NAFA students design lanterns with local flavour



(9 September 2015, Wednesday)Every Mid-Autumn Festival, the Chinatown vicinity will feature a bright display of lanterns, attracting many visitors. This year, in conjunction with SG50, the festival will hold much more meaning and significance. The organiser, Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee, worked with students and teachers from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts on this year’s edition. 10 NAFA students, under their teacher’s guidance, designed the lanterns, and also went down to the Kim Seng Community Club’s ‘factory’, to witness the production process.

Previously, the NAFA students only took part in the design process, and this is their first time being involved in the production process.

Bryan Chng, 23, pursuing a Diploma in Design (Landscape & Architecture) at NAFA, is one of the participating students. He said that during design, they drew their sketches on paper and then transferred it to soft copy on the computer for 3D rendering. When he arrived to see the production, he was amazed by the workers’ hands-on experience in producing the lanterns, and it was an eye-opener for the team.

The team started work since May, working on lantern designs featuring familiar Singaporean campaign icons such as Sharity Elephant and Water Wally. They also designed a lantern series on ‘Singlish’, as well as Singaporean architectural icons like the old Toa Payoh playground dragon, the Merlion, Changi Airport, and Gardens by the Bay.

Hang Lih Wei, 26, pursuing a Diploma in Design (Interior & Exhibition Design) at NAFA, said that the team hopes that while people reminisce on the past while viewing the lanterns, they can also see Singapore’s progress from these lanterns that depict Singapore’s architecture.

Lim Xuan Ren, 19, pursuing a Diploma in Design (Landscape & Architecture) at NAFA, revealed that due to an initial misunderstanding, their first proposal was rejected. He explained the team had thought that the theme was to merge SG50 and the Mid-Autumn Festival. However, they later realised that the organiser wanted the main theme to be on SG50 alone. Lih Wei added that the concept of lanterns is already synonymous with the Mid-Autumn Festival, and there wasn’t a need to emphasize that.

The team also learned more about the festival while working on this project. The younger generation are actually quite unfamiliar with these Chinese festivals and traditions. Bryan said that he used to think that the legend of Hou Yi shooting down the nine suns and the legend of Chang-E, the goddess of the moon, were two separate stories, but he later found out that Hou Yi and Chang-E were actually husband and wife.

Bryan added that Western festivals such as Christmas are more attractive to youths, and with such competition, local traditions and cultures are starting to fade. But the Mid-Autumn Festival still remained an important festival to Singaporeans. Xuan Ren and Lih Wei shared their experiences spending the Mid-Autumn festival, playing with lanterns and eating mooncakes, emphasising this point.

As the students did not have experience with producing these lanterns, they had to learn from scratch from the experts. They shared that they had an enriching experience working on this project, and were satisfied with the end result. They look forward to the opening lighting-up ceremony.



Media: Lianhe Zaobao, zbNOW, Page 3
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