Fringe 2012: Art & Faith

”Faith... is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods."
- C.S. Lewis

The Festival had initially chosen Art & Religion as the 2012 theme. However, in light of the applications received as well as in view of our desire to be as inclusive as we can in terms of the Festival's offerings, we have decided to broaden the scope of the theme to Art & Faith.

Faith is not unlike religion, the latter which is defined as "the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or a set of beliefs concerning the origin and purpose of the universe." Faith encompasses that same definition, but goes beyond to include the same belief and confidence entrusted in a set of doctrines, tenets, systems, theories or individuals. In short, our firm and fervent belief in anything - from a religious order, to our culture, to our dietary preferences, to our favourite brand of clothing - could well be akin to our faith in them, depending on the sphere of pertinence these have (religious, cultural, social, personal).

How we define faith – and conversely, how it defines us – is part of how we construct our world view and react on them. The symbols, rites and rituals we develop based on our faith affect the external world, and are themselves defined, constrained and morphed according to the limits of this same world.

”I have a firm faith in art, a firm confidence in its being a powerful stream which carries a man to a harbor, though he himself must do his bit too."
- Vincent Van Gogh

In considering the notion of faith, we must not ignore its relevance and meaning in religion, and political ideologies which are often consumed and acknowledged as institutions. In doing so, the human tendency is to use institutionalised faith for our own purposes, at times with disregard to differing opinions and minority voices. Institutions often lead to empowered positions, which can in turn bring about arrogance and judgemental behaviour. Yet, it is folly to believe that our faith should dictate the manner which others should live by. Should our faith in specific institutions limit our faith in human engagement and connection, in compassion and inclusion? Can art serve to bridge these gaps of difference and/or indifference? Can art provide that hope that we need so much in our contemporary times? How can art remain relevant and heal burning contemporary concerns?

Artists have, for centuries, defended the freedom to question and critique, immunizing art and advocating its integrity. Yet the notion of respecting differences, the notion of recognising the "other", may conflict with this freedom of expression. Is there a way then to question and/or critique without disrespect or does art (at its fundamental core) own the right to comment in whatever way it wishes? Is there such a thing as a fundamentalist approach to the faith in art?

”Faith is the pierless bridge supporting what we see unto the scene that we do not."
- Emily Dickinson

Art is not staid. It moves and is constantly probed and queried, affirmed and deconstructed with time. Art, in its essence, must strive to engender tolerance, acceptance and promote negotiation, because art encourages interaction and negotiation, to create new worlds, bridges and understanding. Can faith provide a similar platform, since it requires confidence and belief in present-day tenets to create an unseen and better future for one and all?

The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival invites one and all to participate in another exciting installment as we interrogate and reflect on the explosive relationships between art and faith. 15 – 26 February 2012. Get involved.

It's Fringe Time

Welcome to the 8th edition of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, with the theme Art & Faith.

Fringe 2011 promises a variety of ticketed and free performances, interactive events and artistic exchanges, covering music, dance, theatre and visual arts. And as always, there will be talk-back sessions with the artists after each Live Fringe performance.

We have 4 Festival Highlights this year: Iraq is Flying is a joyful collection of photographs by world-renowned photographer Jamal Penjweny; The Triple Gem is a new installation by Burmese artist Htein Lin who uses monks' robes to create three rooms, each representing the triple gem of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha; [Black Square] by Van Huynh Company is a powerful and stunning dance performance created from the observations of daily life in motion.

Finally, Singapore artist Loo Zihan will present Cane, a ONE NIGHT ONLY performance-lecture based on Josef Ng's controversial Brother Cane, a performance art presentation which took place in 1993. Click here for more details.

As in previous years, Fringe 2012 will see a staple of exciting, emerging and exploratory Singapore artists pushing the boundaries of art as they spar with the theme.

Tongues by Sean Tobin and Jason Wee explores the conflicts and affinity between faith and sexuality. Teater Ekamatra presents Hantaran Buat Mangsa Lupa (Offerings for the victims of Amnesia), a trilogy of plays inspired by events leading to the establishment of Islam. Eng Kai Er's The Prayer is a solo dance-theatre performance piece that questions the meaning of life through dark humour. Goddess of Mercy is a poignant art installation featuring two families of different faiths, both having gone through pain and healing.

The Necessary Stage returns with Singapore, originally staged at the 2011 Singapore Arts Festival to sold-out crowds.

In the spirit of the theme of Art & Faith, Fringe 2012 will feature re-visitations and reincarnations of artists from the past - Htein Lin was last at the Fringe in 2010 with his installation The Scale of Justice, based on his experience as a political prisoner; Sean Tobin debuted at the 2011 Fringe and returns for a second year running; two of Teater Ekamatra plays in its trilogy have been staged before and will be reworked specially for this year's Festival. Finally, New York-based artist Philip Toledano returns with Kim Jong Phil, an exhibition featuring dictatorial art where the artist replaces the leader from the original artworks.

We are also delighted to present artists from countries never before featured in the Festival including Iraq (Iraq is Flying) and Italy (INRI by Cie. Zerogrammi).

Write-ups of all the works, as well as links to artists' websites, can be found on this website. Do join us on Facebook and Twitter as well.

The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2012 invites you to have faith, but more importantly, to interrogate faith.

Get involved.

Haresh Sharma
Co-Artistic Director, M1 Singapore Fringe Festival

Message from M1

M1 is delighted to present the eighth edition of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2012.

Through our decade-long partnership with The Necessary Stage, we are glad to play a part to encourage the evolution of the Singapore arts scene.

The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival has grown from a dream shared by M1 and The Necessary Stage to bring various forms of evocative arts and engaging performances to Singapore's youth, to an annual arts festival that captures the imagination and keen interest of the local and international audience.

We believe that this year's theme, Art & Faith, will resonate with and draw many art patrons and new enthusiasts alike, to explore and experience the varied offerings thoughtfully presented by the creative efforts and passion of the artists in the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2012.

We are confident that you will enjoy and be warmly moved by the 17 works and 30 performances which The Necessary Stage has curated, specifically for the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2012: Art & Faith.

Let your “Faith” take flight at the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2012!

Ivan Lim

Deputy Director
Corporate Communications & Investor Relations