The Sungei Thieves Market Art Project
Diverse hodgepodge of bric-a-brac often seen lay out on tarpaulin sheets along this nostalgic haunt will soon fade into history. It is in this light that the paraphernalia of the disappearing flea market be brought to a closer attention of the public, as a poignant reminder of its resilient existence over eight decades.
Using site-specific materials interspersed with narratives from the Sungei Road Thieves Market, I created sculptures out of objects collected over a period of three months, through many friendly chatting and haggling. The exhibition ‘One by One Metre Space’ recalled the 1m X 1m area allocated to each vendor at the market, a privilege that was eventually taken away from them. The historic ‘Thieves Market’, known for its notorious past, made way for the Jalan Besar MRT station (public transport) in 2017. In the show, we questioned the use of our urban spaces and their intrinsic value at that moment in time. In a style of a grand curtain call, we invited the vendors into the exhibition space (just across the road) for the evening’s exchanges. As the night went, the artworks took on new meanings seen through the eyes of the people who once treasured, discussed, flaunt and commodified them.