One Fine Day In Singapore Art Museum

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) has built one of the world’s most important public collections of Southeast Asian contemporary artworks.

When I lived in Singapore, I used to pass this place once a week and I always stood in front of it wondering what was inside. I could visit it, but I didn’t, no idea why. This year, I got the chance to visit this place which I never thought I would ever visit it after I left Singapore.

The History

Also known as SAM, the museum is now a contemporary art museum. The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) focuses on international contemporary art practices, specializing in Singapore and Southeast Asia.  Its mission is to breathe Art into Life. Through contemporary art, we make infinite room for everyone to think, feel, experience and imagine.

It is open daily, including public holidays, from 10am to 7pm, and Fridays until 9pm. You may enjoy complimentary entry on Friday evenings from 6pm – 9pm. Free admission to the Singapore Art Museum will be granted as many contemporary art exhibitions as possible. However, from time to time, The Museum brings in internationally renowned works and exhibitions from overseas. I did not get the free admission though. I paid S$10 fee for the two museums.

singapore art museum

The Visit

It was the last day of my Southeast backpacking trip last August 2016. I decided to do something different to end this trip by visiting a place that has been on my list quite long. I have finally fulfilled my curiosity and feel delighted, enjoying the art. What came across my mind was “I should come here early”, but guess, time always gives you the best if you are patiently waiting.

I took many pictures, like, a lot of those from many sides but these are the best according to myself and posted in Instagram. Now, I decided to put all of those into this post, of course I added notes about what I got from the art and while I was editing this post, I realized that art can be so much fun too. Enjoy!

Adrift by wyn lyn tan


Sometimes we’re trying to figure out what is inside people mind, but we failed because we forget that we are only human and our part is not to understand but to do our best. That was in my mind when I crossed this art.

Adrift, a time-lapse video recorded by Wyn-Lyn Tan from Singapore throughout her 16-day journey around the Arctic Circle, attempts to capture the raw, austere, yet entrancing color-washed spaces of the Arctic’s landscape. Shot from the porthole of her cabin, the video – whose audio part has transmissions of the rattle and vibration of the ship’s engine coalesced with the gentle lapping of ocean waves – creates at once an intimate yet distant encounter with this most northerly circle of the Earth’s latitude.

Yuree Kensaku

Apex Predator

Don’t They Know It’s the End of the Whale? From the series ‘Apex Predator’ by Yuree Kensaku (b. 1979, Thailand). In accordance with the grand design of nature, animals live and feed off one another in an endless cycle known as the food chain. By virtue of its intelligence, the human sits atop this hierarchy, but its excessive greed has also led to the exploitation of the oceans. Majestic creatures such as great white sharks and blue whales are often reduced to exotic dishes to satiate the appetites of the wealthy. In three spectacular wall murals, artist Yuree Kensaku ponders the possibility of nature’s survival given mankind’s seemingly insatiable greed.

Yuree Kensaku

The Finale Fin of Shark’s Fins From the series ‘Apex Predator’ by Yuree Kensaku.

So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, just think about adding extra good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow because it was clear to me, my friends, that God is not only loves you very much but also has out His hand on you for something special.

plastic ocean

Plastic Ocean

Garbage… Garbage galore! What happens when we heedlessly throw away that much garbage? 269,000 tons of plastic debris float on the surface of our world’s oceans, creating hazardous living environments for marine life. In Plastic Ocean, artist TAN ZI XI (b. 1985, Singapore) tackles the issue of pollution head-on with her recreation of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Comprising approximately 26,000 pieces of non-biodegradable, her installation invites viewers to experience the sensation of floating in a sea of trash.

We do our very best, but sometimes it’s just not good enough. We buckle our seat belts, wear a helmet, stick to the lighted paths, and throw bin into the trash bin. Then we try to be safe and try so hard to protect ourselves, but it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference cause when the bad things come, they come out of nowhere. The worst things come suddenly with no warning, but we forget, that sometimes that’s how the good things come too.


Bryde’s Fountain

Appreciate life as it happens. Moments will soon pass and you will wish you had treasured them more.

As a simple message I got from Bryde’s Fountain (After Marcel Duchamp) by Krit Ngamson (b. 1983, Thailand). Krit Ngamsom’s kinetic sculptures are tongue-in-cheek references to iconic artworks that changed definitions and assumptions about art through their use of ready-made objects. These playful reinterpretations incorporate references to contemporary Thai culture with commentary on Western art-making practices. The three artworks, in particular, pay homage to artists Marcel Duchamp, Damien Hirst and Salvador Dali. They have also been adapted especially for Imaginarium, to explore issues concerning the oceans.

