National Gallery Singapore Extends the Positive Impact of Art to a Broader Audience as it Turns 5
Diverse range of programmes and initiatives will engage the public, support them through art and inspire inclusiveness amid challenging times
(Singapore, 3 November 2020) As the nation emerges from the difficulties brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, art can play a greater role than ever to unite, heal and inspire the public. That is the firm belief of National Gallery Singapore as it extends the positive impact of art to an even broader range of audiences. Having hosted close to 8 million visitors in the last five years through more than 30 exhibitions and numerous interdisciplinary programmes, the Gallery strengthens its commitment to continue bringing communities together and fostering a thoughtful, creative and inclusive society.
walks of life are able to access art and its power to heal and provide respite. Regardless of their backgrounds, mother tongues, interests and needs, the public can look forward to fresh initiatives created to provide audiences with innovative, engaging and meaningful experiences with art.
Ms Chong Siak Ching, Chief Executive Officer of National Gallery Singapore, says: “The Gallery turns five in a year that has proved momentous for Singapore and the world. As a museum for the people, we stand together with our partners, donors, artists, supporters and audiences, holding space for all to pause and reflect on life through art, and be inspired and to emerge stronger from current challenging times.
“As the world, and our country, continue to evolve the Gallery, as a national institution, needs to keep pace with the changes and advance the role of art in society. We will build on our achievements and renew our commitment to make art inclusive and accessible for everyone, so that as many people as possible can come to appreciate and enjoy the value of art.”
The Gallery's anniversary programme spans a wide range of initiatives that will make art more accessible and relevant to all, build a sense of community, encourage and uplift spirits, and showcase the best of art in Singapore and Southeast Asia to the region and the world.
MAKING ART MORE ACCESSIBLE AND RELEVANT TO ALL
● Art Through Your Eyes: Every day Singaporeans have been invited to pen their personal interpretations of artworks in the Gallery. From 3 November 2020 approximately 100 works in the museum’s long-term exhibitions and public spaces will feature new additional artwork labels, next to the museum’s labels, that give voice to the lived experiences of people from all walks of life, including seniors, children, people with special needs, artists in Singapore and even the Gallery’s security staff. The fresh perspectives they offer on storied works of art in the museum will encourage visitors to see and experience art and their everyday life anew.
● Multilingual Audio Tours: In conjunction with its upcoming exhibition, Georgette Chen: At Home in the World, the Gallery will be launching multilingual audio tours in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil providing non-English speaking visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with Georgette Chen, a leading artist and educator who played a key role in the development of visual arts in Singapore, with this large-scale exhibition launching 27 November 2020. Visitors will be able to access the audio tours on the Gallery Explorer app.
● Food x Art Podcast: A Story of Food, Art and Singapore. Food-loving audiences can get to know and appreciate works in the Gallery through a novel experience – a light-hearted podcast series that marries food with art. Hosted by writer Shamini Flint, the podcast will unite people in Singapore with their favourite past-time as she explores the history of art in Singapore through food, local poetry and works in our National Collection. Listeners can tune in to the podcast and view the mentioned artworks at www.galleryturns5.sg from 3 November 2020,
● Access Guide: The Gallery has also improved its infrastructure and access to programmes, catering to audiences of different needs to strengthen their sense of belonging in the museum. The Access Guide, which was created with the Disabled People’s Association, states useful information for visitors with different access needs, including visitors with disabilities, mobility difficulties and parents with young children.
● Product innovation lab, Y-Lab: Y-Lab is a unique Art x Tech convergence innovation lab that provides an opportunity to evolve an organisation’s existing products with the Gallery, to either create experiences that make art more accessible, or inspire useful technology with artistic sensibilities. The resulting innovations are not only viable for the Gallery, but also the Cultural sector both locally and internationally.
Y-Lab seeks to be an innovation hub for start-ups, patrons, museum professionals, investors, culture sector talents and visitors alike to co-create the future of cultural production and consumption in Singapore and beyond.
● #Smartmuseum: The Gallery has been leveraging technology to enhance the museum-going experience and appeal to a wider range of audiences. Visitors can now perform Safe Entry, collect membership points, adopt a piece of artwork and more on the new and improved free Gallery Explorer App, a useful companion to keep one engaged with art both in and outside of the Gallery. The Gallery Explorer App is developed in partnership with our innovation partner, Accenture. The Gallery has also piloted its first autonomous robot guide, TEMI, to provide visitors complementary introduction to a series of four artworks on people and portraits at DBS Singapore Gallery 1. While docent tours are one of the best ways to experience what the Gallery has to offer, TEMI Auto-Guide Tour offers an on-demand physically guided audio tour of our exhibitions.
