The theme of this year’s Aliwal Arts Night Crawl is ‘Basket!’ and seeks to pay tribute to the basketry tradition and rattan shops of Arab Street. Basket weaving is the act of intertwining disparate sections of material into a meaningful and cohesive whole. Throughout the night on 28 September, I was struck by how the symbolic significance of basket weaving was incorporated into the many events, workshops and activities.
The Aliwal Car Park was transformed into a vibrant and inclusive space featuring traditional games and performances. Traditional gamelan music was infused with a contemporary twist. It was beautiful, standing there beneath the full moon listening to how disparate tones, rhythms from different instruments intermingle and interact with one another, to create lovely melodies that resounded throughout the open space. As a reflection of Singapore’s multi-culturalism, a traditional Chinese instrument was used alongside traditional Malay instruments to show how seeming opposites can unite to produce a meaningful whole.
This theme is echoed in another stage, titled ‘Indistinguishable Strokes’ where contemporary street dancers and tai-chi masters shared the stage. They showcase their skills with humour and confidence, drawing laughs and admiration from the audience. Here, age is only a number. Dance and martial arts, like music, is an art which transcends generations. Performers old and young alike are drawn together through their fiery passions for their art.
Aliwal Arts Night Crawl was a success in many ways, but for me at least, it was a touching event that embraced diversity with a fervent passion. The beauty and harmony of diversity is something that will linger in my mind for a long time to come.
Written by : Stephanie Heng