‘Golden staircase’ no more as art student removes hotly debated project

‘Golden staircase’ no more as art student removes hotly debated project
Art student Priyageetha Dia removed almost all the gold foil on the Block 103 Jalan Rajah staircase, leaving only a square of gold leaf behind as a "memento". Photo: Facebook/Priyageetha Dia
Published: 12:23 PM, March 12, 2017
Updated: 12:34 AM, March 13, 2017

SINGAPORE — Nearly a week after sparking a lively online debate about art and vandalism in public spaces, an arts student has removed her "golden staircase" project save for a small square of gold foil near the bottom of a staircase at Jalan Rajah.

“The existence and the end of this work bears my responsibility and no one else’s. With a little trace left behind, a memento of the space. Till we meet again,” Ms Priyageetha Dia wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday (March 12), with an accompanying photograph showing the 20th floor staircase being returned to its original look.

When contacted, the 25-year-old Lasalle College of the Arts student said the work was "voluntarily removed" by her with no pressure from the town council. "To me, my work is already done," she said.

She gave no details on when or how the gold foil was removed. The project was still intact when TODAY visited on Saturday at around 8pm. 

On Tuesday (March 7), the Jalan Besar Town Council made clear that what she did was “unauthorised” and “not permissible” under the Town Council’s Common Property and Open Spaces by laws, but said it was reaching out to Ms Dia to explore future collaboration.

“If Ms Dia had approached our Town Council before embarking on her project, we might have been able to explore an alternative site that’s more suitable,” the Town Council added in a subsequent statement.

Ms Dia took about five hours last Sunday (March 5) to set up her "golden staircase" project, which she said was aimed at questioning whether it was possible to draw a line between art and vandalism. 

Meanwhile, those who want to see more of her work can visit the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore’s Praxis Space and Project Space in Lasalle, where another project by Ms Dia, also using gold foil, is on public display.

This particular art work features a 140cm by 70cm piece of translucent rubber sheet covered on one side with gold leaves. It will be on display until March 26.

Ms Priyageetha Dia's work titled 'A space that one seeks' on display at Lasalle College of the Arts' Praxis Space. Photo: Wong Pei Ting