So you’ve visited the incredible artist retrospectives at the National Gallery, admired the fascinating collection of the Singapore Art Museum, and played with the wildly interactive exhibits at the Art Science Museum. What next? Surely the arts scene in Singapore doesn’t just end at our major tourist-grabbing institutions? Well, the phrase “Southeast Asia’s arts hub” has been used to describe this country for a reason So even if the streets aren’t exactly lined with galleries, there are still places to check out our burgeoning arts scene in spots located off the beaten track.
If you liked the National Gallery of Singapore, you’ll like…The Singapore Tyler Print Institute
Both a workshop and a gallery, this Robertson Quay establishment is home to many renowned local and international artists, including old-hands, Amanda Heng and Han Sai Por. As a print institute, it focuses primarily on print and paper mediums – and in particular, on contemporary art. You’ll find stunning lithographs and screen prints plastered on its walls, alongside other paintings that are more standard to your typical museum fare.
The NUS Museum
Unbeknownst to many, tucked away in a corner of the Kent Ridge campus of NUS is a museum boasting an immense collection of local and regional art and artefacts, spanning from prehistoric eras to the recent past. The collection was notably divided equally between Singapore and Malaysia, following the split between both countries in 1965. A central theme to its main exhibition, Radio Malaya’s narrative is thus the inevitable gap of knowledge in storytelling. Empty spots are marked by labels in its displays, as a salient reminder of the country’s past. Regardless – and perhaps even for this reason – the showcases tell an exceptionally coherent tale of the region’s history, in its various art and cultures.
Besides this, you will also find the Ng Eng Teng collection, which contains over 1,100 artworks and objects donated by the seminal local artist to the university, and is thus also the most comprehensive collection devoted to a single artist in Singapore.
If you liked the Art Science Museum, check out…Mint Museum of Toys
Home to trinkets, memorabilia, and other fascinating objects, the museum has always been conceptualised as a cabinet of curiosities. Nowhere else has such a comparison been more appropriate, it seems, than at the Mint Museum of Toys, a private museum boasting a collection of more than 50,000 items of vintage toys and figurines – some as old as a hundred years old, and others from countries as faraway as Bulgaria. An eclectic mix of vibrant colours and sepia tones overwhelm visitors the moment they step in, and instantly, a wave of nostalgia and childlike awe overwhelms adults and children alike. There, you’ll find familiar figures from your childhood on display, and be taken through an almost anthropological study of history through play.
Parkview Museum Singapore
Lesser known is this brand new art space in downtown Singapore, which was only opened to public earlier in March this year. Located in Parkview Square – otherwise known as the ‘Gotham City building’ for its gilded, Art Deco façade – the museum’s galleries occupy an impressive 15,000 square feet, and are intended to house solo and thematic art exhibitions from across the world.
Their inaugural show, “On Sharks and Humanity”, featured a collection of works by international artists made as varying responses to the pressing issues of shark protection and environmental conservation while the current exhibition “The Artist’s Voice” – curated by internationally acclaimed curator and art historian Dr. Lorand Hegyi – promises to convey visual metaphors about the human existence.
If you liked the Singapore Art Museum, do visit…Red Dot Design Museum
Originating from Essen, Germany, where the Red Dot Design Museum was first established in 1955, the local extension has taken on a remarkably cosmopolitan flavour over the 12 years that it has been here. In its first year, the museum launched the Red Dot Award: Design Concept competition, drawing the best of international design to our shores, and has since continued to expand its reach within the region. The museum has recently relocated from the iconic Red Dot Traffic Building to the Marina Bay City Gallery later this year. Read more about the new space here.
Red Dot Design Museum is located at 11 Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018940, p. +65 6514 0111. Open daily 11am – 2am.
NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
Situated in the visual arts cluster at Gillman Barracks, the NTU CCA Singapore is one of the few places in the country that seeks, essentially, to bring together art practitioners, researchers, and the public with its unique programmes and exhibitions. Its seven art studios have housed diverse regional and international artists during their residencies at the centre, whilst its audio-visual archives extend an unparalleled perspective on contemporary art practice to curators, scholars, and writers. Adjacent to these facilities, its expansive galleries also showcase works by some of the most influential contemporary artists living today.