Welcome to Bras Basah Complex.
Here, among the bookshops you will find a second-hand store with wobbling towers of books, traditional almanac calendars in a Chinese bookstore and a beloved, knowledgeable art and design bookseller. What happens when three artists take inspiration from this space?
A billboard for books. A set of infographic banners. A fort made out of calendars. Each tells a different story about the City of Books. Look out for these outdoor installations among the bookstores.
In the middle of it all, interact with the story of kid detective Sherlock Sam who is brought to life in a fantastical playground on the spiral staircase.
Bras Basah Complex
Blk 231 Bain Street
Basheer Graphic Books X Lai Yu Tong
Mr Abdul Nasser is the owner of Basheer Graphic Books. Previously an itinerant book supplier, he founded his brick-and-mortar store in 1985. The one thing that he remembers his father teaching him about bookselling is to have confidence. "Just take. We will surely be able to sell these books. Don't worry.”
Lai Yu Tong (b. 1996) is a multidisciplinary Singaporean artist whose practice delves into familiar everyday conditions — mundanity, exhaustion and instability. He was part of Noise Singapore's The Apprenticeship Programme in 2014. Most recently, he had completed artistic interventions in the common space on the top floor of Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre.
Evernew Book Store X Berny Tan (陈俐敏)
Mr Neo Siong Heng established Evernew Book Store in 1998. The store used to provide book rental services before focusing on both English and Chinese second-hand books. To Mr Neo, the existence of second-hand stores is a testament to the importance of literature, whether old or new in appearance.
Berny Tan (b. 1990) was born and raised in Singapore, and graduated with a BFA in Visual & Critical Studies from the School of Visual Arts in 2014. An artist, curator, writer and occasional designer, her practice explores the inherent tension in her attempts to systematise intangible, emotional experiences. She recently concluded her first solo exhibition at Supernormal.
Maha Yu Yi X Kelly Limerick
Brother-sister duo Mr Sung Jee Tong and Ms Sung Yuen Ling run the Chinese bookstore, Maha Yu Yi. Founded by their father in 1969, what was formerly a Bendemeer shophouse grown into two storefronts today. They believe that the key to selling books is about providing great service – listening to feedback and understanding buyers’ preferences.
Kelly Limerick is the pseudonym of Singaporean-born artist Kelly Lim (b. 1991). As a crochet artist and yarn bomber, her works often include elements of 'kimo-kawaii' (きもかわいい) – a Japanese term meaning grotesque-cute and focuses on textures and details. She had her work exhibited most recently at Asian Civilisation Museum as part of Light to Night Festival 2018.
Enter the world of kid detective Sherlock Sam’s Sinister Letters in Bras Basah. Interact with robot Watson, create adventures with your child and have them draw their way through the colourful spiral staircase of the City of Books.
OH! Open House is a non-profit arts organisation that seeks to redefine everyday spaces through art, by challenging artists to create new work that responds to an existing space - a specific neighbourhood, history or even a home. Since 2009, OH! has provided more than 15,000 people with the unique experience of appreciating art and heritage outside of the conventional museum and gallery.