Updated: Jun 15
IMMEMORIAL, In Memoriam: Rizman Putra’s Community Installation Lives On as NFT
Entering Art Outreach’s office during Singapore Art Week in January 2022, visitors found themselves transported to a fantastical world of a whimsical neon forest featuring trees and shrub forms painted across the walls and floors. The gentle ticking of a metronome drew visitors deeper into the forest towards a magical portal that led to a monochromatic room of forest outlines. The room offered itself as a 3D colouring book, waiting to be transformed by visitors who filled the room with a panoply of creative doodles.
Rizman Putra was the man behind this vivid wonderland. In a conversation with Art Outreach at the close of the exhibition, the multi-disciplinary artist of IMMEMORIAL described himself as hyperactive and very imaginative. Employing all avenues to express his boundless creativity, Rizman is not only a visual artist but also a performer, an actor, a musician, a theatre director, and a teacher. In fact, his many disciplines often feed into each other, inspiring and enriching his practice
The idea for IMMEMORIAL came to Rizman during a rehearsal with his theatre students at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, where he is a Guest Director. He observed them trying to connect with the world of the play they were rehearsing for, and wondered how he could translate this process of world-building into his art, and create an installation that would invite audiences into a personal experience that went beyond merely looking at a work of art.
Drawing further on his background in theatre, Rizman crafted IMMEMORIAL the way he would an improvisation exercise, in which one learns to trust their acting partner to continue the flow of the scene from a given prompt. This was reflected not just in work’s concept and interactivity, but also in its creation. Realising IMMEMORIAL would be a deeply collaborative and laborious process between Rizman and his 3-person team, which involved them painting together over 37 consecutive days from 9am to 9pm. During this time, they blasted favourite songs from a shared playlist to fuel their work, and gave fun names to the paint colours used. They enjoyed working together, letting the flow of creation organically guide their painting, trusting in one another to carry on their work to create something greater than the sum of its parts; a true expression of improvisation, community, and co-creation.
This invitation for visitors to contribute to the installation did not go unanswered: over 3,800 visited and engaged with IMMEMORIAL over the 24 days it remained open, the majority of whom were families with young children. As one would expect from arming children with an enormous supply of markers and giving them free rein in a life-sized colouring book, most younger visitors did not want to leave. To Rizman, this was a welcome sign: he saw the act of giving visitors and especially children the freedom to express themselves as something powerful, planting a seed that could grow into a love for the arts in future. In fact, scenes of parents-and-children colouring together in the room were particularly special to Rizman as IMMEMORIAL was also inspired by an incident in his childhood that played out quite differently to these intimate moments. As a child, having been refused the funds to buy himself a colouring book, Rizman stole money from his father and was harshly punished for it. This left an indelible mark on him he speaks of this incident in greater detail on Twitter . Providing kids the opportunity to enjoy drawing and colouring on the walls of the installation was a balm to soothe his unhappy memory. More importantly IMMEMORIAL was a means to invite visitors to join him in the immersive experience that extends an art experience into one that evokes mindfulness, introspection, and reinforces the importance of play.
While the exhibition closed on 6 February and the walls were painted over in white, there is yet another chapter of IMMEMORIAL’s life to be continued in the digital realm. The Art Outreach team painstakingly photographed the walls and floors of IMMEMORIAL, which will be converted into 1098 unique NFTs to be minted on OpenSea, marking Rizman’s first NFT project. Through NFTs, Rizman’s vision can live in perpetuity and in the hands of those who contributed to it.
You can relive the fantastical magic of IMMEMORIAL and learn more about this first-of-its-kind NFT project that sets a record for the largest number of creators here. You can adopt an NFT from the IMMEMORIAL community room for free, or purchase a unique NFT of Rizman’s IMMEMORIAL artwork - this will lend invaluable support to Art Outreach in allowing us to continue to offer our range of programmes, and supporting and commissioning wonderful artists like Rizman. 24 rare NFTs of Rizman's trees will also come with a physical print, editioned and hand signed by the artist, measuring 38 x 50 cm..
New to NFTs? We’ve got you covered. As you will be required to have a Metamask wallet in order to purchase or claim NFTs, we have set up a tutorial blog post here to help guide you with setting up an account!
- Written by Sophie Tan