The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
One consistent thing about the many great cities we have been to (such as New York, Boston, London and Tokyo) is that despite being prominent economic and political power houses, these cities do not neglect their children. In fact, they devote precious resources to nurture their young particularly in the area of the arts and sciences where their curiosity can be stoked and creativity stirred.
With the opening of National Gallery Singapore, we secure our ranks among the other great cities in the world with a dedicated space – the Keppel Center for Art Education created specifically for children to feel, experience and create art.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.” ~ Albert Einstein
Keppel’s Center for Art Education is the first dedicated art facility in Singapore and the region created for children. It is a dynamic environment seeking to inspire learning in new ways within children allowing them to discover art through imaginative play. It features four vibrant spaces conceptualized, and now brought to life by artists together with an exciting range of programs for youth, children and families all year round.
The 4 spaces are:
(i) The Art Corridor
(ii) The Art Playscape
(iii) Project Gallery
(iv) The Children’s Museum
For its opening, the Center collaborated with 4 prominent local artists to create visually stunning and experiential installations centered around the theme of ‘Home’. Visitors are invited to discover what does ‘Home’ mean for these artists and to ponder what our own creative interpretations of home is .
1. Art Corridor
The Art Corridor is situated at the Level 1 entrance to the Keppel Center for Art Education. A large art installation ‘Voyage’ where children can explore colours, shapes and lines through tactile play – yes, you can touch, feel and play with this art piece!
Created by local award-winning artist, Twardzik- Ching Chor Leng, this large interactive installation inspired by topographical maps of waterways of Singapore. Take one or more of the colourful chips and move them through the ‘passages’ and experience how the colours, shapes and lines intersect, creating a lively colour scape that changes with the natural light of the corridor. Discover your favourite colour combination and see what’s the longest distance you can travel without losing your chip!
It’s special that this installation graces the entrance. The laughter and chatter it creates at the entrance symbolize the resounding approval from children (and families) of the National Gallery Singapore – a precursor to more of the laughter, chatter, conversations and creativity this gallery will generate.
Join us on a virtual experience of ‘Voyage’ and hear from the artist about her art installation here:
2. The Art Playscape
It took me 4 years to paint like Raphael, but a life time to paint like a child.” ~ Pablo Picasso
Every one of us, as a child, would have read and felt the many pop-up children’s books. Imagine going INTO it!
The Art Playscape is a fantastical play area where children are invited ‘into a painting’. Here at the ‘Adventures of the Enchanted Forest’, children can explore a magical tree-house, thrown out to sea by a tornado as they join Fynn, the fish-on-sticks and his forest friends on a whimsical journey in search of a new home, complete with a hand-held torch. Along the way, they discover mysteries, surprises and new friendship. Do take time to recreate some of these experiences through your own art pieces.
The ‘Adventures of the Enchanted Forest’ is created by local renowned artist, Sandra Lee whose artworks are filled with exuberance and innocence and is partially inspired by her own quest for ‘home’. In her own words, ‘’Home is where you will never be a stranger, and never be alone. Having uprooted myself from my home country, I have spent the last 30 years travelling and moving from place to place. Home is where I put my rucksack down for a moment and connect with nature, people and culture, and make memories that influence my art.”
Note: Children must be less than 100 cm tall to enter the tree-house (yes,there’s one right here!)
Join us here for a virtual tour of the Art Playscape as we join Fynn to the into the oceans, across the enchanted forest and up to the tree-house!
3. Project Gallery
This space allows artists to ‘interact’ with children in a special way. The artist develops his art piece and children, upon stepping into this large room, will be immediately immersed in it as they engaged in hands-on activity to create their own variation of the art piece. Here, children learn and discover their own interpretation of creativity through making.
For the opening, the hanging artworks ‘The Nomadic Bus’ and ‘Boat in the Sky’ are by local award-winning artist and head of the visual arts faculty at SOTA, Tan Wee Lit. He aims to inspire visitors to imagine future dwelling spaces in a globalized world and, beyond the physical structure. We found this space very inspiring and invigorating. Apart from being stimulated by the catchy art pieces hanging from the ceiling, it was very heart-tugging to see what children in Singapore have written on the wall about what ‘home’ is to them. Many of the notes were quite touching. Take your time to read and ponder.
