Artist behind 'golden staircase': New artwork at HDB block removed in 'hushed manner'

Reena Devi
Lifestyle Reporter
(Photo: Priyageetha Dia)

A Singaporean artist who was in the news last year for her “golden staircase” project at an HDB block said her latest creation in the form of gold coloured sheets hung on the parapets at the same block has been removed without her knowledge.

Priyageetha Dia, 26, hung the sheets on the parapets of each floor of Block 108 Jalan Rajah – except for the ground floor – on 19 March as part of an art installation. All 24 sheets were removed on Wednesday (21 March), she said.

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore, Priyageetha added, “I kind of anticipated knowing that someone would remove all 24 flags at some point. But it’s surprising to know it was done in a hushed manner.”

It is not known who had removed her artwork. Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore has reached out to the Town Council, which is in charge of the block’s maintenance, for comments on the removal of Priyageetha’s artwork and is awaiting its response. 

Priyageetha, a former Lasalle College of the Arts student, posted a video and a photo of her artwork entitled “Absent — Present” on Facebook earlier this week.  She didn’t seek permission from the relevant authorities to display her sheets prior to hanging them.

(Photo: Priyageetha Dia)

“It’s part of the process of doing art in a public space, some way or another there would be an intervention. I am neutral about the flags being removed as compared to the staircase work where I had to remove it on my own accord,” Priyageetha said. 

In March last year, Priyageetha wrapped an entire staircase with gold foil at the same HDB block. She subsequently removed her work because the town council deemed it was “not permissible”. The incident triggered much debate on the rules concerning the display of public art in Singapore.

Priyageetha explained that her latest project was to challenge the concept of what constitutes HDB space.

“Because of the idea of the HDB as an absent space transforming into a present one, people are now conscious and aware of this block. But now, it is back to being like any other everyday HDB block,” she said.