Suara Muara

Lasem, a tiny town on the northern part of Java island, is where the Lasem River meets the Java Sea. Once an important port where vessels berthed to transport a bevy of treasures to places around the world, Lasem today is like a lonely old man, who keeps his secrets quietly. While fishermen tend their nets and children play around little wooden boats, one can still find ancient shards of Chinese porcelain buried beneath its sandy beaches. Suara Muara, or The Sounds of the Estuary by Papermoon Puppet Theatre (f.2006, Indonesia) bring audiences on an aural journey, where the sounds of the past still exist, in unison with the lapping of the waves.

Sometimes, you’re not always right. Sometimes, you should just listen ’cause we’re all just kids who grew up way too fast. Learn to listen. Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly.

Where is Mogus

The Mogus, an imaginary octopus monster, is artist Mulyana’s alter ego. Laboriously crocheted from yarn, Dimana Mogus? Invites the young and young-at-heart to frolic amidst whimsical sea monsters set in a colorful dream seascape. Through this installation, Mulyana (b. 1984, Indonesia) hopes to create an environment in which visitors can interact with Mogus and his underwater friends; his soft, tactile sculptures encourage play, imagination and exploration. It was my favorite of all.

I never looked nicer. I looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something because it is not what you look that matters, it is what you feel.

Dimana Mogus? (Where is Mogus?) By Mulyana (b. 1984, Indonesia) is using mixed media installation with yarn, cotton, felt, synthetic fur, vulcanized copper wire and Dacron filling. Dimensions variable.

The Exquisite Pirate: Odyssey

Inspired by its shifting and uid borders, its playfulness as well as pointedness, artist Sally Smart draws inspiration from this map as well as the Surrealist parlor game of “Exquisite Corpse”, creating a body of work revolving around the question: “Were there any women pirates?”, and attendant notions of personal and social identity, cultural instability and hybridity. Composed from a bricolage of cut-out elements, Smart’s multi- layered assemblages reflect on the symbolism of the ship as an image of colonialism as well as personal odyssey, and on the idea of the female pirate as a means of describing and imagining other ways to navigate, to map, and to see the world.

In 1929, Surrealist poet Paul Eluard, having toured Southeast Asia in preceding years, authored The Surrealist Map of the World. In this highly subjective and mischievous map, whole continents were moved around, displaced, or enlarged, as an oppositionary statement against the Eurocentric enterprise of colonialism and modernity.

Australian artist Sally Smart’s The Exquisite Pirate: Odyssey, for instance, tips its hat to unheralded female pirates in history, with its collage of images of ships made from various pieces of textile. “A ship is always gendered female anyway,” she quipped, adding that the use of materials such as lace and hair pieces, further softens the image of pirates and piracy.

Singapore Art Museum

But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of ocean. Blue, green, grey, white, or black; smooth, ruffled, or mountainous; that ocean is not silent. All my days have I watched it and listened to it, and I know it well. At first it told to me only the plain little tales of calm beaches and near ports, but with the years it grew more friendly and spoke of other things; of things more strange and more distant in space and in time. … For the ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time. – H.P LOVECRAFT

From Night to Light

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. – Epictetus

Yellow Ribbon Project titled “From Night to Light”, this year’s Yellow Ribbon Community Art Exhibition 2016 showcases individual and collaborative artworks by a bumper crop of participating artists and artist mentors. Under the guidance of artists Edwin Ho, Kim Whye Kee, Stellah Lim and Barry Yeow, the inmates have created artworks that unpack concepts of ‘darkness’ and ‘brightness’ and explore themes of ‘home’, ‘hope’, ‘reconciliation’ and ‘transformation’.

Yellow Ribbon Singapore

From Night to Light has been curated to highlight the rehabilitative journey that the inmates have embarked on through their involvement in the making of art. Bring their hopes from night to light.

It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.

