The Artistic Truth _ An umbrella Design Competition

That’s me and my and friend there, D’zul. We were part of this Umbrella Design Competition in ITE Bishan which revolved around this year’s theme of “Loving Singapore, Our Home”. He was in the “Most Patriotic” while I was in the “Avant Garde and Creative”. Another of my friend, Howie, was competing in the “Greenest Umbrella” category.

So the title of my umbrella is “The Artistic Truth”. It was a sudden choice for me because my name wasn’t registered yet (for some reason, I do not know). I would have chosen “The silent poetry” or something because my umbrella was understated. The other umbrella in which the ITE Students were representing were much more dramatic and well made but mine has a story and I didn’t have the chance to show the value of my work. (Until now of course)

Oh and I got 2nd place.

So basically, my umbrella is a representation of what inspires me in Singapore. I believe that even in our homeland, we should be able to find our muse. Every panel will puzzle itself to form this haven-like object for me.

Oh and if you see all these dirty marks on the panels, it’s just because when we packed up, I closed the umbrella and the acrylic paint stuck to each other. Extreme pain in my behind.

1) The Fashion Panel

Everyone knows that I’m inspired by fashion and so does show in my sketches. Besides, since Singapore is the 8th most fashionable cities in the world (pardon me if I’m wrong) to have inaugurated the first Men and Women’ Fashion Week here in 2011 and the recent one in April.

2) Vanda Miss Joaquim

Nature also inspire me and bring me back home (the tuft of flowers on the tip of the umbrella) but I just have to pay homage to Vanda Miss Joaquim by painting this shade of purple to a gradual white.

3) Culture

This collage of traditional prints represents, of course the variety of culture in our nation. The flap is opened to reveal a foreign person (Yes, it did this fold technique to my panel of umbrella). It represents how with culture there’s a chance for us to learn about other people’s culture — To see what’s beneath the obvious.

4) The city skyline of red and white.

Taking cue from painter, Gustavo Acosta, I wanted to paint a city skyline in red and white (obviously the colour of our national flag). It’s hard to paint it in free hand with a thick brush but it looks fine in the end.

5) Compressed emotions

The folding technique for this panel of different subjects like structure, nature, culture and tradition shows how different the world would be (the everyday things) if we see things differently.

6) Luxury and Aid

Singapore being the top 3 richest country per capita would surely attract me and you can’t deny that. I’d rather be home here in my home country. But the main thing is that I’m proud that Singapore provided aid for our neighborhood countries when they are in need. You can’t get any prouder.

7) Shadows

The illusions of shadows from buildings have always intrigued me. I love how it looks and it reflects our high end architectural buildings.

8) A poem

Lastly, I cannot finish this umbrella without writing a poem about Singapore. Unfortunately, the poem wasn’t given justice during the competition because there was no chance for them to read it. 

“I’d remain in this place of art & fauna,
of culture
of nature
and of structure of glowing cities along the river
Appreciative of every form,
taking so many photographs, so amazed,
like a tourist. “Sweet Country”, the Javan Myna said.
“Clean as a breeze. Bright as a day”
Flying from one plot of land to another,
crossing every ocean the little bird flew,
“But when the final count is done,
I’ll be in my hometown,
I’ll be in my Singapore”

I’ll take ownership of the cheesiness. 🙂

I met a lot of great people there. I kind of help the students out actually. When I see the other competitor’s umbrella facing craft problems, I went and help them out because I know how it feels to have made something so intricate and when the competition is starting, a problem strikes.

Then the competition was about to begin, I still didn’t know what was happening. All the information I received was that I had to walk in the middle of the stage and do a 3-second pose. Well, since the other competitors had a more dramatic umbrella, I thought I had to do something more.

Seeing my Ma’am officer sitting and smiling, it boosted my morale. And since my category was in the “Avant Garde and Creative I did this couture poses with my umbrella. The crowd cheered all right. I didn’t know how I looked but I sure do not want to find out. I must have looked like a fool out there.

My sirs and Ma’am were really supportive of our works and designs and for the first time, a group of girls wanted to take a photo with me. It was a great feeling actually; the well wishes and congratulatory wishes.

But even from all that praises and all the work done to design this umbrella, it only takes a group of Malay boys to remind me that I’m still a freak. The mockery was just oozing out from them and I had enough. It reminded me of my secondary school days when I was being bullied and made fun of. I realized that I’m older than them but the flashbacks were painful.

And what’s worst, I forgot to claim my prize because I wanted to leave the room so urgently. A minute longer there would be so uncomfortable for me.

Still, it was a good experience. I enjoyed designing the umbrella and Happy 47th Birthday Singapore!!!


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