10 October 2017: All in a day: Students put up plays and create paintings in 24-hour arts events

By Daryl Yang | Images provided by Leong Kit Ling

Over two weekends in August 2017, two Yale-NUS student organisations organised events for students to create and produce art on canvas and in the black box theatre.

For 24 hours from 10pm on 18 August 2017, the Yale-NUS Visual Arts Society (VAS) organised the second iteration of ‘One Night Stand’, which was its opening event for the academic year. According to Wee Jing Long (Class of 2019), ‘One Night Stand’ aimed to get the community on campus excited about art making in the upcoming semester.

“In a short span of 24 hours, participants had to respond to a theme and conceptualise, create and exhibit their works. Comprising a series of group critiques and requiring participants’ involvement in the overall curatorial process, this event gives participants a taste of the art making process from ideation to criticism and then exhibition,” he explained.

Isabel Perucho (Class of 2018) took part in ‘One Night Stand’ for the first time. “I participated so that I could get in touch with a part of me that I consider central to my identity,” she shared. Isabel created a series of life drawings in charcoal over 24 hours. She had earlier learnt some basics of life drawing skills after attending a workshop organised by the VAS.

“I drew mostly participants of ‘One Night Stand’. In the process of depicting their physical features, I had hoped to understand and somehow depict their personas. I also included snippets of my conversations with them because I was drawn to the lives and worlds that my peers inhabit. Throughout the 24 hours, I met new people and got to know my friends better. I came out of every conversation with a sense of admiration for each individual.”

For Kwok Jia Yang (Class of 2021), ‘One Night Stand’ was the first opportunity to get in touch with making art again after having recently completed his military service.

“I have always been interested in visual arts. Since secondary school, I created and exhibited works and curated art exhibitions. However due to National Service, I lacked the time to practise art so I was very interested in ‘One Night Stand’ and the VAS. Personally, I never got into painting and mostly worked with photography and installation art. This was my first time touching the medium in six years.” he shared.

“The work I produced was a painting titled ‘100 Tongues’. As someone who takes photos predominantly, my artistic process usually starts with mental snapshots of related imagery. I saw the tongue as a body part that was incredibly sensual and provocative. Thus, I decided that it would be my subject matter. I also wanted my artwork to be attention-grabbing to pull audiences in. Scale and colour scheme became an important factor so I chose to paint 100 repetitions of tongues in pink sephora against a black background to create a domineering effect and elicit greater contrast,” Jia Yang added.

According to Jing Long, the VAS strives to be a platform for Yale-NUS to engage with the visual arts, whether by promoting an appreciation for art, honing individual artistic skills or providing a support network for practicing artists.

“As with previous semesters, students and staff can look forward to our beginner friendly workshops that deal with a particular medium or style. Most importantly, everyone on campus should look forward to the fifth iteration of ARTober @ Yale-NUS, which is a flurry of art-related events that will take place in the month of October this semester,” he added.

The weekend following ‘One Night Stand’, Green Room Theatre, a Yale-NUS College Drama Club, organised the ‘24 Hour Play’. Held for the fourth time, this event attracted about 40 participants who took on roles as writers, directors and actors.

Students were required to write, cast, direct and rehearse six original plays from 7pm on 25 August 2017 to 7pm the next day. They then presented these plays at a theatrical showcase to the rest of the college community.

Nicole Chen (Class of 2019) said that the event was a fun way for people of all theatre skill levels to try out different roles in theatre. “For people new to theatre, this is a low commitment project where they can experience the entire process that goes into a theatre production. For those who are more experienced, it is an opportunity to challenge themselves in new roles and to produce work in the span of only 24 hours,” she added.

For both Siddharth Chatterjee and Winnie Tan (both Class of 2021), this event offered them the chance to try out something they had never experienced: acting.

“I was interested to act in this because I have been interested in exploring theatre in recent years. I wanted to participate in a short play without the long commitment that a full-length play requires,” Siddharth shared.

“The 24 hour play was a golden opportunity to try something I’ve never done before and to put myself out of my comfort zone. I also wanted to get to know more people around school, and I felt like this was a good way to achieve that,” echoed Winnie.

“At first, I thought the process would be really tedious and tiring, because I knew it would involve practising lines over and over again for long hours. But surprisingly, time flew by more quickly than expected, and I learnt numerous techniques in expressing character and emotion, and to speak with more confidence.” she added.

At Yale-NUS, students have the opportunity to participate in different activities. For some, these student-led initiatives within the College’s community of learning not only enabled them to get out of their comfort zone, but also started friendships with more people around the College. For others, such opportunities reignited their passion for the arts and created various learning prospects for everyone involved.