MR MARC ABENSOUR
AMBASSADOR OF FRANCE TO SINGAPORE
vOilah! France Singapore Festival returns from 3 November to 10 December 2021.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we managed to organise last year the festival which was presented under the sign of resilience and innovation. Last year’s festival in-person, phygital and digital programmes corresponding to 325 single events attracted around 300,000 people and brought together 110 partners. It was the only French festival organised worldwide!
Thanks to the “Covid Resilience” strategy in Singapore and the implementation of the Vaccinated Travel Lane between our two countries, the 2021 edition of the festival will present most of the fifty programmes in-person. It will highlight again the excellence, diversity and innovation that characterize France and Singapore’s bilateral partnership and will support, more than ever, the local cultural scene.
While celebrating the spirit of joy and hope with the intention of sharing happy experiences with the audiences, vOilah! 2021 will also be the “Feel Good” edition!
The festival will open with the orchestral adaptation of the book “The Little Prince” performed by the Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra and the actor Hossan Leong, will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the birth of the poet Jean de la Fontaine with the baroque music ensemble “Les Arts Florissants”, will continue the fruitful collaboration with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra by co-presenting the concerts of the pianist Cédric Tiberghien and will pay tribute to the composer Michel Legrand thanks to the Jazz Singapore Association Orchestra directed by Jeremy Monteiro.
The annual French Film Festival, strongly anchored in Singapore’s cultural landscape as one of the most anticipated film festivals, is back again as part of vOilah! with its biggest selection of 35 movies ever! This 37th edition will in particular feature the section ‘’Music in Cinema’’ as well as a special retrospective dedicated to Agnès Varda, the godmother of the French New Wave.
Heritage and common history are celebrated every year during the festival. A virtual experience of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station will be presented at the National Museum. A magnificent book bringing together for the first time all the drawings of the French naturalists Diard and Duvaucel produced in Singapore and the region will be launched at the National Library. The National Library will also present, for the festival finale, the exceptional collaborative exhibition “Mapping the World – Perspectives from Asian Cartography”.
The virtual “Choose France! Education and Career Fair” will be back this year but with an ASEAN format for the first time. More than twenty programmes dedicated to French art de vivre – always long-awaited by the local audiences – will be part of the festival including the exhibition “Designers du Design – Interact” as part of the French excellence series of the Alliance Française.
With a renewed commitment to sustainability, vOilah! 2021 aims to be the first zero-net festival in Singapore by offsetting carbon emissions and will present several engaging programmes gathering in a focus addressing this critical issue among others the “Footprint” exhibition at Gardens by the Bay, the lecture from the economist Philippe Aghion, the film “Bigger Than Us” screened during the French Film Festival, the digital art installation “What is Left of Reality” exhibited at the Science Centre Singapore and several gastronomy programmes based on sustainable food.
I am very grateful to all the partners of the festival – supporters, sponsors and programme presenters – and I sincerely thank Ms Kit Chan to be the patron of this year’s edition and to share her passion with French culture.
MR EDWIN TONG
MINISTER FOR CULTURE, COMMUNITY AND YOUTH
SECOND MINISTER FOR LAW
Singapore and France share a strong and long-standing friendship, underpinned by warm exchanges across diverse areas ranging from the arts, technology, films, to our shared love for food. This multi-faceted relationship has resulted in meaningful collaboration between our artists, museums and cultural institutions, which have contributed to a deeper understanding of our cultures.
The annual vOilah! France Singapore Festival is a much-anticipated event on Singapore’s arts and cultural calendar. It has promoted cross-cultural learning, strengthened our people-to-people ties, and enriched the vibrancy of the arts and culture landscape in Singapore.
I am glad that there has continued to be active cooperation and exchanges between our artists and cultural institutions despite the challenges of COVID-19. The 2020 edition of the festival was testament to how innovation and creativity help us overcome constraints, with programmes like the French Film Festival, gastronomical experiences, music performances and exhibitions presented virtually, ‘phygitally’, as well as live. The Clemenceau in Singapore exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore was particularly memorable, as it marked the 100th anniversary of Georges Clemenceau’s visit to Singapore, and celebrated an important intersection of our two countries’ histories.
I am pleased that vOilah! 2021 will see continued partnerships involving a wide range of Singapore cultural players including the National Arts Council, National Heritage Board, National Library Board, and many others. I am confident that it will spark new conversations, catalyse exchanges, and encourage greater mutual appreciation of our respective cultures.
I wish vOilah! 2021 every success, and all audiences and participants a memorable experience!
MS KIT CHAN
I am so very pleased to be appointed the Patron for the 2021 edition of vOilah! France Singapore Festival. After all, I am an infamous gourmand, I have performed French songs in my concerts, and I love Paris and all things French!
France has conquered the hearts and minds of millions of people throughout the world, and through the ages. As an artist, and a lover of peace, I cannot think of a better way to conquer the world than through music, food, art, fashion, films, and all the things that make life more beautiful and sweeter.
Life can be hard, and especially so these 2 years. It seems to be impossible to do anything significant without addressing the effects that Covid-19 has left on all of us. People have lamented the inability to travel. But why do people travel in the first place? Is it not so we can leave the familiar and the humdrum behind us, as we get transported to a different (and more exciting?) place where we are stimulated with new sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings?
I have often “travelled” to France, ever since I was a teenager, when I discovered the French Impressionists in art books in the school library, listened to Edith Piaf and imagined myself sitting stylishly and nonchalantly in their old-style cafes and cabarets. I mean, that French vibe and aesthetic is unmistakable and distinct in every medium that captured it – films, paintings, music, photographs. And I fell for all of that – hook, line, and sinker.
As an adult, I did travel to Paris many times, and like every well-travelled global citizen, we start to look for connections, and relationships between home and all these fascinating places. It seems a natural thing to do, to make sense of the world through a familiar lens. And I found food to be that link. The French love their food, like we love ours, and we are both able to make something delicious out of the most “unusual” or some might consider “unsavoury” ingredients. This takes imagination, openness, and genius.
I can go on and on, but I think it is apparent that I am something of a Francophile, who is also 100% Singaporean. I am very honoured and excited to be part of this festival that not only celebrates French culture in Singapore, but also showcases artistic collaborations between our two countries. It is my hope that this friendship and mutual admiration will continue to grow from strength to strength with the years. I also hope that the programme lined up for the festival will be able to bring cheer and excitement to Singaporeans who are itching to travel, and perhaps comfort to the French community here who are longing for home.
Life is what we make of it, and we should always make the best of it. So vOilah! Here it is, your trip to France! Just go attend everything lah! It will be just like you are there…
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