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The piece of art I found most
interesting was First Generation by
Chong Fah Cheong( The sculpture was created as part
of a series of sculptures by various sculptors, in the Open Air Interpretative
Centre project by the Singapore Tourism Board and it is now located in Cavenagh
Bridge, Singapore. It reminded me of the image and emotions of childhood we all
possess in a physical form. Cheong was born in Cheong is well known for his
various public sculptures he created in Singapore, therefore his pieces are highly
appreciated by the general population. He worked in a variety of styles from
abstract to figurative, his name is widely recognized with a series of
figurative sculptures portraying the life of people living and working along
the Singapore River. In 2014, Chong was even awarded the Cultural Medallion, which
is a cultural award granted to those who have achieved artistic excellence in
dance, theatre, literature, music, photography, art or film.

            The First Generation was created by local
sculptor Chong Fah Cheong, in the year 2000, after a request from the Singapore
Tourist Council for an Open Air Interpretative Centre. The project’s goal was to
create a series of sculptures reflecting scenes from the ancient Singapore’s
era; the centre of which was concentrated along the namesake river in older
times. Immigration to Singapore was a historical factor to their growth in
population. The economic development of Singapore was credited by the major
number of immigrants. This was back in the 1960s, not long ago there was a big
booming period in the population of Singapore due to immigration.

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There were immigrants from many places, the majority being
consisted of Orientals and Europeans. They not only helped the population grow,
but as said before, they also had a positive impact on the economy due to their
labor. Although some laws limiting the number of immigrants coming in have been
passed, the government also recognized the need for immigrants to maintain a
healthy economy; they came up with policies and incentives to attract talented
workers and allows them to stay. Cheong’s sculptures always hinted to the irrefutable
fact that immigration allowed Singapore to raise its national standing, while
also referring to the childhood memories possessed by the citizens. The Singapore
river was much like a “pool” for the young immigrants who lacked any other way
of entertainment, therefore making the river a symbol of innocence and
childhood. According to the travel Singapore website, Chong planned to make a
sixth boy that would swim in the water, but that was later cancelled as it
would influence the natural current of the river negatively.

The initial response to the
sculpture was very positive, given the fact that Chong Fah Cheong was an
already well-known artist from Singapore. Chong is known for creating both
abstract and figurative sculptures. Many of his works comment upon the pursuit
of position, wealth and power. He also has a whimsical side. His works portray
a sense of humor that can be appreciated by adult and child alike. Amazingly
enough, he was self-taught, and this provided him a more independent and impactful
style to his work. This continued to maintain a positive outlook on the
sculpture, as there nothing inherently wrong with it, and instead hopes to
freeze memories of older times in a single place for all to enjoy. It also adds
to the positive feedback the fact that it is next to the Fullerton Hotel. The
Fullerton Hotel is one of the most, if not the most iconic piece of
architecture in Singapore. It was originally assigned as a part of the 100th
British Colony Celebration. At the time, it was the biggest building ever built
in Singapore and it was so uniquely and intelligently designed that it has been
acclaimed to be on the top ten hotels in Singapore. This fact has direct
correlation with the First Generation as
it represents the best of Singaporean history into works of art. The Hotel represents
the 100th anniversary of the British Colony, while the sculpture
aims to invoke a sense of naivety and childhood.

This art vividly reminds me of my
childhood. I spent my first nine years of life living in Cuba, a country frozen
on time. The lack of technology and/or sources of entertainment make the
country a place where how much fun you have is directly related to what you can
make of the things that surround you. I remember my friends and I used to go
down to the river almost every day of summer, much like the kids depicted in
the sculpture. It makes me relive all these emotions I had and that I gave for
granted. The nostalgia I felt was the dominant factor as to why I decided to
choose this work of art. I would argue that most people enjoy the sculpture
because of that very reason These types of sculptures that reference the past can
trigger emotional responses from the people, even physical in some cases. That
is what makes art so compelling to those who enjoy it. After taking humanities,
I now lack the ability to see things in simple term; try to always look for the
deeper meaning behind it before deciding to blurt out opinions, except for the
Rick and Morty fanbase, they have no deeper meaning.

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