WHO ARE WE? WHAT DO WE DO?
OH! Open House is an independent arts organisation that tells alternative stories of Singapore through art. Since 2009, we have provided more than 20,000 people with the unique experience of appreciating art and heritage outside of museums and galleries – from strangers’ homes to underutilised public spaces. We work with artists to present art in unconventional locations, or in surprising new ways. Through our diverse programmes, OH! creates opportunities to understand and connect with the everyday on a more meaningful level.
HOW DO WE TELL STORIES?
We offer programmes that combine art and heritage. We put artworks that respond to spaces they are housed within i.e. they are site specific – they tell stories of the spaces they are housed in and/or can only be best experienced within those spaces. We offer:
We are experience specialists. Nobody does tours like we do. In the format of guided tours, audiences get to step into private homes and spaces to see museum-worthy artworks. Art exhibitions can leave audiences feeling disconnected – art-speak can be intimidating; or else people use art as selfie backdrops. In this sense, heritage walking tours can connect visitors much better with the neighbourhoods, with our spaces. What differentiates us with heritage walks is that you don’t just learn, you experience through the art and the stories that lie within. Today, our art walks remain unique and popular despite that free heritage and art trails are dime in a dozen. Close to 5,000 ticketed guests visited our 2018 edition in Emerald Hill.
We have turned terraced houses into museum and artworks. We have converted HDB staircases into galleries – you get to start from the highest floor, make your way down, with each floor encompassing a different work, a different story. Whilst transforming spaces with artworks, we give audiences a chance to explore Singapore and learn about her.
WHAT DO WE HOPE TO ACHIEVE?
Provide alternative ways to experience art, outside of museums and galleries.
Give local artists opportunities to experiment with site-specificity – to unlock or even create new meanings to our everyday spaces.
Challenge audiences to think deeper about the immediate environment they inhabit, and the larger context of Singapore.
OUR ORIGIN STORY
“When I first moved to Singapore, I shifted with my few belongings into a shophouse. I wanted to use the space better, so I invited an artist, Xiao Yun, to do something. All I gave her was a house key. No guidance, no parameters. I enjoyed the process and final installation so much, I thought, “Why don’t my neighbours do the same thing?” Alan [co-founder] was the first person who not only loved the idea, but wanted to do it. For our first few art walkabouts, it was just Alan and me with a part-time team. Today, we have a full-time team, and we are an Institute of Public Character. We continue to bring art out of museums and galleries and into our everyday spaces, bringing art to the public. Most importantly, we give artists opportunities to lead national conversations – to question our way of life, to chart our way forward.”
— Oliver Bettin, Co-founder, Chairperson
WHAT DO PEOPLE SAY ABOUT US?
“I like seeing regular paraphernalia from the school classrooms and the residents’ own decor amongst the exhibits… Each OH! Open House event I’ve managed to attend has been memorable and different...”
–– @Pickleandpepper, Audience, OH! Emerald Hill
“I have always appreciated OH! for its courage to challenge Singapore. I would even use the word ‘radical’, for the fact that it made art walkabouts a thing in a tightly-regulated city, and introduced art into neighbourhoods where some people do not even have the slight interest to step into a museum to look at art. It forces artists to explain art to (sometimes illiterate) kopitiam uncles, and forces yuppies to listen to stories about back alleys and people whose voices are small and forgotten. It forces the exchange between the unlikely, ruffle some feathers, and get us thinking.”
–– Lim Qi Xuan, Designer and Sculptor, worked with OH! in 2015 – 2016
Oliver is a Managing Director and Global Head of Business Controls for Fixed Income and Currencies at Deutsche Bank, where he has worked for the past 18 years in various positions across Trading and Risk Management in London, Geneva, New York and Singapore.
Member and Executive Director
Alan is an artist-curator whose work and projects examine the intersection of art history and politics. As an artist, his work has been shown in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia and the USA. He is also artistic director of Singapore’s first independent contemporary arts centre, The Substation.
Lisa is the head of transaction banking at Standard Chartered. Her international banking career spans over 25 years working across Europe, the USA, and Asia. Lisa is ranked as one of Top 20 Women in Finance by Finance Asia in 2011.
Philip started his career at the BBC and spent many years in UK broadcasting before becoming the Controller of Operations for the world’s first entirely digital direct-to-home satellite TV service. Later, he was a consultant with a Government of Singapore Research Institute and subsequently joined one of its video software ventures as Chief Operating Officer.
Randy is one of Singapore’s leading young artist-architects specialising in the convergence between art and architecture. Randy’s recent accolades include the Singapore Institute of Architects gold medal for the 38 Holland Park in 2010 and the President’s Design Award 2013 for his collaborative artwork Building as a Body.
Tan Kheng Hua
Kheng is an award-winning actress and producer in Singapore. She is seen in the movie Crazy Rich Asians, where she plays “Kerry Chu”. Kheng has also created and produced festivals such as The SIN-PEN Colony at the Georgetown Festival in Penang and The 20-Something Festival in Singapore.
Lim Su Pei
Su Pei has over nine years of experience working for the arts industry. Under the umbrella of The Old Parliament House Limited (nka The Arts House Limited), she has managed international and regional arts-business programmes held locally and across the continent in South Africa and Eastern Europe.
Aletheia is passionate about bringing surreal, immersive art experiences to life. Apart from developing the volunteer programme, Aletheia also project manages and spearheads marketing. She is interested in cross-cultural understanding, tourism and pushing the boundary between art and technology.
Kirti Bhaskar Upadhyaya
Kirti received her degree in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. She is passionate about modern and contemporary Asian art, with a particular interest in art that addresses colonial histories. She investigates the complicated histories and narratives of Singapore through her work at OH!
Chang Cheng Mun
Community Management Intern
Cheng Mun is a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in Anthropology and East Asian Languages and Cultures. She previously had research experiences with AWARE and the Institute of Policy Studies, and is interested in how people develop organisations and community around common interests.
Sheryll received her degree in Textile Design from the Glasgow School of Art. She is interested in the intersection between material histories, pop culture and audience experience, especially how art can transform mundane spaces. She has two years of experience in the luxury industry, developing comms strategies and event concepts for fashion and lifestyle clients.
Yeo Zhi Yi
Zhi Yi is a current communications undergraduate at Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information. She is passionate about creating experiences for audiences, having organised art-related events like Buro 24/7’s The Buro Festival and Perspectives Film Festival. In her free time, she dabbles in theatre and dance.