Piqued by 'a certain love and curiosity' that surrounds the local literary arts scene, five Arts Management students from LASALLE College of the Arts decided to embark on Project Ecclesia as a part of the annual i-AM Festival for the LASALLE Show 2012, aiming to promote the literary arts through poetry slams, readings and other similar literary art forms practiced in Singapore.
Aware that the literary arts scene is still in its infancy stages, Project Ecclesia was born to elevate local literary arts scene to the levels of interest and recognition that their artistic counterparts (i.e visual arts, performing arts) receive, as well as provide platforms for aspiring performance poets.
Each member is involved in an different area of the arts- Jael and Sumedhaa have backgrounds in theatre, Vicky and Griselda have a shared passion in music while Vanessa has been trained in dance. Despite the diversified interests of the group, the girls have banded together towards a shared ambition to organize a poetry event aimed to draw fresh audiences to literary events, whilst retaining long time lovers of the art form.
Traversing into unknown territory with little experience in spoken word or written poetry, the girls drew from their backgrounds in literature in school, frequented poetry slam nights at Blu Jaz Cafe organized by Word Forward and events at the Singapore Writers Festival last year, in order to aid their planning and execution of their upcoming event
In Project Ecclesia's maiden project, Poeisis-Play Poetry Slam, the traditional poetry slam is given a fresh twist. Unlike a typical poetry slam, involving only the poet and the microphone, Poeisis encourages poets to incorporate props or costumes into their performances, resulting in a mini 'poetry-play' that creates a more theatrical and dynamic performance.
For those unaware of the workings of Poetry slam, poets take part to perform poetry works within a given time limit. Random audience members then judge them in terms of their style and originality- the winner is determined by the poet who receives the highest score at the end of the night.
“ Poetry is the expression of ones inner thoughts, observations and feelings put into words to create a written masterpiece, as well as a middle-ground of a novel and a song that allows for the exploration of another art form for someone who is neither a novelist or a songwriter. ”
Hosted by veteran actress Karen Tan, audience members can look forward to a night filled with entertainment in an intimate and relaxed setting at the Arts House, where first time performers take the stage for the first time to present their original literary creations.
Neil Gailman's book, 'The Mirror Mask' was their main muse during the conceptualizing of Poeisis - citing the idea of 'blurring lines between illusion and reality, escapism and the power of imagination' as themes of the night. Being staunch supporters of local talents, the girls from Project Ecclesia also draw inspiration from local poets like Pooja Nansi of the Mango Dollies and Felix Cheong.
Poetry may mean be perceived differently by various people, but Project Ecclesia's Sumedhaa Hariram sees it as “the expression of ones inner thoughts, observations and feelings put into words to create a written masterpiece, as well as a middle-ground of a novel and a song that allows for the exploration of another art form for someone who is neither a novelist or a songwriter.”
Project Ecclesia will be assisting Word Forward in upcoming Lit Up Festival in July.