This week, design and Japanese craft lovers should head down to Lumine Singapore to check out Into The Woods, an annual exhibition that spotlights beautiful and innovative products crafted by Japanese artisans from wood derived from the Yoshino forests – one of the oldest man-made plantations in the world.
Cinephiles, meanwhile, can check out our recommendations for the films worth catching and start booking your tickets to the Singapore International Film Festival. And lastly, Cuturi Gallery debuts The Melting Pot this week, a group exhibition with a twist. Find out more below.
An intrinsic respect for nature and appreciation for design are two commonly touted aspects of Japanese culture. At the exhibition Into The Woods, you’ll find both neatly intertwined. Featuring 14 artisans from Okuyamato (a forested region occupying much of Nara Prefecture’s eastern and southern areas), the exhibition introduces the innovations and creations of a new generation of craftspeople dedicated to preserving the Yoshino forests that populate Okuyamato.
For the uninitiated, the Yoshino forests are one of the world’s oldest afforested (read: man-made) plantations; they date back to the 1600s, with many of the Yoshino trees (including cypress, cedar, cherry and horse chestnut) being over 300 years old. Residents of the region have lived in harmony with nature long before the concept of sustainability entered the public consciousness. Their sustainable practice is seen in the manufacturing process, where timber ends trimmed away during lumber production for are upcycled to make chopsticks, for example.
Organised by the Nara Prefectural Government and Okuyamato Migration and Exchange Promotion Office and curated by Singapore design studio Black, the third edition of this exhibition continues to showcase many beautiful products crafted from Yoshino wood, such as sakura-patterned lamps intended to provide light therapy or this chair with a twisted backrest (pictured) that resembles a Mobius strip.
November 26 to January 5, at Lumine Singapore, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street
The biggest and longest-running film festival on the local landscape is back. Now in its 32nd year, the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) returns to theatre-only screenings as compared to last year’s “phygital” affair, a greatly welcomed change for cinephiles to be sure. SGIFF also sees the debut of new programme director Thong Kay Wee, who’s made some significant changes to the programming.
The more than 110 films available will be presented across five sections in order to better profile the films based on the nature of their content. The five sections are:
1. Foreground: where new works by established auteurs and major award-winning pieces can be expected, including Iranian drama A Hero that nabbed the Grand Prix at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
2. Milestone: highlighting films with special significance such as an important event in the development of a filmmaker’s career – watch out for Memoria, Thai auteur Apichapong Weerasethakul’s first film foray out of his home country that stars Tilda Swinton and had its world premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
3. Standpoint: a platform for filmmakers advocating for personal, social and political issues through the cinematic medium. A must-watch is Some Women by Quen Wong (pictured) – it’s the debut feature by Singapore’s first transgender film director as she lays bare her vulnerabilities to reclaim her identity.
4. Undercurrent: a spotlight on innovative works. One to look out for is All Light Everywhere by Theo Anthony that explores the broad history of photography and cinematic cameras, and the false fantasies that it is an objective machine that captures indexical truth. It’s also the winner of the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award at Sundance Film Festival 2021.
5. Domain: a new thematic section, this year’s edition sees film curators Inge de Leeuw and Julian Ross programming with their chosen theme of artist and filmmaker collectives, who have come together to resist dominant social structures through storytelling and documentary activism.
November 25 to December 5, at various venues
HIT UP CUTURI GALLERY FOR SOME MEANINGFUL ART
The group exhibition is of particular note as it was created in collaboration with The Art Faculty, a social enterprise by Autism Resource Centre (Singapore). The Art Faculty creates quality gifts with artworks and motifs by talented artists on the autism spectrum. Artists earn income when you buy their art pieces and merchandise, thereby linking the value of work to financial independence.
All of the sales from the works made by artists of The Art Faculty, as well as 20 per cent of the sales made from the works by artists of Cuturi Gallery will be directed back to The Art Faculty.
It’s a really lovely way to close a tiring and tiresome year – so why not head down for art that delights, inspires and uplifts?
November 27 to December 19, at 61 Aliwal Street