As celebrations for SG50 abound, we take a quick look at some of the more artistic and cultural events on offer over the next few months.
Asian Civilisations Museum
‘Treasures from Asia’s Oldest Museum: Buddhist Art from the Indian Museum, Kolkata’
Now until August 16
Buddhism inspired some of the most remarkable works of art produced in the Indian Subcontinent. This exhibition shows treasures from the 2nd to the 14th century that chronicle the life of Buddha.
The ACM’s latest exhibition celebrates the “50th year of diplomatic relations between the Republic of India and the Republic of Singapore.” This collection is a veritable treasure trove of ancient art and is highly recommended.
A collaboration with the Indian Museum in Kolkata – Asia’s oldest – it casts the spotlight on some of India’s most notable Buddhist art. Featuring over 80 rare objects, sculptures and paintings, it chronicles the evolution of Buddhist art from the 2nd Century BC to the 14th Century. Tracing the Jataka stories (past life stories of the Buddha), scenes from the life of the Buddha, and symbols used to represent Buddhist concepts, it serves as a stunning visual biography.
Asian Civilisation Museum, 1 Empress Place, tel: 6332 7798, acm.org.sg
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Singapore Tyler Print Institute
‘As We Never Imagined: 50 Years of Art Making’
Now until August 30
STPI’s exhibition charts the development of printmaking from the early 1960s to the present day, and also documents STPI’s role in shaping the course of contemporary art in Singapore and the region.
STPI is presenting an exhibition called ‘As We Never Imagined: 50 Years of Art Making’, a showcase of over seventy works that highlight the diversity and potential of printmaking and papermaking over the last five decades.
The STPI launched in Singapore 13 years ago under the guidance of famed American master printmaker Kenneth Tyler and with the support of the Singapore Government. This exhibition features works from some of the art superstars he worked with during the 60s such as Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Frank Stella and more.
The institute continues its stellar work (without the association of Tyler) and is unstinting in its drive to promote local and regional artists as well as international names. This exhibition also emphasises work from its collaborations with artists making work today, including Suzann Victor, Eko Nugroho, Ryan Gander, Teppei Kaneuji and Han Sai Por among others. Not to be missed.
Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI), 41 Robertson Quay, tel 6336 3663, stpi.com.sg
Khairullah Rahim ‘If You Think I Winked, I Did.’
The significance of Singapore’s 50th year of independence formed the impetus for Fost Gallery’s four part series, FOURSIGHT. Rather than looking back over the last five decades, the series attempts to chart the future through four young Singaporean artists, who, the gallery hopes, will play a part in Singapore’s impending art history.
The last installment of the series features works by Khairullah Rahim in his debut solo exhibition ‘If You Think I Winked, I Did.’ Rather like British artist David Hockney’s fascination with Californian swimming pools in the 1960s, Rahim’s acrylic on canvas paintings focus on details taken from his memories of local swimming complexes. He aims to “draw attention to the metaphoric and symbolic meanings that often lie hidden within their landscape.”
Fost Gallery, Gillman Barracks, 1 Lock Road, tel: 6694 3080, fostgallery.com
A Social Portrait of Singapore: The Critical Years.
Loke Hong Seng
Now until Sept 6
This exhibition offers a fascinating selection of works by street photographer Loke Hong Seng. Born in Singapore in 1943, and considered part of the ‘pioneer generation,’ this is the first time his works have been exhibited. The 20 photographs provide a rare insight into the building of Singapore between 1963 and 1985, focusing on the move from kampong to high-rise Housing Development Board (HDB) flats.
Of particular interest are photographs of the Samsui women, immigrants from the Canton region of China, who made up a large part of the construction workforce during this time. Loke has captured the women and their sangfroid composure at work as they go about their back-breaking work.
Yeo Gallery, Gillman Barracks, 1 Lock Road, tel: 9247 4046, theyeogallery.com
Singapore Stories: Then, Now, Tomorrow
Now until October 4.
This exhibition gives visitors the chance to look further back than just the past 50 years. Journey through 170 years of Singapore’s history through the pages of The Straits Times newspaper.
As part of its 170th anniversary, The Straits Times has collaborated with the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands to unveil a free exhibition that chronicles the nation’s development through powerful images and stories. Told through the lens of the nation’s oldest newspaper, hundreds of images and headlines depict pivotal milestones in Singaporean history since the newspaper’s launch in 1845 – some 120 years before the nation’s independence.
The accounts range from Singapore’s robust trade in the mid-1800s to Singapore’s independence in the mid-1900s and the push towards a sustainable future in the new millennium. This fascinating exhibition provides a dialogue between past and present. As Warren Fernandez, Editor of The Straits Times said: “The exhibition trawls through our rich archives to bring our history alive for today’s Singaporeans to help us remember where we have been, how we got here, and where we might be heading.”
ArtScience Museum, 6 Bayfront Avenue, tel: 6688 8888, marinabaysands.com
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‘Portraits of the People’
From October 2015
Set to open in October, the new National Gallery will focus on art from South East Asia and Singapore, relating the works to a wider international context and hosting international art exhibitions.
The much-anticipated new National Gallery Singapore is set to open its doors on October 2015. This impressive space is set within the former City Hall and Supreme Court buildings, important heritage buildings symbolic of Singapore’s nationhood. It will house a large public collection of visual arts from South East Asia and Singapore, from the 19th century to the present day.
This past year, the Gallery has sought contributions from Singaporeans in the form of reflections on the nation through art. Many of these artworks will be incorporated into a sheltered link-way, known as the Art Connector, which extends from City Hall MRT station to the new gallery.
Entitled ‘Portraits of the People’ it will culminate with a weekend festival on the Padang, in front of the gallery, from November 27 to 29. Visitors can look forward to an art carnival, commissioned art performances, and free guided-tours of the gallery.
Written by Gilly Beal
National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road, tel: 6690 9400, nationalgallery.sg
As Singapore’s Marina Bay gears up to celebrate both the