We have come such a long way to represent Singapore here in Lyon, and it has been quite the journey! Our latest video will give you a taste of how far the team, and ‘In Celebration’, has come!
The blog post to follow is a significantly longer one – you have been warned
The day that the team has been working towards for the past few months, has finally arrived… the premiere of ‘In Celebration’ in Lyon, at the 2011 Fete des Lumieres – the very first artpiece from Singapore AND Asia to debut at the festival!
Today, we began to see what our festival liaisons had warned us about earlier in the week: that the streets of Lyon will be filled with people… LOTS of people! We saw more than the usual number of people milling about Place des Terreaux in the morning, taking in the sights – and there was even a tour group! The number would increase further as the day wore on, and would peak in the evening when the festival opened.
Since the sculpture had already been completed the night before, the primary focus was to complete 200 flower windmills for UNICEF. The team’s ever-consistent efficiency ensured that the target would be met, and even surpassed! This greatly surprised the Fete team who came to pick up the windmills for delivery.
“You are all beautiful, beautiful people,” gushed Celine, one of the Fete staff, as she watched us put the windmills together, “Just beautiful.”
We hope these windmills will help raise a good amount of money for UNICEF!
The team has been working so hard the last few days leading up to the festival’s opening, that there hasn’t been much time to really explore the city. We have mostly stayed around our designated areas in Terreaux and Croix-Rousse, with the occasional visit to Bellecour, which is two subway stations away from us.
One of our friends from the Christian Outreach to the Handicapped (COH), Shaun, along with his minders, Ai Hwa and Rosalind, took an afternoon walk to Bellecour for some exercise and fresh air. After the last few days of rain, the little sunlight peeking through the clouds was a welcome reprieve. The trio enjoyed an afternoon snack of churros and a chocolate crepe, against the backdrop of the brilliant ferris wheel of Lyon.
It was certainly a nice break from the usual routine, but the group had to quickly head back to Terreaux for the launch of ‘In Celebration’!
There was a nervous yet excited energy in the air at Place de la Paiz, as the team prepared for the opening night of Fete des Lumieres. We were especially looking forward to welcoming two very important people to officiate the launch of ‘In Celebration’ – H.E. Mr Tan York Chor, Singapore’s Ambassador to France, and Monsieur Gérard Collomb , the Senator-Mayor of Lyon!
(Mr Allan Lim, Mr Sun Yu-Li and Mr Kenny Eng, the prinicipal artists of In Celebration)
And so, down came the barricades and out came our tools and materials for the demonstration of flower windmills later in the evening. We even had a dry run of how our two VIPs should be greeted and led through the area (with the help of Rachel and Ai Hwa)!
Even though the sculpture had yet to be officially lit, there already were curious onlookers around Place de la Paiz, with quite a few wondering when the lights would be switched on. We even had people already coming to the demonstration table to try their hand at making windmills; children, teenagers, young adults, and parents alike. Our team took them through the various steps, from the cutting of the bottles to the assembling of the windmills, and they gamely followed the instructions. Soon, the number of curious onlookers grew, and the team at the demonstration table did their best to appease the growing crowd.
One of the things that seemed to really interest those around the booth were the mini-LED lights that the team had pasted on their jackets. In no time at all, quite a few people at Place de la Paiz had also donned the mini-LEDs on their own apparel!
We were also most pleasantly surprised to see some of our young friends from Premier Film School, who came with their families to show their support! Christophe and Sophie, the teachers from the school, were also around to say hi. It was lovely to see Felix, Paul, Boris and Valentin again, and to have their families see the project their sons were involved in, for themselves. They should be most proud!
Excited murmurs soon filled the air at close to 6pm, when Mayor Collomb and Ambassador Tan arrived at the sculpture site! They were introduced to the team, shown a short video of what the project was about, and then lead to the sculpture itself, to add their own contribution to it.
As Mayor Collomb inserted his windmill into the sculpture, it lit up in its magnificent blue, to the delight of all around!
What an officiation! We sincerely thank Mayor Collomb and Ambassador Tan for gracing our opening with their presence. (Mayor Collomb even brought two of our flower windmills back for his children!)
We were told later that the Mayor very graciously mentioned our sculpture in his opening address, and used the word ‘solidarité‘ to describe the sculpture.
Solidarity: uniting people together as one. That pretty much sums up the essence of ‘In Celebration’.
After the excitement of In Celebration’s officiation, and now that it was fully lit, more and more people were drawn to Place de la Paiz to view the sculpture.
Though most people admired it from a respectable distance, a few curious passer-bys wanted to get upclose to feel the decors for themselves.
A few captured photographs on their respective cameras….
… while some wanted to check if the windmills actually worked!
We even had a gentleman from Radio Scoop here in Lyon, who reported live from the site back to the studio!
We want to say a special thank you to our friends, Rachel and Wing, who held the fort at the demonstration booth, and even helped to communicate with people in French!
We’re also very thankful to those who spent their time with us, whether it was just basking in the glow of the sculpture, making the windmills, or just chatting with us.
“You came all this way from your beautiful city for this festival,” Maxim, a Lyonnais gentleman mused incredulously, as his cute son, Alexis, tried to spin one of the windmills with his tiny hands. “This is really something.”
Maxim, the appreciation your beautiful city has for our art, makes us feel really honoured to be here to celebrate with each of you.
What a spectacular opening night, not just for us, but also for the Festival! There are three days to go, and it looks to be even more exciting.
for The Living! Project
in Lyon, France