National Gallery Singapore to open its doors to the public on 24 November 2015
SINGAPORE.- The National Gallery Singapore has announced that it will open its doors to the public o...
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - National Gallery Singapore to open its doors to the public on 24 November 2015
National Gallery Singapore to open its doors to the public on
24 November 2015
SINGAPORE.- The National Gallery Singapore has announced that it will open its doors to the public
on the 24th of November 2015. The opening of this new visual arts institution will mark an important
moment for both the city and the region, and will be home to Singapores National Collection, the
largest public collection of visual arts from Singapore and Southeast Asia from the 19th century to
the present day.
As the first museum in the world dedicated to Southeast Asian modern art, National Gallery
Singapore hopes to captivate and kindle a curiosity for art from art histories to the stories behind
the art, from the discoveries we uncover about Southeast Asia and the world, to stories about
ourselves, said Ms. Chong Siak Ching, CEO, National Gallery Singapore.
The National Gallery Singapore will focus on displaying, promoting and researching these artworks,
relating them to wider Asian and international contexts, and creating a cultural dialogue between
Singapore and the rest of the world. Under the direction of leading Singaporean curator Dr. Eugene
Tan, the National Gallery Singapore will engage with audiences through its collection of artworks,
innovative programming and its international exhibitions.
By presenting co-curated international art exhibitions, the Gallery will not only be able to portray
the development of art around the region but also show Southeast Asian art in a global context.
Through our exhibitions, collaborative research and education, the museum will continually spark
thoughtful and meaningful conversations about art from the region and the world. In essence, the
Gallery will be a place for everyone - Singaporeans, our neighbours and visitors from all over the
world where they can be immersed in a unique experience of art and be inspired, engaged, and
moved to share this experience with others, said Dr. Eugene Tan, Director, National Gallery
Designed by Studio Milou Singapore, in partnership with CPG Consultants (Singapore), the National
Gallery Singapore will occupy two important heritage buildings in the heart of the Civic District, the
City Hall and former Supreme Court. At 64,000 square metres, the National Gallery Singapore will
be the largest visual arts institution in Singapore. While maintaining a deep respect for the original
architecture and conserving the structure of these historically significant buildings, Studio Milou
Singapore have elegantly integrated the two interior spaces into one new visually stunning arts
Inside the building, the architects have reimagined the circulation of the space. New walkways
supported by white tree-like branches will transform the way visitors move through the galleries,
introducing contemporary structures without detracting from the fabric of the original architecture.
The rooftop of the former Supreme Court building will also now be accessible, revealing a view
across the original rotunda domes. Outside, a canopy of 15,000 golden aluminum panels gently
floats between the two neoclassical structures, joining the buildings and providing a dappled sunlit
The Gallerys programme will comprise permanent displays with special exhibitions, creating a
unique dialogue between the Southeast Asian region and the rest of the world. Singapores National
Collection is a leading public collection of modern and contemporary artworks from Southeast Asia,
including pieces by significant Singaporean artists, particularly from the Nanyang School of the
1950s 1970s. Other key genres within the collection include Social Realist works, modern ink
painting, abstract painting and sculpture from the 1970s and 1980s.
The Gallery will feature two unique spaces dedicated to displaying work by artists from Singapore
and Southeast Asia. The DBS Singapore Gallery focuses on providing the public with a critical
understanding of Singaporean art and the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery will explore the wider region,
providing a narrative of modern art in Southeast Asia within a framework of shared historical
The first major international collaboration in March 2016, planned as part of the Gallerys
international programmes, will be with the Centre Pompidou, the National Museum of Modern Art of
France. The exhibition co-curated by both museums, will feature highlights from the two
institutions collections, reframing modernism in the context of Southeast Asia. In October 2016,
National Gallery Singapore will collaborate with Tate Britain in London to co-curate a special
exhibition exploring the theme of Artist and Empire in Singapore. The exhibition will first be
presented in London in November 2015. The Singapore exhibition will feature key works jointly
selected by both museums, with a greater emphasis on Southeast Asia. The exhibition, presented in
the Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery, will be co-curated by the Gallerys team of Low Sze Wee,
Director of Curatorial and Collections, Melinda Susanto and Toffa Binte Abdul Wahed, together with
the Tate Britain team comprising Alison Smith, Lead Curator, 19th Century British Art, and curators
David Brown, Carol Jacobi and Caroline Corbeau-Parsons.
At the core of the museums ethos is education and learning in order to enable visitors to
understand and engage with the visual art culture of Singapore and the wider Southeast Asian
region. In particular, National Gallery Singapore will open the Keppel Centre for Art Education,
allowing families, students and children to have a unique art experience through various innovative
programmes which include commissioned artworks designed for younger audiences. The Keppel
Centre will feature a number of specially designed gallery spaces enabling children to engage in
workshops, feature their artworks on the walls of the museum and be a curator. Outside of the
centre, National Gallery Singapore will also lead programmes for schools, educators, families and
various community groups including seniors and special needs groups.
The Gallery is also dedicated to bringing learning and educational programmes to the adult audience
by offering daily tours, conversations with artists, screenings and workshops, lectures and
symposiums. A particularly unique aspect of adult learning will include after-hours programmes.