Happy Birthday because of you
July is our birthday month! Social Creatives would like to sincerely say a big thank you to you as it is because of you we continue to impact lives. I will like to share about some great upcoming works and even appeared on the cover page of Straits Times but since then faced a challenge of $700,000 loss of potential revenue due to red-tape and policy challenges that prevent us from doing our best.
About Social Creatives
Social Creatives is a unique organisation modeled as a Social Business, and we are one-of-a-kind in the arts sector as we operate as an intermediary. As a ground-up initiative, we have impacted many lives, low income groups such as beneficiaries in poverty, welfare organisations and our country. To date, we have produced numerous internationally-acclaimed impactful and trend-setting projects. Our projects have been featured on CNN, the International Herald Tribune, a music video by renowned Singaporean singer Corrinne May and even on the cover page of Straits Times last year. However, since last year, it has become more challenging due to new policies and regulations.
Red Tape Kills Creativity
Currently, Social Creatives is at an interesting stage. An estemed public artist once expressed Social Creatives creates many "open-top hippos" while a veteran in the arts felt that we have been bullied. Social Creatives has great initiatives in the pipeline but are faced with challenges at sector and policy levels that are beyond our capacity. Since our birth, one challenge has been that organisations such as statutory boards have initiated projects too similar to Social Creatives’ and have taken over our proposals. In addition, we approached some government bodies for help in facilitating permission but they asked us to go to Gebiz. This has resulted in a loss of over $300,000 worth of projects that we initiated but which they executed on their own. Consequently, they created kiddish artworks that some other artists think were made by Social Creatives, affecting our branding. We tried to ask for help but due to the nature of our innovation, we received over 9 rejections from a single organisation and over $400,000 worth of potential assistance were rejected. One of our earliest projects was to paint 20 murals with only S$2000. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to even sign off our artworks for some projects. We have tried to go through proper channels only to end up being squeezed, getting personal attacks and being faulted with.
Nonetheless, Social Creatives believes that it is better not to be personal or find faults. We believe that certain policies make it difficult for us to do our very best. We do have some internal challenges but at times sector problems affects our growth. For example, People's Association, Gebiz, and statutory boards do not require Compass Licenses and there are new regulations of murals and street art. We can only take this in our stride even though sadly cash in the bank at times still hits below $5000. We believe while Social Creatives hopes to address the gaps of society, we too fall within these gaps.
Silver Linings and rooted Passion to Serve
We can only try our hardest to paint silver linings in our artwork and appear positive, as well as do the best we can for a better Singapore and a better eARTh. We have recently returned from China where we were involved in a project called “The Miracle” in May, in collaboration with legendary artist Mr. Liu Chia Chang and the Global Mural Association. This July, we will be working with a Cultural Medallion recipient and arts guru, Mr. Goh Beng Kwan on a project in Aljunied but in Macpherson GRC. Thereafter, in November, we will be Painting London to promote engagement among minorities inline with South East Asia Arts Fest.
As Social Creatives promotes an inclusive eARTh, we have much potential in our growth such as being the Legal Banksy or being at the level of nobel prize recipients My team and I loves our country but at times there are certain cracks which cause people to be affected by the system, creating too many walls between us. That is why Social Creatives paints our physical and emotional walls! The team has been together for years and a colleagues is with me since our first year in 2008. Even though it seemed like we are not able to smell the roses at times, we are motivated by our passion and a keen desire to make a difference.
The Many Colours
I would like to say thank you to my team as Social Creatives as we are governed by our ‘kampung spirit’ and ‘gotong royong’ (mutual understanding). Together we have great possibilities. We have recently moved into a 6000sqf space at Phillips Electronics, that we transformed with $2000 from a bare unit to a fully-carpeted space with a play and work area, complete with 15 work stations.
The back stories of the team include being from a shelter home, an abusive background, being expelled from arts school because of finances and being kicked out of the house because of one’s sexual orientation. My motivation for starting Social Creatives years back was due to my Dyslexia and I felt Singapore needed more colours. Like most people, I thought Dyslexia was about spelling and writing errors however I have recently learnt it is so much more than that. Hence, my team and I just want to create art for a better eARTh.
Why we continue to do what we do
As much as we want to say thank you more often, we lack the resources to do so. We were supposed to organise a dinner but lack the resources. We believe the best way to say thank you is to pay it forward. I would also like to share the story of Mr Chandra Kumar, who was formerly a drug addict and was diagnosed with diabetes resulting in the amputation of his legs. Despite all this, he would be watching us from a distance with a smile whenever we were at one of our Void Deck Galleries. He explained that he stayed alone in his one-room flat but the art gallery gave him comfort and hope especially when visitors painted at his neighbourhood. We have also noticed our art creating tears of joy and hope for people. It is through these encounters that our hearts are touched and we are compelled to do even more.
As this is the blessed month of Ramadan, we would like to thank you once again from the bottom of our hearts. As we have been overwhelmed by the red tape and various sector challenges, we may have not been able to thank you enough in the past. However, we do apologise for any shortcomings and sincerely wish for your kind understanding. We hope to earn your continuous support and friendship.
Because of you, we are able to impact lives. As today is the 7th Day in July and it is our 7th birthday, the team would like to thank you for helping us achieve 7 years of Social Creatives.
Founder and Chief Executive