If you love art and want to make our community a brighter place, you've got Social Creatives to help you do that. These creative hands show us that art can be for anyone; all it takes is a stroke of a brush.
Living in a concrete jungle, our surroundings can get mundane and it is easy to lose sight of how beautiful our neighbourhoods can be. To make Singapore more colourful and vibrant, the artistic hands at Social Creatives create public murals in the heartlands and institutions, as well as refurbish the homes of the needy.
At a recent mural painting session at Institute of Mental Health (IMH), Youth.SG saw about 10 volunteers transform a plain white wall into a vibrant garden of flowers.
VOLUNTEERS SPENT THE WHOLE AFTERNOON PAINTING THESE FLOWERS
This is just one of over 165 murals Social Creatives has painted, since they started in 2007. Most of their murals are in heartlands, void decks and public spaces.
Redzuan Salleh, the team's artistic manager, said: "We want to make art more visible not just to the public, but especially to the heartlands, as (some think) art is very exclusive and for the 'atas' (high class). We don't want to put these in town. This is for people who have not been to art galleries or senior citizens who don't have the money to go to exhibitions."
ARTISTIC MANAGER REDZUAN SALLEH
REDZUAN FACILITATES AND GUIDES THE VOLUNTEERS IN MURAL PAINTING SESSIONS
One example of a 'heartland art gallery' is a void deck in Pipit Road that has been turned into an exhibition of Vincent Van Gogh's artwork.
Redzuan, 28, recalled: "We actually had the license to replicate Van Gogh's artwork onto the void deck (walls). It was also educational; residents and children who walk by will learn who Van Gogh is, and his art."
VAN GOGH-INSPIRED COMMUNITY ART GALLERY AT MACPHERSON
PHOTO CREDIT: SOCIAL CREATIVES
The six-year-old social enterprise has evolved from painting dustbins to murals and has worked with over 19,000 volunteers, showing that wall murals can be done and appreciated by non-artists in the community. They also regularly refurbish the homes of the needy living under the Southwest Community Development Council (CDC) every three months, and provide murals for IMH every two months.
THE AMOUNT OF PAINT NEEDED FOR THE MURAL PAINTING SESSION
Over the years, they have garnered great support from volunteers and corporate groups, mainly through word-of-mouth.
"If we need to paint one void deck in three days, we can get about 40 volunteers a day. People find us mainly through SG Cares. There are more people who know about the arts and are interested (in helping)," said Redzuan.
So do Singaporeans appreciate their efforts?
Redzuan replied: "So far, feedback has been 80 per cent positive. At the end of the day, art is a product. We start with a blank wall and call 10 people who have no background in the arts, give them three to four hours and something beautiful can come out of it. It's a collaborative effort. It's not forgettable as the art remains on the wall."
Their artistic adventures have also taken them places. In 2011, they were invited to paint in Toronto, Canada at the National Mural Symposium. Next up will be a trip to Kathmandu, Nepal, this month to paint murals around the palaces at Durbar Square. If you are interested to join them, find out more here.