One of the murals depicts the smiles of Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong and Cambodian-Canadian muralist FONKi. The mural is painted without eyes to show an anonymous universal smile, it also symbolises the friendship between Singapore and Cambodia.
“It is scientifically proven that the entire human race is connected. We all share a common thread, joined by our emotions, experiences and empathy,” said Oum Valentin, executive chairman of OVI at Thursday’s event.
He said that without his parents realising it, they were instilling a lifelong habit to put charity at the heart of his life. During the last event in October, Valentin said that he is thankful and blessed to have both countries as his roots. Street Art Fest++ is not only a symbol of pride but also serves as a bold declaration of a fruitful diplomatic relationship between Singapore and Cambodia for 55 years and a loving connection between his parents for 25 years.
Having been brought up in Paris, France, Valentin has been exposed to and gravitates towards a vibrant street art culture that possesses social commentary. He also hopes that the murals inspire creativity and provoke a thought or two within those who have a chance to see it.
“I am especially pleased to be part of this event and we at OVI strongly believe in the importance of art conveying emotions and bringing people together,” said Valentin.
Valentin said: “This year, Street Art Fest++ brings together individuals from all walks of life and through arts created a link that binds us all. The relations between Cambodia and Singapore have been “nurtured and deepened”, due to the high-level exchanges and cooperation in trade, tourism, culture and people-to-people contact and will continue to develop and reach a new higher level in the future.”
He also sympathised with the recent community transmission of COVID-19 in Cambodia, referred to as the “November 28 community incident”. He agrees that this is not the time to blame each other but a time for solidarity, keeping in mind OVIs’ continued efforts supporting the movement during this critical time period of 15 days.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention OVI’s new initiative: ‘Survive and move Forward’. This initiative will provide support to young adults who are struggling financially because of cancer. We will be teaming up with experts to provide important support to young adult cancer survivors through funding, grants, resources and a webinar,” added Valentin.
Valentin is a cancer survivor himself and has undergone inequality in medical support because of being in the low-income bracket. Thus, OVI pledges to help young adults survive and move forward with their lives during and after cancer.
Valentine thanked the committee of the Street Art Fest++ for their hard work. He congratulated the Cambodian artist FONKi and Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong for their great efforts.
“Our special thanks to the Singapore Embassy and Ministry of Tourism for the liberality of spirit of a greater initiative to integrate public art into the community as a celebration of Cambodia and Singapore’s 55 years of diplomatic ties,” added Valentine.