PUBLIC ART has existed in numerous forms and functions since the beginning of recorded time. Even the oldest cave drawings by ancient indigenous tribes in number of areas in the world, from Europe to Asia, to Australasia, Oceania and the Americas, can be seen as the first examples. In each case, these primitive works were partly created to articulate to others a particular message that complements the given circumstances of time and place. So to does PUBLIC ART today – in a variety of ways.
Throughout time the needs and expression of PUBLIC ART has been widely diverse, complementing the historical, geographical, financial, socio-political and cultural context of a specific artist and/or specific group and/or cause. For example, the beginning of work reflecting environmental concerns began in earnest in the 1960s and 1970s, which collectively can be called turbulent decades of social protest and change, including global awareness and protests over perceived abuse of Mother Earth. Environmental concerns are still very much a major feature in numerous modern works of PUBLIC ART.
I have longed been fascinated with PUBLIC ART, classical and modern. Broadly speaking, I define PUBLIC ART as any work that is designed to be shared in public, in a public place, and that has some contemporary public purpose and meaning – and includes statues, fountains, war memorials, shrines, graveyards, churches, temples, as well as the numerous forms of ‘street art’, graffiti, as well advertising a particular product or place.
The following is from recent works of PUBLIC ART over the past 5 years that have attracted my attention, starting with SINGAPORE