A contemporary art museum that focuses on Southeast Asian pieces, the Singapore Art Museum is situated in a restored 19th-century mission school, and first opened its doors in 1996, becoming the country’s very first art museum. Set right in the heart of Singapore’s art and culture district, the museum boasts a fantastic collection of both temporary and permanent exhibitions.
Odyssey: Navigating Nameless Seas
Odyssey: Navigating Nameless Seas is an exhibition that is currently being held at the Singapore Art Museum, and makes viewers think about the many mysteries that lie beneath the world’s seven seas. Featuring pieces by artists such as Rashid Rana, Sally Smart and Pratchaya Phinthong, the exhibition takes a look at the numerous expeditions that humans have made into the sea, but brings to attention the fact that there is plenty more waiting to be discovered.
Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea
Imaginarium: Over the Ocean, Under the Sea continues on with Singapore Art Museum’s temporary sea theme, with an exhibition aimed at captivating the younger ones. This children-focussed annual exhibition is tactile and interactive, encouraging children to get involved with what they see, discovering for themselves what lies beneath the ocean.
The Learning Gallery at the Singapore Art Museum showcases some of the museum’s permanent collection, while encouraging discussion and engagement with each of the pieces displayed. Nguan is a collection of photographs from various artists that capture the nuances of everyday Singapore, featuring un-posed and intimate portraits of residents going about their daily lives on the city streets. HDB Life is an interactive exhibition, highlighting the way in which HDB flats are now iconic when it comes to Singapore’s landscape. Here, visitors are able to create their dream HDB unit with the use of stickers, showing how these plain and sterile units become so uniquely transformed by the individual residents that move into them. Another fantastic interactive piece is We Are Family by Vicente Delgado, a Spanish artist who has lived in Singapore for over ten years. Using bold colors, textures and shapes to create a soft sculpture, visitors are encouraged to interact and play with these shapes, using them to create their own forms.
The Singapore Art Museum prides itself on its schedule of participatory programs that are open to the public. Their Short Films Screenings are ideal opportunities for film fans to see pieces that they may not otherwise have been able to, from the imaginative nature documentary The Deep to animated French film The Little Cousteau. There are also a number of different workshops and demonstrations available to attend, such as the Plastic Ocean Illustration Workshop and the Knots Workshop.
Singapore has always considered itself to be a hub for arts and culture, and the Singapore Art Museum shows that it has been successful in keeping this alive. With its specialized focus on Southeast Asian contemporary art, visitors will be able to experience art pieces that are truly unique to the region, making the most of a museum that is considered to be one of the finest art museums in the region.