Stepping into H-Artistry with its full production on blast and attendees dressed in their best garbs, one entirely forgets that The Mines and the exhibition centre is a decrepit Dismaland incarnate. Upon entering the towering black curtains of the venue, one is greeted by wait staff presenting you with trays of Hennessy. Not too far along, there are giant screens atop a bar outfitted with uniformed beefcakes serving guests even more Hennessey.
Then, we are ushered into a room with throngs of clotheslines of white t-shirts aloft, plus moving images projected onto them. This room is very obviously the work of Pestle and Mortar Clothing Creative Director Hugh Koh. Meanwhile at its bar, we see PS150’s Angel Ng and her staff busily making their special cocktail called the South by Southeast, which is made of Chenpi-infused Hennessy VSOP, Angostura, dry orange bitters, and a misting of absinthe. Moving along swiftly to the neighbouring room, a star-like installation is erected in the centre of it – the work of increasingly notable light artist and architect Jun Ong. The special cocktail served here is called In Full Bloom – concocted by Andrew Tan of HYDE. The cocktail features a distinct Elderflower scent and a sweetness that’s personally agreeable to our palate, so much so that it’s our drink of choice for the night.
Rappers Jin Hackman and Tactmatic kick off the musical performance. Though unbilled, the duo still deliver a stellar show, especially with the anthemic ‘I’m Alive’ – which is previously unreleased. Then, local hard rock Mandarin band Mad August takes the stage. They sound just as how they look – hard rock from the old days and a healthy dose of visual kei. It’s possibly nostalgic for the more mature folks in attendance, but mostly jarring for us. Visuals of flames in the background further cement their rock kapak stature.
Then comes the pièce de résistance, no, not K-pop star Hyuna, but the criminally underappreciated (in local terms, that is) Tinashe. What a treat it is that we get to catch the r’n’b star in such a luxurious, comfortable setting. Clad modestly in a simple tank, black pants, and Vans – à la the late Aaliyah – she goes through a succession of hits; ‘Ride of Your Life’, ‘Party Favours’, ‘All Hands on Deck’, and ‘2 On’. Only backed by two dancers, she effortlessly executes each of her choreographies with an exacting precision and a genuine smile that never leaves her face.
Hyuna comes on after, and it’s obvious a majority of the room are awaiting her arrival. Being ignorant of Korean pop culture beyond Keith Ape, the only song we recognise is one that goes, “Bubble, bubble, pop!”, all thanks to the time we were still watching MTV. She doesn’t hit all the marks as hard as Tinashe did as Hyuna is much more genial in comparison. Do note that this is just an observation, not a remark for pitting the women together. Crizzly, on the other hand, is joined by a few dancers decked in lights. Being the fun bro DJ that he is, his set expectedly turns the exhibition hall into a night at a club.
It’s a pleasurable event – the best H-Artistry we ever attended possibly. From production quality, delicious cocktails, and Tinashe – we’ve no gripes at all.
H-Artistry ’16 was held on Saturday 8 October ’16.