Coconut Tales (椰爷故事)

Art Direction, Installation & Publication Design

Objective:

Develop your own theme/idea for your Final Year Project to research and execute within a year.

This project is for school assignment purposes.

All contents done and copyrighted by me.

Work is showcased at ADM Grad Show 2021.

Coconut Tales (椰爷故事) is an installation that revisits the ‘kampung days of Singapore’ in the perspective of my grandparents. Viewers are transported back to the past with a series of miniature dioramas and a biographical publication. It focuses on the importance of looking back to learn and remember our heritage while moving forward in life. 

 

By experiencing the kampung days through this miniature world, it encourages self-reflection and appreciation in the simplicity and hardships of life then and today. It serves to record, preserve and engage intergenerational families in nostalgic conversations, while passing down Singapore’s intangible heritage to future generations.

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Titled Coconut Tales, it plays on a homophonic pun of “grandfather” (爷爷) and “coconut” (椰子) in Chinese. It uses the art of storytelling to retain memories of the past and strengthen the bond between grandparents and grandchildren. 

 

The project connects family members through shared memories captured in a series of immersive dioramas. Miniature replicas record and revisits stories and moments of two Singaporeans' life during the ‘kampung days’, from the 1950s to the 1970s, contributing to saving Singapore's intangible heritage. 

Consisting of a series of six miniature dioramas, Coconut Tales focuses on two characters in a biographical publication – Kwee Boon and Hong Tiah.

The publication shares and highlights stories significant to both characters in relation to the location of dioramas.

Each diorama is a place of significance to them, ranging from residential areas to workplaces that no longer exists in modern-day Singapore. 

 

Having the exterior designed as vintage food packaging boxes evokes a sense of nostalgia at first glance. The dioramas are nestled within these boxes to create an element of surprise to this heritage project. 

Geylang Shophouse

 

Separated into two levels, the diorama constitutes two different scenes located within Geylang.

Level 1: A community club theatre screening the movie ‘Tarzan’.

Level 2: A house located on the second level of a shophouse, displaying the living room and kitchen.  

Clifford Pier

 

The diorama depicts a scene of the bustling Night Market at Clifford Pier Carpark, with hawkers attracting tourists arriving at the nearby pier. 6 hawkers are present within this scene, selling Cheng Tng, Steamed Buns, Porridge, Goreng Pisang, Wanton Noodles and Beverages.  

Kampung Tai Seng

 

Kampung Hawkers

 

Located within Lorong Tai Seng, this diorama displays the populated front of Tai Seng with houses and street hawkers selling food along the road.

Kampung Backyard

 

Located deep inside Lorong Tai Seng, the diorama depicts the backyard of a kampung house filled with forested lands that are in the process of getting ready for growing crops. 

Kampung House

 

A kampung house reimagined with a cross-section. Dining, bedroom and kitchen interiors are shown, capturing the simplicity of kampung life. 

Tai Keou School

 

A school located in Lorong Tai Seng with 2 classrooms depicting vastly different scenes – A class being conducted and a converted sleeping space. 

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