Eye, Feel, Write

SAM Yeow Kai Chai Double 2

“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.” – Pablo Picasso

If Picasso was right, 10 eminent authors will be the aforementioned artists tasked to realize and understand the truth at Eye, Feel, Write, a special program of the annual Singapore Writers Festival (SWF), organized in collaboration with the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) this year.

To be specific, the 10 authors who include Cultural Medallion recipients Edwin Thumboo (Ulysses by the Merlion, A Third Map, Still Travelling) and Isa Kamari (Pertemuan, Satu Bumi), are invited to contemplate artworks shown at SAM’s Medium At Large exhibition and pen new poetry and fiction.

Dr Tan Chee Lay contemplates an artwork at Singapore Art Museum.
Dr Tan Chee Lay contemplates an artwork at Singapore Art Museum.

Other authors in the same stratosphere of award winners and literati include Alvin Pang (City of Rain), Jollin Tan (Bursting Seams), Joshua Ip (Sonnets from the Singlish), Ovidia Yu (The Women in a Tree on the Hill), Ramanathan Vairavan (Kavithai Kuzhanthaikal), Robin Hemley (Do-Over!), Dr Tan Chee Lay (Chu Ren Yi Liao, Ru Wen Yi Zhong) and Yeow Kai Chai (Pretend I’m Not Here).

Each author will embark on an ekphrasis or an artistic response to the artworks, penning 3 poems or micro-fiction in the process in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. The writings will be showcased as a set of limited edition illustrated prints and at a live reading event during SWF.

In addition, the writings will be part of an anthology published by Squircle Line Press. Eye, Feel, Write is managed by poet-writer-artist Desmond Kon (The Arbitrary Sign), who is also the founding editor of Squircle.

He reveals the genesis and intentions behind this multidisciplinary project: “It’s a beautiful idea to have writers do an ekphrasis of such astonishingly provocative artworks, especially within an exhibition which investigates and explores the very nature of art making, of how medium remains diverse and variable and elastic.”

Singapore Writers Festival (Oct 31 to Nov 9)