voice to our Singaporean culture with her witty signs
“I’d go to hawker centres to order my favourite drink teh-o-ping, and I’d even hang out with the uncles and ah mas,” she elaborated, “I’d remember those tiled playgrounds in my childhood, trying to get as high as I could on the swings with the neighbourhood kids”.
“Remembering things like that makes us feel like we are one,” she emphasised.
It is this local love that caught the attention of Sentosa's management, which is constantly on the lookout for home-grown talents to showcase. With Samantha, they formed an artistic collaboration that put her in her element.
“I’m an islander myself, and I really like this place. And the Sentosa team and I had really good chemistry,” she added.
Samantha admitted that the Sentosa management initially had a hard time adjusting to her honest approach, “They did try to censor me a little bit, I couldn’t put up 'talk cock' at first. But eventually nothing was censored, I didn’t allow it."
In response to concerns if her exhibit would be deemed too local for tourists, Samantha posed the question, “Why should we compromise and cater to tourists?”
“We’ve been doing that for so many years and that’s why everything looks the same. With all this homogenisation, we’ve lost sense of what it means to be Singaporean.”
“And that’s my desire, to bring our identity back,” she concluded, “This is my way of recognising Singapore”.
'The People’s Republic' by Samantha Lo | Date: From 1 Aug 2013 | Venue: Siloso Beach, Sentosa | Admission: Free