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Speech by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Finance and Chairman of SG50 Steering Committee, at the Singapore: Inside Out (SG:IO) Opening Reception

28 Nov 2015

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen


1. Good evening. Pleased to be here for the official opening of Singapore: Inside Out Homecoming edition.

2. Exciting week. Many things happening.

a. E.g. National Gallery, SG Heart Map, Jubilee Walk tomorrow (Sunday)

i. Events that celebrate our heritage and past, and envision our future.

b. This event is special

i. Organised by Singapore Tourism Board, together with some of Singapore’s creative talents, to show a vibrant, emerging side of Singapore.

ii. An event that celebrates a fermenting, bubbling creativity in the present.

iii. The showcase encourages the discovery of new perspectives of Singapore, while being distinctly Singaporean. Our unique position of being at the crossroads of major civilisations and trade routes has influenced our creative scene, and the artworks here today showcase the convergence of different cultures and synthesising of diverse international influences.

iv. One of the SG50 events that brings our celebrations outside of Singapore to our international friends and Singaporeans based overseas.

c. Successfully toured Beijing, London and New York… Close to 50,000 guests attended the Beijing, London and New York editions, including their partner events

d. We welcome Singapore: Inside Out home to Singapore.

3. Tonight, alongside Singapore: Inside Out, we also showcase culinary talents with the Singapore TakeOut event.

a. This pairing of Singapore Takeout with Singapore: Inside Out is exclusive to the homecoming edition of Singapore: Inside Out.

b. Chefs put a creative spin on traditional dishes.

c. Sure we’re all looking forward to it.

Celebrating SG50 through Creative Arts

4. Fitting to celebrate SG50 through showcase of creative talents.

a. The creative arts are inspired by our past, and can point towards the future, while bringing people together. Very much what we have been doing all year through SG50.

b. In our short history, arts and culture sector (including film, cultural heritage, literary arts, performing arts and visual arts) has come far.

i. We host a vibrant calendar of arts and creative events, such as the Singapore Art Week, Singapore Design Week, Singapore Biennale and Singapore International Festival of Arts. They provide a diversity of experiences, from celebrating visual arts to learning about how good design improves lives.

ii. With the opening of the Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris and National Gallery of Singapore just a few days ago, Singapore will be an even more appealing destination for arts enthusiasts and collectors.

iii. Giving more Singaporeans the opportunity to experience the full range of the arts, and also the chance to explore and grow their talents.

iv. Particular pleasure for me to see young Singaporeans discover their talents and succeed in many different ways.

v. There has been an increasing emphasis on cultivating an appreciation of arts and culture, and nurturing Singaporeans who create artistic and cultural works.

vi. More opportunities for students to further develop their passion in art and music through school programmes.

c. We have developed our own Singapore style, Singapore voices and vision.

i. Many of the artworks in the SG:IO showcase, including Speak Cryptic’s Kamar Kamillion and Janice Wong’s 1,000 Crosses have received a very warm response from the guests, including creative practitioners, in Beijing, London and New York.

ii. Our Singaporean talents speak to us, and also internationally.

5. Through Singapore: Inside Out, we want to:

a. Share with Singaporeans and our international friends our people’s creative talents.

b. Spark creative exchanges that may lead to future collaborations.

6. Back here in Singapore, I am confident that the Homecoming edition will be as successful in drawing both Singaporeans and tourists in to partake in an immersive experience of creative Singapore.

Creating opportunities for our creative talents

7. In fact, it was not just our international audience who benefitted from the travelling showcase and gained a different perspective of Singapore.

a. Our Singapore artists have also received opportunities to showcase their works on various international platforms, some for the first time, and spark new conversations and exchanges with artists and renowned organisations from the respective cities.

i. For example, Singapore independent musicians such as singer-songwriter Charlie Lim (who will be performing this evening), indie-band Gentle Bones, and art-meets-music duo NADA, had the chance to collaborate and perform at London’s iconic independent music retailer, Rough Trade, to widen their audience to those in London.

Bringing us together

8. Singapore: Inside Out also unites us.

a. On one hand, we bond over a shared experience of the showcase.

b. It can also draw in Singaporeans abroad to organise ancillary events to celebrate SG50.

i. Several of them came together to share their Singapore story to the international audience, alongside the SG:IO showcase.

ii. These include ground-up initiatives such as EX PARTE, an independent visual art exhibition in London curated by a Singaporean creative practitioner, Anne Kwan, and Something to Write Home About (STWHA), a 10-day art festival organised led by Singaporean ceramist, Dr Wee Hong-Ling.

c. Can also lead to mutual inspiration and collaborative projects.

i. Happy to hear, some of the Singapore: Inside Out artists are in talks for future collaborations with their overseas counterparts, or teaming up with one another on upcoming projects.

ii. We look forward to more Singaporeans stepping out and making their mark in the creative fields, together.

9. We hope that the conversations sparked as a result of the travelling showcase will continue, and benefit the wider creative community in Singapore.


10. It gives me great pleasure to officiate the opening of Singapore: Inside Out Homecoming edition.

11. I hope we will continue this journey and deepen our creative dialogues on arts and culture, not just with our international friends but among fellow Singaporeans as well.

12. I look forward to the growth of the Singapore creative scene.

a. I am confident that the collaborations and creative exchanges sparked here, through this showcase, will further the dynamism and vibrancy of Singapore’s contemporary creative pulse.

13. Thank you and have an enjoyable evening.