Day 161 : Art or Vandalism?

Recently, a sticky issue got Singapore divided about whether the words “My Grandfather Road” or “My Grandfather Building” spray painted onto roads and buildings while black round stickers with quirky quotes were stuck on traffic light buttons all over our little red dot constituted art or vandalism.

The woman behind this controversial act of artistic expression was caught and charged under Section 2 of the Vandalism Act for public property, a conviction that carries a maximum fine of S$2,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years.

Perhaps due to the sticker messages resonating with the hearts of Singaporeans, her arrest set off a furore of criticisms online about the Singapore governement’s hard-handedness at dealing with the matter. A petition was created to gather signatures for the Sticker Lady (as she’s been nicknamed) to be pardon and My Grandfather this and My Grandfather that became a new catchphrase with the circular stickers popping up overnight like a black rash over the worldwide web.

So, what about me? What do I think? Is it celebrated creativity or punishable wilfulness?

Well, what do you think of the 2 sticker messages here? Are they just purely statements or declarations bordering on profanity? I guess my point is, modern art is always open to interpretation as what’s beauty no longer meant what looks attractive visually but how an expression connects with us.

I am neither for nor against what the artist did. I just think that when weather wears out those stickers on our traffic lights, how unsightly and a mess those defaced stickers will look then.

And also, where were the voices to support creativity in the case of Oliver Fricker, a Swiss who was given 3 strokes of the cane and incarcerated for 5 months when he vandalised a MRT carriage? What about the outcry over SingPost who painted their post boxes with graffiti art two years ago? SingPost had to apologise for pulling that publicity stunt.

And if Singaporeans are so passionate about art, why is the annual Singapore Arts Festival taking a break next year? A case where nobody cares when it’s staged? Perhaps they should try vandalism to attract eyeballs. Heh heh.

Thanks for reading this vandalism on the cyberspace.



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Eugene
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 09:53:10

    if we install an official art piece on an open space or whatever the art might be, there will sure leave something (Stretch, or whatever). The marks leave behind by stickers cant be such a big deal. Oh..but Singapore just banned chewing gum because it leave a mark or a mess? Hello!! Prefect is not really prefect. Loosen up abit! We should ban stickers too?


    • Darren Ng
      Jun 12, 2012 @ 16:49:36

      i guess the case in point in commissioned artwork is that a temporary artwork when uninstalled, funds have been allocated to make good or reinstate the site. in the case of sticker lady, it is pblic funds that will go into reinstating the traffic light buttons and roads. imagine someone sticking stuff all over ur door. freedom of expression shouldn’t be confused with irresponsibility. the notion of art imbues in itself subjective interpretations of them being something of value or not. i’m not here to glorify or condemn, but to look at what happens when all the fireworks is over.


  2. Leow
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 17:38:02

    Very very funny! I like the 2 photos, taken very well too.
    I’m wondering what’s so art about the stuff she does? I think the MRT ones looks pretty more art then hers. But vandalism is vandalism, can’t keep using art as an excuse. Like that, loanshark if kenna caught for throwing paint, they can also say it’s art, hahaha!


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