Visitors can then head to one of the many workstations around to create their own version of the two art pieces for a small fee of S$4. This space is not to be rushed. It’s great to be inspired by each other, bond with one another in a special way.
Take a virtual walk in the Project Gallery here:
4. Children’s Museum
If you’ve ever wondered what is the process of creating an art piece, here’s a wonderful place for you to discover first hand, sort of.
The Children’s Museum features a ‘Visual Dictionary’ where visitors get to step into local artist and lecturer, Milenko Prvacki’s mind and role play what an artist goes through in his workshop. From generating of an initial idea to deciding on the texture of materials to be used, children can learn about one of the many thought-processes that goes through an artist’ mind in the creation of an art piece. For a small fee of $2, children can get a hands on experience through making a pocket sculpture.
Do devote some time to appreciate Milenko’s thought-provoking idea of home – the one he was “born into” which has now subsequently disappeared and now to his “home of choice” – Singapore for the last 24 years.
Take a virtual tour with us into the Artists’ studio at the Children’s Museum and see what you may experience in this unique space:
5. Special Displays
From inspiring…now to mind-boggling talent: You must not miss these.
Currently on display are 2 mind-boggling artwork by 2 exceptionally local gifted artists: Stephen Wiltshire and Xandyr Quek. Both artists embarked on separate journeys to render the Singapore landscape using their unique talents. The result is two spectacular renditions of Singapore’s terrain in all its dimensions.
a. The Panoramic Cityscape of Singapore – 2014
As part of Singapore’s SG50 celebration, Stephen Wiltshire (MBE) was commissioned to draw the Singapore skyline. The savant who draws and paints detailed city-scapes, often from memory after observing them briefly. As a child, he was diagnosed as autistic and did not relate to other people. Though he was mute, it soon became apparent that he communicated with the world through the language of drawing.
The large 100 x 400 cm art piece astounded us with details that we don’t even notice in our own skyline! This art piece is nothing short of amazing.
b. City in the works 2015 (by Xandyr Quek, 13 years old)
City in the Works, like its name suggests, is a work in progress of Xandyr’s own town of Woodlands where he creates miniature yet detailed landscape of using clay and plaster. From paper now to clay and plaster by gifted young artist Xandyr. Diagnosed with mild autism, 13-year old Xandyr devotes his time to studying the landscapes and urban architecture that are around him. These detailed observations of his environment become subject matter for his comic strips, video montages, and stop-motion clips with clay figures, all of which reflect his diverse interest.
The details again are mind boggling. You have to see for yourself the amazing details and I honestly cannot imagine the effort that has gone into this large 200 x1200cm piece of exceptional work.
Children’s Gallery along Walkways and Corridors:
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Degas
Finally, for me, what is really touching and heart-warming are the many displays of children artwork along the Gallery’s corridors. If you’re lucky, you may even hear one of the young ‘budding artists’ presenting – yes, I’m speaking about the actual art works of many of our children from all walks of life being showcased along the corridors and walkways. Don’t just walk by them – stop, read and appreciate these pieces by children from our local schools.
Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.” ~ Cardinal Roger Mahony, in a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life.
The Keppel Center for Art Education is not only an art gallery. It is an ongoing celebration of what our nation has achieved over the last 50 years and serves as an inspiration of what the next 50 years can become if we continue to fan the spirit of our younger generation in creativity. Book your tickets to the Grand Opening Celebrations (24 Nov to 6 Dec 2015) of National Gallery Singapore here!
NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE:
National Gallery Singapore’s Office is located at:
1 St. Andrew’s Road #01–01
Exhibition Opening Hours
- 10.00am to 7.00pm (Sun – Thu and Public Holidays)
- 10.00am to 11.00pm (Fri – Sat and Eve of Public Holidays)
Tickets are required for admission into all exhibition galleries, and Keppel Centre for Art Education. For general enquiries, please email us at [email protected] or call us at 6271 7000.
Tickets will be available on our website from 16 November 2015 and from our Gallery Ticketing Counters at level B1 from 24 November 2015.
- Free entry for Singapore Citizens/ PRs and Children 6 years and under
- $20 for non-Singaporeans
- $15 for *concession-holders and children between 7 and 12 years