Remembering The Substation

Malek Roslee
Malek Roslee

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.

The Substation Exterior
The Substation’s exterior, present day.
he Substation's First Anniversary Walk-a-Jog : Exterior of the Substation
The Substation’s First Anniversary Walk-a-Jog : Exterior of the Substation. (Source: The Substation Ltd and National Library Board Singapore, 2016)

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.

The Gallery

The Substation Gallery
The Gallery

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.

Remembering The Substation: Gallery
Projek Orang Asli by Zai Kuning
Remembering The Substation: Gallery
Projek Orang Asli by Zai Kuning

Zai presents his work across a variety of mediums, including photography, videography and physical forms such as murals.

Remembering The Substation: Gallery
Projek Orang Asli by Zai Kuning
Remembering The Substation: Gallery
Projek Orang Asli by Zai Kuning
Remembering The Substation: Gallery
Projek Orang Asli by Zai Kuning

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 Gallery
Banner for the Corporeity by Susie Wong exhibition, 1997. (Credit: The Substation Ltd and National Library Board Singapore, 2016)
The Substation: Gallery
Susie Wong speaking to audience at the Corporeity by Susie Wong exhibition, 1997. (Credit: The Substation Ltd and National Library Board Singapore, 2016)

READ: What Does The Substation’s Closure Mean For Artists?

Theatre

The Substation Theatre has provided a cosy atmosphere for many riveting plays, as an ideal space for blackbox productions.

The Substation Theatre
The team hard at work at The Substation Theatre.
The Substation Theatre
Mid-rehearsal at The Substation Theatre.
The Substation Theatre
Mid-rehearsal at The Substation Theatre

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 Theatre
Septfest 1995 – Space, Spaces and Spacing : Audience at the conference [1]. (Credit: The Substation Ltd and National Library Board Singapore, 2016)

Read: Farewell, The Substation: Chicken Soup for The Fringe Soul

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 Substation Garden
Nuradee sitting in the Substation Garden. (Credit: The Substation Ltd and National Library Board Singapore, 2016)

The space was also a highlight of The Substation, with its whimsical garden murals.

The Substation Garden Mural 1990s
A mural in The Substation Garden, which was painted by local artists in the 1990s. (Credit: The Substation Ltd and National Library Board Singapore, 2016)
The Substation Garden mural 8
Another mural at The Substation Garden, which was painted in 1995. (Credit: The Substation Ltd and National Library Board Singapore, 2016)

The Balcony and Classrooms

Workshops and classrooms were also held at The Substation. TheHomeGround Asia caught a glimpse of these iconic spaces.

The Substation Classroom
The Substation Classroom
The Substation Classroom
The Substation Classroom

The balcony was also a highlight of the space, providing a bird’s-eye view of the street below.

The Substation Balcony
The Substation Balcony
The Substation Balcony
The Substation Balcony

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.

The Substation Dance Studio
The Substation Dance Studio
The Substation Dance Studio
The Substation Dance Studio

The Substation Dance Studio
Septfest 99 : For Want of a Better Word (or Please) [2]. (Credit: The Substation Ltd and National Library Board Singapore, 2016)
Dance performances aside, the dance studio has seen events such as talks in days past.

The Substation Dance Studio
Philip Jeyaretnam speaking to Kuo Pao Kun at his talk, 1994. (Credit: The Substation Ltd and National Library Board Singapore, 2016)

SAD Bar

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.

The Substation SAD Bar
One of The Substation’s staff members opens the door to SAD Bar.
The Substation SAD Bar
The entrance to SAD Bar.
The Substation SAD Bar
The interior of SAD Bar, with its iconic neon sign.

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.

Join the conversations on THG’s Facebook and Instagram, and get the latest updates via Telegram.

YOU MIGHT LIKE

SPOTLIGHT

LATEST UPDATE

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest articles and insights right to your inbox!

You might like

Spotlight

Gender Equality: It is about timeGender equality does not mean that women and men need to become the same or given the same treatment, especially at the workplace. What it…
23 Mar 2022
7 mins read

Latest updates

BROWSE BY TAGS

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Create an account

Fill the form below to register

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?