It is quiet today, a lazy Thursday afternoon, but I soon realise that beneath the calm exterior of Sultan Art Village lies a buzzing arts scene full of life and artistic vision. As I walk along the streets, my eyes continually stray towards splashes of colour against otherwise monotone walls. The murals are fascinating works of art, and, even as my eyes are continually distracted by bursts of colours, I can hear the gentle tinkling of windchimes draped in front of a quaint shop, with the distant birdsong lingering around the edges of my consciousness.
Walk further along, and I stumble upon some clay art pieces sitting proudly outside a gallery. Distant music floats languidly through a crack in the door, and somehow, in its own way, the musical notes complement the presence of the art pieces outside. In fact, as I soon came to realise, it complements the presence of Sultan Village as a whole.
Sultan Art Village sits next to the last Istana, currently known as the Malay Heritage Centre. This is an oasis of peace. As the sunlight seeps through the palm trees, I catch a glimpse of an exquisite vision of a star bursting forth from the leaves, and I feel blessed to be able to experience that single moment of beauty. But don’t leave yet; take a soft breath before wandering along the little side streets and back alleys. Vintage items are strewn haphazardly here and there. Beside a dusty red punching bag, little gnomes line window sills, and below that sits an old record player that still holds the promise of music. Rusty bicycles line the street, and further away sits a strange metal contraption that I can’t quite decipher, but that’s okay.
It is an item of mystery to be unravelled, much like the rest of this place. These scenes tell the story of Sultan Art Village; a story that suggests further secrets and greater mysteries. I am drawn into the easy rhythm of this place. Breathing once, twice, I close my eyes and simply exist in the present. In that moment, Sultan Art Village sings of freedom.
Written by : Stephanie Heng