Anything that annoys you is teaching you patience. Anyone who abandons you is teaching you how to stand up on your own two feet. Anything that angers you are teaching about forgiveness and compassion. It has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back. Everything you hate is teaching you unconditional love. Anything you fear is teaching you courage to overcome your fear. Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go. – Jackson Kiddard

Passage III: Project Another Country

Human relationships forged within the realm of the seas are examined in two works. Filipino husband-and-wife team Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan tackle their country’s diaspora in Passage III: Project Another Country. It comprises a life-sized boat stacked with cardboard structures reminiscent of the boxes that Filipino migrant workers would fill with objects to send home to their families.

Addressing issues surrounding the idea of journeys and diaspora, Passage III: Project Another Country is one of many projects that evolved out of the artist duo’s relocation from the Philippines to Australia.

The re-purposed cardboard utilized in the installation is arranged to resemble a shanty town perched unsteadily on a wooden boat, suggesting the precarity of homes and of “home”, which leads to the necessity for change and journeying.

Every thing you ever wanted is right there so look forward with hope because it is better to look ahead and prepare and to look back and regret.

Breathing Together

Entang Wiharso’s (b. 1967, Indonesia) surrealistic seascape evokes the dynamic, mutable experience of living on an island, surrounded by waters which are witness to history. These underwater “memoryscapes” are riddled with enigmatic fragments of the past, from the once- ubiquitous becaks (pedicabs) which were outlawed by the Indonesian government and subsequently disposed of in the sea, to the vestiges of sea lanes for trade during the colonial era. The tendrils that anchor the oating island at the centre of the mural, to the underwater seascape and its ora and fauna, suggest the interconnectedness of civilisations, the seas, and history – all at once, Breathing Together.

Indonesian Entang Wiharso’s colorful and detailed installation Breathing Together combines personal stories with his country’s modern history. It is highlighted Indonesia’s identity as an archipelago.

Ocean’s Room

Ocean’s Room by Ashley Yeo (Singapore) & Monica So-Young Moon (South Korea) presents an assemblage of objects that attempt to consolidate and articulate a possible unified personification of the sea.

An ambient melody merges the sounds of waves and traditional Chinese instruments whilst painting a mysterious aural landscape. Sonorous and resounding, the competing masculine and feminine overtures are evocative of contestation that arises in attempts to personify seascapes. In two ink paintings on rice paper shrouded in silken gauze. Ashley Yeo attempts to capture the impalpable qualities of the ocean through subtle strokes and layered textures.

Self Portrait

Self-portrait (No More Tears Mr. Lee) by Jason Wee (Singapore) is made up of numerous plastic shampoo bottle caps placed individually on an angled pedestal. It has the texture similar to “dotting” as the art piece consists of many circles. It consists only two tones/colors, which are grey and white. Some of these bottle caps are open or closed. To form the portrait of a person when the bottle caps are lit and viewed from a certain angle.

Offshore Accounts

Offshore Accounts-1 by Rashid Rana (b. 1968, Pakistan) presents a monumental, monochromatic seascape which appears to float off the wall. Upon closer inspection, however, this vista of rolling waves gives way to thousands of miniature images, depicting mounds of trash and detritus as well as representations of colonial ships. For Rana, the placid surfaces of the sea belie the legacies of colonial trade and empire, as well as the destructive tendencies and wastefulness of contemporary consumerist culture, the products of which often arrive by – and are disposed of in — the oceans. Enfolding these twin strands is the title of the work which references wealth held offshore, as well as present-day practices of the global economy where production of consumer goods is often located abroad

Una Lumino Callidus Spiritus

Una Lumino Callidus Spiritus by Choe U-Rum (b. 1970, South Korea) consisting of 51 shiny flower-like individual units with translucent shells. Una Lumina Callidus Spiritus arose from Choe’s investigation of possible systems of communication between living organisms which exist in the absence of any command system. These units produce pulsating clusters of light as they communicate with one another. Operation as individuals, each unit reacts to movements in its vicinity, thereby setting off chain reactions.

The Musing

I thought I was alone when I took this picture. It turned there was someone behind me who enjoyed art as well as me. Guess, I was not the only one. Just like life, sometimes we thought that we are alone. Then we are trying to understand everything as we strive to live. Yet, we forget that God created many people so that we shall not live alone. So that we shall not fight alone, so that we can share something to bring hope.


I am a language trainer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. I love traveling, like a lot. I enjoy walking around, language immersion in different places, have a cup of coffee at some unfamiliar coffee shop, embrace the history or art in many different museums. I love coming across people and blending with new culture. I like having conversations with new people, blogging the stories and inspire people.

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