An hour at the musuems

Had some time to kill in between church and a friend’s birthday brunch, so I checked in on the free exhibits at the National Museum and the Singapore Art Museum.



A Changed World at the National Museum traces the development of Singapore art through the 1950s-1970s. I liked the earlier seafaring/port pieces, because of the colors and the idyllic-despite-hustling scenes. The nation-building stage was also interesting because of the industrial scenes. If these are considered the beginnings of Singapore art, they’re very different from those of its Southeast Asian neighbors like the Philippines and Indonesia, which are marked by colonial violence and revolutions. Er, I didn’t really read the literature.



At SAM, the permanent exhibit with these happy greetings told a different socio-political story, seen through the eyes of the country’s young contemporary artists like Dawn Ng and Dyn.

SAM’s seasonal exhibit (with free admission), called Untitiled, was fun. This was an interactive installation where viewers were challenged to name untitled works. I found these three most interesting, not only because of how they appealed to me aesthetically, but more because of the titles previous visitors gave them (it’ll really help if you zoom in to see the handwritten titles on the right side).


For example, Cheong Chai-Hiang’s wooden, mixed media sculpture was christened thus:
Morning wood
The life of a chopped tree
Screw woodcarving (I feel you bro)


Angeline Choo’s oil painting:
A rose by any other name
The winner takes it all
Hold your panties

20140302-151415.jpgAnd this piece, which was not in the catalogue:
Execution by bad music
The death of the Walkman
“We know what to put in your ears” –Putin’s Russia

A Changed World is on exhibit at the National Museum till March 16.
Untitled is on exhibit at SAM till April 27.


Architects do it with models

Do their jobs. With miniature models. What were you thinking? 😉

At Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the urban planners do it with models, too. Mohd Yazid, model-maker extraordinaire, has been crafting these scaled-down buildings for the past 30 years at URA. I just read about him on URA’s online magazine, Going Places.

Friends who’ve visited me from other countries may have been taken on my Chinatown walking tour, which begins with the URA City Gallery, crafted by Mohd Yazid (now I know!). One of my favorite places in Singapore, the City Gallery shows a three-dimensional bird’s eye view of the city-state. There are models of buildings that are currently being built, and some that have not yet been built, showing what Singapore’s ever-changing skyline would look like in a couple of years.


The detailing on finished buildings is really fantastic.


Just before I moved here, my friend Hannah who was getting her master’s degree in urban planning from the National University of Singapore, took me to the City Gallery and showed me that hallowed room where Mohd Yazid works. I thought: wow, dream job! I wanted, wanted, wanted to spend my weekends there, carving balsa wood with my craft knife, prying my mighty-bonded fingers apart, and watching a building take form in mere days. To be honest, model-making was the part of my six years studying to become an architect that I enjoyed the most.