A Migrant Mural
A Migrant Mural – Art for Social Change
From the 16th to the 19th of March, 2017, students and staff of the National University of Singapore (NUS) were invited to pick up a paintbrush on their way to/from class and fill in an empty spot of their choice on a 2.0 x 2.4 metre plywood structure in Town Plaza, University Town. As the days progressed, more people coloured the outlines in, and a pastel mural took form. Though it only took 4 days for the mural to adopt full colour, the Migrant Mural is a collaboration that has been underway since November 2015. The piece was conceptualised by Yati, WiWi, Dipu, Glory-Ann, and Nora – five migrant workers from various demographics who spent a couple of Sundays with A’shua Imran (Artistic Director) and Martha Adelia (Designer) – artists from Mural Lingo, and Deesha Menon – the head of this event.
Over these sessions, they read their poetry, shared stories from home, spoke about what was important to them, and expounded on their experiences as migrants in a nation that regards them as merely transient. The result is a mural that aims to reflect these migrant workers, both in spirit and identity, amongst various other things that make them far more than just fleeting workers. The idea was to leverage on art, as a blatant visual form, to speak to people in ways that academia often cannot. Be it a single brushstroke or an afternoon’s worth of painting, we all have a part to play when it comes to incorporating migrant identities into our physical environment and collective consciousness.