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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Art, music and goodbyes

Saturday's Out Of Sight festival was held to bid farewell to the Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre
The Straits Times - February 25, 2013
By: Melissa Kok
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Art, music and goodbyes Printed T-shirts were among the art items sold at Out Of Sight, held at the Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre (above). -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

In the heart of the Central Business District, music, art and poetry brought hundreds together at the Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre last Saturday.

It was a special event called the Out Of Sight festival and it was a send-off of sorts for the centre - or Tapac as it is called by artgoers and its tenants - before the historic building in Cecil Street closes for good in June.

Organised by local literary arts company Word Forward, art collective We Jungle and City Nomads, an online lifestyle editorial and events organiser, the event saw around 30 local artists putting on art and music performances throughout the day. They included local band The Psalms as well as artists Juliette Yu-Ming and Ng Sze Kiat, who had their works on display over the weekend.

Marc Nair, 31, associate artist at Word Forward, told Life! the event was to "say goodbye in the best way possible, using art and getting a community of visual artists involved".

Tapac will close when the building's lease expires in June but most of its 23 tenants, which include dance group Odyssey Dance Theatre and theatre company Teater Ekamatra, are expected to move out by next month. It is understood that many of them will be moving to Aliwal Arts Centre in Aliwal Street.

It is not known what will happen to the building that houses Tapac but the Urban Redevelopment Authority has plans to redevelop the site.

The event last Saturday included a mass picnic. From as early as 2pm, festivalgoers showed up with food and drinks, and set up their picnic mats in the open atrium at the entrance of the building.

Mr Hakim Philip, 40, founder of Carte Postale, a company that deals in wearable art designs, was among those who had set up booths selling their art.

He says: "I know of this place because I work in the area. It's one of the few places where we can breathe art but it's closing down. It's a shame to see it go."

Explaining the festival's name, Nair says: "This place has been out of sight. Literally thousands of people walk by every day because it's along Amoy Street.

"But they don't see it or step in and they don't really recognise the value or significance of this space, so that's why we're saying this place is out of sight."

Not on Saturday though, as art enthusiasts and curious passers-by popped in to check out what was happening.

Dan Tan, 23, a poet who used to visit Tapac regularly in 2008 and 2009 for meetings at The Writers Centre Singapore, has fond memories of the place.

"My time here has been very fulfilling. Basically, it's a place where you can come alive," he says.

"What's also going are all the art murals on the walls of the buildings, which I think took about 11/2 months to do a few years ago by local artist Kamal Dollah. It's quite sad."

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