The Substation’s announcement of its impending closure in July has left the local arts community shaken, with many preparing with heavy hearts to say ‘goodbye’ to a key piece of Singapore’s heritage – one that has been a pillar of the arts scene.
TheHomeGround headed down to The Substation to explore this historic space.
All photos in this series are by THG’s photographer, Malek Roslee, with the exception of archived photos obtained from PictureSG by the National Library Board.
Following the announcement of its closure, crowds have flocked to The Substation to bid farewell, with many sharing their opinions online, through groups such as The Substation Venue. TheHomeGround Asia visited this historic space to learn more.
Home to numerous exhibitions over the years, the Gallery on level one was showing Projek Orang Asli. Exploring artist Zai Kuning’s fascination with the Orang Asli, the aboriginal people indigenous to Peninsular Malaysia.
Zai presents his work across a variety of mediums, including photography, videography and physical forms such as murals.
The Gallery has also housed various other exhibits such as “Corporeity by Susie Wong”, which was held from 9 to 18 October 1997.
The Substation Theatre has provided a cosy atmosphere for many riveting plays, as an ideal space for blackbox productions.
Aside from productions, the Theatre has also hosted events such as the Space, Spaces and Spacing conference, which was a part of SeptFest 1995.
The Substation Garden
The Substation Garden was closed for renovation when our team visited, this week. However, this iconic space is certainly no stranger to events, having been home to events, such as rock concerts and musical performances.
The space was also a highlight of The Substation, with its whimsical garden murals.
The Balcony and Classrooms
Workshops and classrooms were also held at The Substation. TheHomeGround Asia caught a glimpse of these iconic spaces.
The balcony was also a highlight of the space, providing a bird’s-eye view of the street below.
The Dance Studio
A familiar sight to many dancers, the Dance Studio has housed countless classes from renowned local companies, including Sigma Contemporary Dance, over the years.
Dance performances aside, the dance studio has seen events such as talks in days past.
Located at the basement of The Substation, SAD Bar is an ideal space for workshops, intimate performances and panel discussions, with a whimsical charm that perfectly embodies The Substation’s spirit.
What does the arts community have to say?
The arts community has been vocal in the days following The Substation’s announcement, with many expressing shock and disbelief, as they mourn its eventual closure. THG interviewed local rapper Subhas to find out his thoughts on The Substation as the space where he presented his first album, Not A Public Assembly. He speaks about his performance this weekend, featuring his sophomore album, Tabula Rasa, as well as shares his perspective on The Substation and what it means to him.
We also spoke to a member of the public, Tau, who shared his views on The Substation as a space for artists.
Check out our 360 video of The Substation below.
The Substation’s final hurrah, SeptFest 2021, is ongoing till 28 March. Find out more about the full range of events available at their website.