National Gallery Singapore’s first-ever Gallery Children’s Biennale features ten exciting and interactive artworks by Singaporean and overseas artists. Opening on 20 May 2017 and running for four months till after Children’s Day, the artworks at the Gallery Children’s Biennale are located around National Gallery Singapore’s public spaces, making them accessible to all visitors.
Themed Dreams & Stories, the Gallery Children’s Biennale’s exhibits were conceptualised with both kids and parents in mind. Many are tactile in nature and some even require participation by gallery visitors to be fully appreciated.
Through these experiences, National Gallery Singapore hopes that the Gallery Children’s Biennale will serve as a common meeting point for both parents and children alike to have a shared encounter with art.
“The Gallery Children’s Biennale serves as an excellent opportunity for parents to initiate their young ones into learning about art. Art ignites imaginations, evokes emotions, captures cultural values and expresses aspirations,” said Ms Suenne Megan Tan, Director, Audience Development & Engagement, National Gallery Singapore.
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Here are the 10 exciting art installations you can look forward to around the National Gallery Singapore at the inaugural Gallery Children’s Biennale.
This is a woodcutting piece by local artist Chng Seok Tin. It features art within art as there are five smaller wood blocks set into the main artwork.
What is remarkable about this piece is that Seok Tin is 80% blind as a result of an accident in 1988. The woodcut in the centre of the work represents the emotional journey that she went through as she grappled with the impact of the accident and learnt to reconcile what it meant to be oneself.
The artwork represents resilience in the face of adversity. It is intended to be touched and felt. Kids can also use a piece of paper to make a woodcut rubbing and bring a memento of this artwork home.
The Sonnet in Blue
From the outside, The Sonnet in Blue by Tran Trong Vu looks like an organic blue mass. However, as you walk through the installation, you will discover brightly-coloured flowers “blooming” out of the blue hedges of the installation.
Each flower contains poems and stories by children from countries around Southeast Asia. The 100 poems were compiled from submissions to the Poetry Festival (Singapore) by students from Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam and hand-inscribed onto the flowers by the artist. They provide an intimate look at the individual dreams and stories of children from around the region.
You can literally get your head in the clouds at Duplet, an installation by Singapore artist Lynn Lu. With seating for two, you and a friend or family member can enter the cloud and answer a series of 10 questions posed by the artist.
This Changed My Life
Around the corner from Duplet is another interactive installation by Lynn Lu. It is inspired by the practice of some nomadic communities to mark down important events on strings. Here, you can write down a significant memory on a piece of ribbon and stretch it out across a room to contribute to the artwork.
A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, Children’s Edition
Set up almost like a biology lab with pictures of animals on the walls, Robert Zhao’s work, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, Children’s Edition, explores how nature has been manipulated by humans. Kids can take part in an activity that invites them to draw a response to what is natural, unnatural, artificial or man-made.
From Rochor to Kallang
Created by Singapore artist Vincent Leow, From Rochor to Kallang is a reflective rather than interactive installation. 20 towers are fitted with bird traps coloured to be reminiscent of the block of flats at Rochor Road. Inside, there are common objects meant to invite reflection about what home really is.
Rock & Sphere
Rock & Sphere is by Ian Woo. It comprises two objects – a rock and a sphere – left in a free play area. Here, kids can disassemble and re-assemble the three-dimensional objects and it is left to their imaginations what they wish to do with the objects.
Homogenizing and Transforming World
Brightly-lit balls create a spatial maze for visitors to walk through at this installation by teamLab. As visitors touch the orbs, they change colour and produce sounds. This results in an ever-changing landscape where each person’s interaction affects the mood of the entire room.
Plus it is fun to just go around and hit the spheres!
Firewalk, A Bridge of Embers
Ever imagined what it’d be like walking in mid-air? Mark Justiniani’s work will give you just that illusion. Playing with the perception of depth, the 16-metre-long bridge that you can walk over will make you believe you are suspended in mid-air.
Look closely at the sides where you will find objects that represent different stages in life. These range from childhood toys and books to drawers representing how adults compartmentalise their lives.
A white room acts as a canvas for kids to turn into artists at Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room. Using dot stickers, they are welcome to decorate the room as they please.
Dots are a trademark of Yayoi Kusama who has been quoted as saying, “a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement … Polka dots are a way to infinity.”
For more than 40 years, she has been covering artworks and objects in dots. This is a process she calls “obliteration”.
Kids are invited to help “obliterate” the room at the Gallery Children’s Biennale. We suspect they won’t have to be asked twice!
Gallery Children’s Biennale Art Park and More
Visitors who wish to have a deeper experience with the installations can pick up the Gallery Children’s Biennale Art Pack. It contains activities and ideas for children on what to do around the art installations and is available for $5 at the Gallery.
Workshops, programmes and an outdoor festival will also be held in conjunction with the Gallery Children’s Biennale. Visit the Children’s Biennale website for more details.
Gallery Children’s Biennale
Dates: 20 May to 8 October 2017
Venue: National Gallery Singapore