An art student from Lasalle College of the Arts, Ms Priyageetha Dia, paved a staircase with gold foil at a Housing Board block in Jalan Besar.
Many netizens praised the artwork, saying that this is creativity at its best.
This is despite the fact that the Jalan Besar Town Council stated what she did was “unauthorised” and “not permissible”. But the town council has stated that it is reaching out to the art student to explore future collaboration.
A spokesperson for the Town Council told Today that it wants to “explore ways in which we may be able to work together” as it is “supportive of efforts by the community to enhance our living environment”.
Ms Priyageetha has admitted on her Facebook account on Tuesday (7 March) that she was the person behind the art, saying that the work has been on her mind for the past one month and that she was definitely apprehensive on realising it until two days ago.
“The process was an invigorating one though I was apprehensive of the consequences I may face,” she said.
Ms Priyageetha said that it took her five hours to get the work done.
“But what constitutes public and private space? How does that apply along with the sacred etc.? And why gold? I would love to list down the conceptual reasoning of what the work is about but wouldn’t it make the work seem less interesting then?” she asked.
She then asked whether it is possible to draw a line between art and vandalism, as she considers this work as an art and not vandalism.
She then noted that though one would say about the legal system and its regulations but she believes that she did not deface anything, adding that what she did was to enhance the space and her surroundings.
“This work provokes. Provokes in all sense we are used to living the standard way of life, and all of a sudden something as glaring as gold negotiates the space. My work does not seek to obliterate a public space; vandalism in all sense has no respect for another individual,” said Ms Priyageetha.
She added, “I didn’t intend to please the public with my work but it was definitely a sense of satisfaction for me. After practising arts under the academy for almost 3 years, I needed to break away from that zone. What better way to make art and have it on display beyond the white cube,”
While it is believed that no Police complaints has been lodged, there were mixed comments on the incident by the resident who live around the area.
In an interview by Today, Ms Akiko Ler, 43, felt that such an act, if done on the artist’s own accord without seeking counsel from the town council, is considered vandalism, saying that residents here pay fees to keep the public space clean, so it is only fair that it is kept like how it was meant to be.
Mr Don Tan, 22, said that he is seeing it from both the perspective of the artist as well as the law, stating that it is a grey area because it does not affect people’s lives. However, he noted that it causes little trouble or inconvenience.
Another resident, Tiffany Tan, 22, said that the art is a “cool” thing.
She said that it will be quite sad if someone orders it to be taken down. However, she noted that even if it stays, the artwork may not be appreciated as much without proper recognition of it as an artwork.
“Someone might just treat it the same as any other stairway and spit on it,” she added.