Seelan Palay’s solo art exhibition

A sole black and white poster on the exhibition
A sole black and white poster on the exhibition

Rachel, Leon, Melvin, Hajar and I visited social activist Seelan Palay‘s solo art exhibition at the strangely-named “Your Mother Gallery” located at Hindoo Road in Little India.

Not familiar with the area, it took some time before the five of us managed to even meet each other and took even more time for us to navigate (apparently, there are two Hindoo roads in Little India).

Leon and I got acquainted with Seelan during our filmmaking days. Quiet and always with a smile on his face, he is a very friendly chap to share conversation with. Beneath the tranquil appearance is a fiery personality who believes strongly in speaking up and fighting for freedom and democracy.

I wasnt lying about the gallerys name
I wasn't lying about the gallery's name
Newspaper collages
Newspaper collages
Guestbook
Guestbook
A video installation featuring the late freedom fighter, Mr. JBJ
A video installation featuring the late freedom fighter, Mr. JBJ
Large print of ex-ISA detainee, Vincent Cheng
Large print of ex-ISA detainee, Vincent Cheng
Leon and Rachel chatting with another visitor
Leon and Rachel chatting with another visitor
Quotes made from newspapers clippings
Quotes made from newspapers clippings
Some sketches
Some sketches
Outside the gallery
Outside the gallery

Seelan’s personality sums up his artworks – there’s more than meets the eye. However, while the messages were strong and forceful, I thought the execution was a tad disappointing. Seelan’s choice of media – newspaper collages and block prints – were too simple, considering the bold messages they encompass. Then again, the effect could have been deliberate and that’s just my personal observation. You can read a more detailed review via the Kent Ridge Common by Melvin Chan.

From a marketing perspective, Seelan Palay has a unique branding as a local artist who has been prosecuted  (for his involvement with the SDP) by the state and has paid for his beliefs. I cannot name any other resident artist who can boast of such a “credential”.

After checking out the exhibition, the bunch of us headed to one of the new Indian restaurants opposite Mustafa Centre for dinner. The food was not too good, compared to Anjappar, which Rachel and I visited earlier.

Still, it rounded up an eventful evening where I got to catch up with some old friends and at the same time, check out off-beat artworks in squeaky clean Singapore.

Leon enjoying his dinner
Leon enjoying his dinner
Hajar and Melvin enjoying their meals
Hajar and Melvin enjoying their meals
Melvins naan with butter chicken
Melvin's naan with butter chicken
A spinach dish which Rachel and I like
A spinach dish which Rachel and I like
My egg utthappam
My egg utthappam

In case you are interested:

The gallery is located at 91A Hindoo Road (the Jalan Besar end), Little India, Singapore. It is close to Mustafa Centre, along Jalan Besar Road, and is closest to Farrer Park MRT. To arrange for an appointment to visit this exhibition, contact Seelan Palay at 92445785 or via email at seelanpalay@gmail.com. The exhibition runs from 25 July to 17 August. Visit his blog at http://seelanpalay.blogspot.com.

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