Artist charged in court after silent protest, netizens outraged

Artist and activist Seelan Palay surrounded by policemen

Seelan Palay, an artist and activist was charged with taking part in a public procession without a permit. His performance art piece last year was meant as a tribute to political detainee Chia Thye Poh.

33-year old Palay appeared in court earlier today, for his piece titled, ‘32 Years: The Interrogation Of A Mirror’, 32 years being the length Dr Chia was detained for.

Palay carried a mirror through his performance, that started at Hong Lim Park, went through The National Gallery and ended outside Parliament House, where he was subsequently arrested by seven police officers.

According to the court, Palay’s performance was for three reasons:
The first, to emphasise the significance of Dr Chia’s detention, the second, to “demonstrate opposition to the actions of the Singapore Government in relation to that detention”, and the third, to “demonstrate opposition to the Singapore Government’s actions of designating the Speakers’ Corner at Hong Lim Park as an area for public entertainment in the form of performances”.

Seelan Palay is currently out on bail, with Eugene Thuraisingam as his lawyer.

When asked about his performance, Palay said, “Its about self expression and completing the work rather than holding some kind of advocacy campaign. Which it is not”.

Netizens were on his side, expressing outrage at his treatment.

If found guilty, Palay, who is out on bail of $5,000, may be fined up to $3,000.