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Thinking and Talking about Arts and Culture in Southeast Asia
Photo by Priyageetha Dia

Staircase artwork by Singaporean Priyageetha Dia depicts a reverse-Midas scenario

“And leaving gold in a public area–of course it would be bait. Not so much for thieves, but the ensuing discourse, already overdetermined, of whether it was authorised, legal, permissible, safe. MP’s and Town Council officials weighing in, sandpapering the gold with their pronouncements more than the slipper-soles of the residents who actually use the staircase.

(Why not wonder instead, how the artwork looked like in the morning, bathed in gentle sunlight? How this has resulted in placemaking and mythmaking–‘The Golden Staircase of Jalan Rajah’, with the royal sheen of that name? Why do we ask whether it will slow us down and not ask if we would slow down for it?)

… All that glitters must be controlled.”

Read the rest of Alfian Sa’at’s reflections on power’s response to young artist Priyageetha Dia’s controversial work gold-coating steps in her HDB housing block.

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