24 Aug 2023
Shoppers at The Centrepoint get the opportunity to go back in time in Singapore’s history with the realistic models by miniature art maestro, Mr Wilfred Cheah. His artworks are part of the mall’s National Day activity, the "Trash to Treasure" Miniature Artwork Exhibition, which will take place from 22 August to 3 September 2023.
Mr Cheah’s main inspiration for the exhibition artwork comes from childhood memories, either places he has visited or seen before. This has manifested into miniatures of provision shops, hawker stalls, homes and even a playground, which are filled with intricate details and are layered with stories of Singapore’s unique heritage.
He said: “One of the key art pieces for this exhibition is a local dessert stall that has been operating since 1972. I love desserts, especially chendol. These dessert stalls (and their hot and cold desserts) are distinctive to our local culture and is something all Singaporeans are very familiar with.”
When he decided to retire three years ago, he had only one passion to pursue – Art. “I didn't want to do just painting or drawings, I wanted to create something three-dimensional that would be able to touch hearts. I stepped into the world of miniature art, without any knowledge of what it is about and how to go about doing it. Then I decided to find suitable recyclable materials from daily items and maybe make something out of it. I just tried, failed, and started again, day by day, little by little I picked up how to get things done with a determined mindset and a refusal to give up.”
Bringing people together and fostering a tight knit community
The "Trash to Treasure" Miniature Artwork Exhibition is part of Frasers Property Singapore’s efforts to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together to enjoy and share heartwarming stories, so that the community can have a better appreciation of Singapore’s rich history and a stronger sense of belonging to our nation. We hope that the scenes of the artworks spark fun and interesting conversations between intergenerational members of the family, strengthening familial bonds.
Mr Wilfred Cheah’s intricate mini art pieces capture nostalgic scenes from Singapore’s past for all to grow a deeper love and appreciation of our nation.
Mr Wilfred Cheah feels that such community events play an important role in fostering tight knit communities and bringing people together. He shared: “With the easy access we have to technology and social media today, people seldom feel the need to meet up, talk, or be physically present. Hence, community events in a physical space can provide a purpose for people to come together, get up close with artwork and enjoy spending time with each other.”
In addition to providing a platform to showcase our local artists, the exhibition hopes to inspire the community to explore new fun ways to turn waste into something beautiful.
Miniature art pieces, big inspiration
The exhibition at The Centrepoint is the second instalment of Frasers Property Singapore’s Trash to Treasure Miniature Art Exhibition, with the first one held at Tiong Bahru Plaza in April 2023. The success and popularity of the first exhibition inspired a Trash to Treasure Miniature Contest, where shoppers were encouraged to repurpose pre-loved items to create miniature art pieces celebrating iconic places and scenes in Singapore. The contest helped participants to explore their passion in the arts, share their personal stories, and raise awareness on issues related to sustainability.
(Left to right) Art pieces by winners Ms Elizabeth Ong, Mr Ang Toh Kim, and Ms Artemisia from the Trash to Treasure Miniature Contest.
Ms Elizabeth Ong, who won first place with her art piece, “Afternoon Tea Break”, said: “The inspiration behind the model is the importance of taking the time to relax, to chit chat with your loved ones, and enjoy the simple things in life.”
Mr Ang Toh Kim, who clinched second place with his artwork, “My Bathroom”, shared: “Visiting Mr Cheah’s exhibition inspired me to observe the items around us and how we can reuse them, including creating art pieces. My art piece for this competition will be the first of many.”
Ms Artemisia, whose art piece titled “Tiong Bahru Post War Flat” came in third place, mentioned: “Housed in a glass jar, the diorama shows an apartment from a past time, full of unique history. I hope that it shows how people should take a moment to appreciate the things that are often overlooked in everyday life, such as the glass jar in the model. While people will usually discard the glass jar after its contents have been consumed, it was used as a meaningful centrepiece in the model instead.”
She was one of many inspired by Mr Wilfred Cheah to pick up miniature crafting. “I have followed Mr Cheah on his social media pages for a while now, so I have long admired the work that he shares on his socials. I was particularly struck by his detailed miniaturised provision store. The meticulousness of the food products was so immersive, it felt as though I could reach in and grab a snack,” she recalled.
Appreciating the past, protecting the future
A big thank you to all whom came down and participated in the exhibitions and the contest. We are glad to be able to engage the community through the miniature art series, and for our malls to serve as a focal point in forging a tight knit community, and to raise awareness on appreciating the environment and adopting a sustainable lifestyle.