In the famous musings of Pablo Picasso, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Among the consummate artists who’ve succeeded in preserving the wander and unfettered creativity of their formative years, are those whose imaginations drift in the softly focused, dreamy realm of childlike fantasy. Here, moments of guileless joy are brought to life by cheerful palettes: A blissful reverie among a bed of pillowy clouds. Animals cavorting like children.
Such whimsical tableaux take centrestage in Ode to Art’s Journey of Joy exhibition at Raffles City Singapore. The creative enclave makes art accessible to all, in public spaces beyond the confines of a gallery. The exhibition showcases contemporary works by Takashi Murakami, Dae Byu, Wu Qiong and Coplu, all of whom have captured joy and innocence in pieces that carry poignant messages. We caught up with the gallery’s owner Jazz Chong, who waxes lyrical on the optimistic, happy qualities of art during the Lunar New Year spring festival.
Tell us about the inspiration behind Ode to Art’s Journey of Joy exhibition.
We wanted to add to the joy in this season of love through happy images and colours. The artists we chose for this exhibition use colours with a touch of whimsical innocence that evoke sweet nostalgia, especially of our childhood.
What are your favourite pieces in the exhibition?
Aside from art, music has always been my passion. Coplu’s Greetings to Nature’s Beauty encompasses the themes of music, love and harmony. In the artist’s signature visual vocabulary, the family in the painting is depicted serenading music scores that take the form of a tree towards them. Reflective of how trees gravitate toward the sun, it signifies that music is essential in life.
What are some interesting things about whimsical art as a genre that most people don’t know about?
Whimsical art is not always cheerful or vibrant.
How does art spark joy in you?
Art that sparks joy in me reminds me of the happy times in my life, of travels and memories made with friends and family. Over the years of running the gallery, art has brought people into my life, with whom I have shared great moments.
With the pandemic causing social and economic upheaval, what is the role of art in our collective recovery?
Art has been a medium of escape and therapy for a long time and plays its part even more so in this turbulent period.