The Hopea sangal Tree: Sculpture Symposium
Involving young hearts and hands in making history
Habitatnews 2003-27: Thursday, 11th September 2003
The Hopea sangal Tree: Sculpture Symposium

Involving young hearts and hands in making history

Organised by: The Sculpture Society (Singapore)
Co-organised by: National Parks Board & Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
Supported by: Nature Society (Singapore) & Urban Redevelopment Authority


Sunday, 14th September 2003,
Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts,
Wilkie Campus at 11, Upper Wilkie Rd.

Programme details - brochure pg1 - brochure pg2
10 am to 12pm: Sculpture workshops (above 8 years old)
NSS poster exhibition on trees and merchandise booth
to help raise funds for Sculpture Society

2.00pm to 4.30 pm: Sculpture workshops (above 8 years old)

3.30pm - Old Trees & Heritage by Shawn Lum

4.00pm - Kids' Fun With Trees featuring
See How Far It Can Go!, How Tall Was It?,
My Say and A Closer look.

Photos from the symposium


"If we can generate some positive outcomes from this sad event,

perhaps future generations will be less harsh in their judgment towards us.

One day, when they gaze upon this monument or conservation icon,

they will come to appreciate that although their predecessors

were unable to pass on the tree to them,

they did make a noble effort to pass on

the valuable lessons learnt,

as well as their values and aspirations

for a better and greener

world to them.


Capimus sed tradimus? Should we not start now?"

Joseph Lai, botanist, 18th April 2003
Ode to Hopea sangal



Joseph Lai wrote:

The Sculpture Society has begun the sculpturing of the Hopea sangal trunks

for Singapore's first ever 'conservation-art' piece at NAFA.

In a month's time it should be ready for viewing.

In the meantime, they are actively inviting school children to get involved.

Teachers, parents...

don't miss this golden opportunity for your kids to get

involve in a very meaningful community project

as well as being part of history in the making.


Teachers, and parents in particular, are memory builders.

Memories that children can build on in their lives ahead. This meaningful event in

Singapore's history is one good memory to keep and I am sure that having had

their hands involved, their hearts will be

firmly rooted in the conservation message link to it.


So far 160 students have had their hands on the art piece.

Don't miss this chance.



Vilma D'Rozario of Nature Society (Singapore) says:

I am writing to invite you and your family to join us in celebrating the

beauty and wonder of trees this Sunday 14 Sep at the Nanyang Academy of Fine

Arts, Wilkie Campus at 11, Upper Wilkie Rd.


Many of you would have heard about the fate of our last Hopea sangal, a

native forest tree over a hundred years old, the last of its kind, felled in 2002.

See: Hopea sangal felled, 20th November 2002


Since 2 Sep, nine artists have been sculpting historical vignettes of

150 years of Singapore's history on the remaining pieces of tree trunk of

that felled tree, spanning the years 1852 to 2002, the period it is believed

the beautiful tree lived. The completed work will be displayed at

Changi, near where the tree originally stood.


The aim of the month-long event is to learn about nature and express

environmental issues through art-making, and to raise awareness of our

natural heritage and its conservation. The event is organised by the

Sculpture Society (Singapore) and co- organised by NAFA and NParks.


Nature Society is supporting the event by having a small poster exhibition

on trees and will set up a merchandise booth selling button-badges,

tee-shirts, bookmarks, stickers and books. We're also giving a talk on old

trees and our heritage - Dr Shawn Lum, our Vice- president will be giving

this informative talk at 3.30 pm, immediately after which we will have a

Kids' Fun With Trees activity which will end about 5 pm latest.


The activities are free, but we will be selling our button-badges for $2,

and donating proceeds to the Sculpture Society. We'll also have a donation

box where we welcome donations for the Sculpture Society.


Please do join us - come at 3.30 pm for Shawn's talk

and stay on for Kids' Fun with Trees.


Although it's free, we'd like you to register, so please email me at to let me know if you're coming.


Please inform your friends, too. This is open to all. And, there are

sculpture workshops for those above 8 years old from 10 am to 12pm, and from

2.00pm to 4.30 pm. To find out more, please visit the NAFA website




Tan Beng Chiak (NSS) adds:

Following up Vilma's earlier email about the event we have 3 stations of

activities after Shawn's talk.


Shawn will be speaking for about 30mins or so on Old Trees & Heritage.

There will be 3 stations of show & tell & hands on activities

that will be set up after the talk.


1) See How Far It Can Go! (Dipterocarp fruit dispersal) - demonstration of

the various types of winged fruits dispersal - making winged fruits


2) How Tall Was It? and My Say - children are ask to lie on the floor & their outline is traced

one on top of the other to see how many of them make up

the height of the Hopea sangal - Andrew Tay has made a lovely drawing of a tree which

we will use to make little memo pad which the children will be

asked to complete the sentence "Trees provide...". they can colour and draw

on this memo and we will paste them up on the display board throughout the

whole symposium. This is in line with the poster theme.


3) A Closer look - compare the cross section of a tropical tree

(Hopeasangal) and that of a temperate tree- presence of annual rings

- close look at the bark - epiphytes growth


We have a piece of the Hopea sangal with epiphytes still growing on them.

There is also a huge Ficus elastica which is laden with climbers and Epiphytes.


Capimus sed tradimus? Should we not start now?