ENCOURAGING PARTICIPATION & OWNERSHIP
● Extension of Free Gallery Insider Membership: Due to popular demand and as part of the Gallery’s commitment to making art accessible to more audiences, the free membership promotion will be extended until 31 January 2021 - inviting every citizen and PR to be a part of the Gallery. The public can sign up for a free membership (worth up to $120 in value) to enjoy unlimited access to exhibitions and discounts of up to 15% for shopping and dining. Non-Singaporeans and PRs can also enjoy 1-for-1 Gallery Insider membership promotion during this period. Registration details are available at www.galleryturns5.sg.
● Adopt Now: For the first time ever, anyone can now own a piece of art from as little as S$50 through a public crowdfunding initiative. Jointly developed with Accenture on the Gallery Explorer app, this initiative hopes to cultivate a long-term culture of giving to the arts, while allowing current and future generations of Singaporeans to develop a deeper understanding of the region’s art, culture, heritage and history. All art adopters will be acknowledged digitally for their contribution and accorded privileges based on the donation amount.
● Public Engagement Initiative: The Gallery is launching a public engagement initiative to facilitate dialogue with the wider community. Feedback and suggestions sourced from the public will help inform the future direction of the Gallery. The engagement exercise will resonate digitally, on-site at the Gallery and extend to various neighbourhoods around Singapore, as part of the Gallery’s efforts to reach out to the community beyond its walls. The public engagement initiative will be available later in the year on www.galleryturns5.sg.
● Limited Edition Merchandise: To allow the public and our fans to commemorate this important milestone with us, a series of limited-edition anniversary merchandise such as face masks, postcards, EZ-link cards and tote bags will be available for purchase at The Gallery Store at a later date.
HARNESSING THE RESTORATIVE POWER OF ART
● Words that Count: 5th Anniversary Edition: Launching on 24 November 2020, this special anniversary edition of the online programme allows anyone to build on the works of local prominent writers, Pooja Nansi and Gwee Li Sui, and turn them into personal expressions of support, comfort and encouragement for healthcare workers and the wider community amidst the pandemic. The public can create and leave their messages of support online at www.galleryturns5.sg or in person at the Gallery’s Level 1 City Hall Foyer.
● Art x Wellness: Recognising the healing power of art to improve the physical, emotional and mental well-being of the public, the Gallery has launched a series of initiatives that guide participants to harness the power of art by creating a space for self-reflection and connection with others. Programmes such as Slow Art and Somatic Series prompt participants to practise mindfulness through mind and body. The Gallery also collaborated with Singapore Art Museum to develop The Care Collection: Caring through the Arts for Singhealth’s iTHRIVE ARTpreciate art therapy programme.
CONTINUED OUTREACH THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
● Georgette Chen: At Home in the World: At this exhibition, discover the fascinating story of Georgette Chen whose exceptional life experiences as a professional female artist living and working around the world shaped her practice and left a lasting legacy in the development of visual arts in Singapore. Having lived and worked around the world, Chen was deeply interested in the nuances of Singapore’s diverse culture. She was particularly sensitive to the importance of language in understanding culture and became proficient in Malay using it in letters and in conversation with her friends. The first major museum retrospective of the artist in more than 20 years, this exhibition will feature her most significant works alongside a wealth of newly discovered archival material and bring to light little-known aspects of her exceptional life beyond her artistic practice, such as her close relationship with the Malay artistic community through Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya, and her work as a grant administrator for the Lee Foundation.
● The anniversary programmes continue into 2021 with new initiatives and experiences that will bring the public together, and champion Singapore and Southeast Asian art and artists. The perennial crowd-favourite Light to Night festival will return in January 2021 with a hybrid physical and digital lineup that will make the experience accessible to more audiences with pop up art encounters island wide.
● Opening in May 2021, Something New Must Turn Up: Six Singaporean Artists after Merdeka will offer a capacious view of Singapore’s art in the mid- to late- 20th century by spotlighting the work of six artists - Chng Seok Tin, Goh Beng Kwan, Jaafar Latiff, Lin Hsin Hsin, Mohammad Din Mohammad, and Eng Tow - who represent the diversity of artistic practice in Singapore from that period.
● The Gallery’s biennial Children’s Biennale will also be returning in May 2021, in a hybrid physical and digital format. The theme will explore the importance of art, especially during times of isolation and uncertainty.
More information about these exhibitions and festivals will be available at a later date.
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