For your ice only: 2 Degree Ice Art Exhibition in Singapore

Pictures by: 
Ariffin Jamar
Report by: 
Benson Ang

With a chainsaw, he slices through crystal-clear ice blocks like butter.

He then sands them down with an angle grinder. Sparks fly amid a whirring sound as steel meets ice.

The air is -15 deg C.

Walk in without a coat and you’ll feel the chill within seconds.

But at times, Mr Jiang Li Ren, 64, works without wearing gloves.

He says: “I’m used to it. When I’m working, my body naturally heats up.

“If I’m cold, it means I’m being lazy.”

He is one of 20 master ice sculptors from Harbin, China, who flew in to create ice sculptures for the 2 Degree Ice Art Exhibition, which has been billed the largest of its kind in Singapore so far.

The show will open on Wednesday at the open ground next to Marina Bay Sands hotel, and over 100,000 visitors are expected.

Over 450 tonnes of ice – both clear and coloured – were used to complete the entire exhibition.

They came from factories here and in Malaysia in 30 trucks And it took 60 days to complete the entire set-up.

Visitors can expect 28 ice sculptures, some of which are modelled after iconic landmarks like Paris’ Eiffel Tower, the pyramids of Egypt and the Statue of Liberty in the US.

The largest, London’s Big Ben clocktower, stands at 6m tall.

It is 10m long and 4m wide.

Local icons like the Sultan Mosque, Raffles Hotel and the Merlion have also been rendered in ice for the exhibition The mosque sculpture’s embedded LED lights glow red, blue and green.

Mr Jiang is among the oldest master sculptors here and is a regular at Harbin’s renowned annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.

His work has been exhibited in countries as far away as the US and Canada.

He says: “Ice is temporary. It will melt away. But while it lasts, it is beautiful.”

For this exhibition, he created a wall with nine dragons, a four-faced Buddha and a scene from the novel Dream of the Red Chamber.

He says: “It’s tiring, but when visitors are happy, I’m satisfied.” There will also be an ice playground with two giant slides and a snow pit.

How long will the ice last? As long as the temperature is right.

But creating a sub-zero climate in the tropics is no piece of cake.

It’s not enough to just have the exhibition hall thermal-insulated – 14 fan coil units and seven air compressors are needed.

The compressors burn 1,000 litres of diesel every day.

But to the organisers, it is well worth the effort.

Mr Miow Kit Fong, managing director of Century Ice Wonderland, says: “We hope the event will be a treat for Singaporeans, especially those who have never been to cold countries.”

The article related to these pictures was first published in The New Paper on November 16, 2013.