It’s a week before Chinese New Year and I am in between business trips spending the week-end in Singapore. We have decided to spend it together there maximizing all points and miles from 2019 business travels to have an enjoyable time. And our choice for this beautiful Saturday? The Singapore National Gallery.
Singapore is home to some great museums and the Singapore National Gallery is one of the latest, it opened in 2015 in the civic quarter. It’s a stone throw away from the Asian civilization museum and the famous Fullerton hotel. We like coming to Singapore to visit some temporary exhibits and modern art as often similar offering and well curated collections in other South East Asian capitals are not always available. We decided for this week-end to explore the Singapore National Gallery, it looked big enough for a full day visit.
We were so lucky, as this particular week-end was the last of the Light to Night festival in Singapore! The museum was totally free and there was loads of activities planned during the day as well as in the evening with light shows on the facades.
The Singapore National Gallery is composed of two wings, the one in the former supreme court house South Asia arts and the former City Hall is more towards Singaporean’s and modern art exhibits. It has also on its rooftop one of Singapore best (and free) view !
We arrived around 10:30 am and were lucky that it was the beginning of a free hour-long architectural tour of the two buildings by a volunteer. She was equally knowledgeable about the building and also some of the art pieces that we stepped next to on occasions. A very interesting walking tour that makes you appreciate the renovation work and the history of the buildings.
We particularly enjoyed the South Asia exhibitions in the Supreme Court wings, having lived in many of the artist’s homeland whose pieces were on display – we enjoyed the well-done explanations on the contexts of the art. It resonated with some of the museums or cultural visits we have done in those countries ourselves. It was very good to be able to understand more through the eyes of the art displayed there. Most artists came from Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
By the time we finished the walking tour and the Supreme court wing, we were already well into the afternoon and time for a break for our tired feet. After a good break at the Courtyard Café and a very late lunch, (we had stuffed ourselves at the excellent So Sofitel breakfast buffet!) we continued on to the interactive exhibit retracing the important milestones of Singapore history that was in the main townhall chamber. Then we were toasted – we will have to come back to do the Townhall exhibitions, which hosted the Singapore Biennale collection (that looked amazing !).
Walking back to the hotel we stopped for a coffee around Raffles place and went back to our room for a nap and a shower. As the sun was setting, the program of the Night & Light festival mentioned concerts, more light shows around 8 pm, so back we went to the Singapore National Gallery for the evening’s entertainment! Good music, light shows, again an amazing rooftop view at night and some lazying on the Padang’s grass concluded a beautiful day at the Singapore National Gallery.
Museum website for ticketing & exhibition information
Closest subway station: City Hall
Click here to know more about the Light to Night Festival.
Or check the event Instagram: #LightToNightsSG