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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Visit to National Gallery for Southeast Asian Art Exhibition

1 St. Andrew's Road #01-01 Singapore 178957
Tel: 6690 9400

Opening Hours
Sundays to Thursdays and Public Holidays     :  10.00am to 7.00pm
Fridays, Saturdays and Eve of Public Holidays:  10.00am to 10.00pm

Admission Fees
Singaporeans and Singapore PRs:       Free-of-charge
Non-Singaporeans:                             SGD$20.00 (standard) / SGD$15.00 (concession)

Having been to this restored building for drinks (review here), I finally found time to explore the many levels of art exhibitions and paintings, with *Charmaine. This beautiful, artistic Colonial-style building used to be none other than Singapore's very own Supreme Court and City Hall. This municipal building dates all the way back to July 1929, giving it a rich sense of history.

Now, it is more vibrant as visitors and diners fill up this building for arts, food and drinks. Besides a rather eclectic and wide collection of local and international art pieces, there was also a 3-piece band playing at the main foyer, entertaining guests at intervals with good music from over the world.

We were here for the general exhibitions spread over the various wings of the gallery, as well as Reframing Modernisation display. Pity that we didn't get to catch "Painting with Light" show or the other show because they were for 7.00pm onwards -  I had to leave before then.

Anyway, there were 22 galleries in all, spread over a total of 6 floors, showcasing the different themed art for visitors to enjoy.  I shall just be touching on a few personal favorites, or memorable ones.

So, under the DBS Gallery, there's the "Siapa Nama Kamu? - Art in Singapore since the 19th Century", depicting Singapore in the past - portraits of fishing villages, and probably our forefathers, etc were on various forms of display (paintings, sculptures) throughout the halls, taking us back in time.

Then in UOB Southeast Asia Gallery, there's "Between Declarations and Dreams - Art in Southeast Asia since the 19th Century", characterised by a continuous encounter with the new, inseparably linked to the region's tumultuous social and political history, coming to live as artistic impulses and impressions here.

Next, "Earth Work 1975", in Concourse Gallery 2, by our very own artist Tang Da Wu featuring land art interventions, earth installations and mineral pigment drawings.

Moving on, there's a couple of more Oriental exhibitions - Level 4 Gallery, City Hall Wing, featuring "Chua Ek Kay: After the Rain" - featuring his famous ink paintings and affinity with water bodies, reflections etc; and there's "Wu Guanzhong: Beauty Beyond Form" at Wu Guanzhong Gallery, showcasing his works of over 50 years, in both oil and paint.

Finally, our favorite section - "Reframing Modernism", over at the Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery, an international collaboration with over 200 iconic  works by modern artists in Southeast Asia and Europe. We loved some of the dated pieces, as well as a few darker ones, such as "Jacob's Dream".

I enjoyed myself very much with all the stunning and impressive artistic-centric pieces, in this serene, spaious settings, and would love to come back for more exhibitions.   Some of the art pieces depict nudity or violence, so parents with kids,  be forewarned.   If you are tired, fret not - because this gallery building itself houses several restaurants, cafes and lounges.

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