Today, I will take you to the National Gallery of Singapore. It occupies two important monuments for Singapore: the former Supreme Court and City Hall. Keeping the original facade and main structure, they have restored and renovated the place into an impressive gallery housing the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Apart from its permanent collections, there is a special gallery in the 2nd floor which features different exhibitions.
Philippines represent! In one of the gallery’s exhibit is a feature on Johnny Manahan. Known for being a renowned director in our country, not many are aware that he is also an artist which dabbled into photography and painting.
The picture below is showing a comic strip telling the story of how he went from being a basketball player to an artist.
This is the atrium between the two buildings. As you can see, they have managed to keep the heritage while giving the place a breath of modernity through the contemporary structures built in between.
Fun fact: the foundation stone laid in the picture below is said to have underneath it a time capsule containing newspapers dated March 31, 1937 and currency from the Straits Settlements. It is to be unearth in the year 3000.
This foundation stone is located at the former supreme court’s foyer.
Housed in former justice halls, there were a lot of artworks ranging from cartography, illustration of historians, and paintings depicting the early days in Southeast Asia.
Here is a painting by Juan Luna when he was in Hong Kong:
Beside it is a painting by Hidalgo:
It was truly a visual feast, as one room led to the next I was continually amazed by how much talent our region has. I can’t help but gasp in excitement every time I see an artwork by a Filipino artist.
At the atrium, a woman was playing the harp as people watched and listened to her from the opposite staircase.
There are two link bridges connecting the City Hall wing and the Supreme Court wing.
A circular room lies below the Rotunda dome. It used to be a law library then a police post. It now contains archival materials which the visitors may browse.
More art, now focused on Singaporean artists:
Singapore didn’t use to be so open to the arts before. Various artist showed their protest through the pieces they have produced during those times. It is comforting to know how much it has changed now, and how much the art scene has been thriving lately in this island country.
Shown above is the grandest room in the City Hall building.
It hosted many important events for Singapore’s history – namely the signing of the Japanese surrender document, and the swearing in of Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew.
The gallery also has a roof deck garden with commanding views of Marina Bay and the central business district skyline.
There you have it, I hope you had fun with our tour of the National Gallery. It is a major photo dump, I know. But there is still so much more to see in the gallery, I suggest you head on and visit it if you ever find yourself in Singapore. It won’t disappoint I assure you.
See you again next time, on our next Where Art Thou! 🙂