Fort Canning Arts Centre (Night)

May saw the opening of a major new art gallery and museum, the Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris. Located in the newly renovated Fort Canning Arts Centre, this is the first global expansion of the renowned art museum, Pinacothèque de Paris. Set in an historic building and surrounded by the green parkland of Fort Canning, the museum is a welcome addition to the city’s rapidly growing art scene.

OOSTERLINCK Gregorius -A Tavern Interior with Soldiers Merrymaking Around a Table

With three major exhibition spaces – the Collections Gallery, the Features Gallery and the Heritage Gallery – the museum offers an eclectic selection of art pieces from the ancient to the modern day. The Collections Gallery houses a permanent collection, the Heritage Gallery traces the history of Singapore and the region through ancient artefacts while the Features Gallery hosts temporary shows, the first being The Myth of Cleopatra, which runs until October 4, 2015.

Funerary mask

The Heritage Gallery is curated by Bali resident Bruce Carpenter and is home to a collection of Asian artefacts from around the region, including stone sculptures from Sumba, gold jewellery from Sulawesi and kris knives from Sumatra. It is also home to an exquisite Neolithic Fertility Goddess from the Early Indonesian Bronze Age, one of the museum’s more memorable exhibits. Artwork depicting Singapore’s maritime past illustrates the emergence of the city as a major regional port.

Sebastiano Mazzoni Cleopatra's Death

The Collections Gallery features 40 rare masterpieces from some of the world’s most influential artists, including Picasso, Rembrandt, Monet and Jackson Pollock. Following the museum’s theme of displaying artistic trends, which span both time and continents, these works are displayed alongside examples of tribal art from the developing world. This clever pairing emphasises the connection between cubist artists like Picasso and the ancient art and symbols that are likely to have inspired his work.

William Orlandi Scene Costume of Cleopatra copy

The current Myth of Cleopatra exhibit in the Features Gallery offers a collection of art inspired by the mystical figure as well as period pieces like sculptures, statues and jewellery. It also features rare items from the 1963 Hollywood film, Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor, including some of the elaborate costumes worn in the movie.

Minangkabau kris

Apart from the museum’s historical exhibits, it has also embraced new technology with two state-of-the art interactive screens designed to inspire a new generation of art lovers and an app that talks visitors through the exhibits via Wi-Fi. For the kids, the three-dimensional museum mascot, ‘Pinacato’, will delight them with fun facts and friendly waves from the large HD displays.

Spirit Figure, Shamanic Object

Another innovative feature is the ‘Artists Walks’, which uses the museums atmospheric outdoor walkways to display the artwork of several contemporary artists on the floor. These include a collection of spray-painted images along the ‘Graffiti Walk’ and a romantic ‘Garden Walk’ of mosaic tiles.

Cestaro Jacopo-Cleopatra with the asp

Those wanting to know more about art can even enrol in the museum’s Art Academy, which offers progressive modules in subjects like art history and art in business as well as practical studio courses.

Backing up the museum experience are some Singapore’s food and beverage favourites. These include craft cocktails and Japanese inspired dishes at Fort by Maison Ikkoku, international, Mexican and North Indian fare at Myra’s, classic French at Balzac Brasserie and gelato from Giojio Concepts.

By Alvin Wong

Images courtesy of Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris
 Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris, 5 Cox Terrace, tel: 6883 1588,




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