Tuesday, June 21, 2016

An Unusual Family Day at the Singapore National Gallery

my boys at the grand staircase of the National Gallery

"Every museum is full of nice things. That's the opposite of before. 
It was important things or serious things. Now we have interesting things." 
- Gerhard Richter

Just last week, the boys and I went to the National Museum of Singapore and we did have fun, unexpectedly because we are really not (traditional) museum-going people. I saw how engrossed Ira was looking at the artefacts and listening to the facts and figures shared by the museum guide so I thought we could definitely go for another museum tour before the school holiday ends. 

One the came to mind was the Singapore National Gallery because I remember telling Ira when we passed by the building on our way to the Victoria Concert Hall that we should visit it sometime. I've heard from friends that the architecture and several displays were interesting so we gave it a go. I told my husband about my plan of going to the National Galley on the weekend of Fathers' Day. Surprise, surprise! His company actually had a corporate day scheduled that weekend. That meant we would have all-access tickets for free! 

From City Hall MRT station, we headed to Exit B which should have led us to the Art Connector, a 5-minute walk via Coleman Street to the National Gallery, but we took the slightly faster route (according to Google Maps) from Stamford Rd, and turned right at St Andrew's Rd to get to Coleman Street gallery entrance.

Ira the painter
One of several interactive art installations
like that of Alive Museum or Trickeye Museum
The first thing that we saw was the Gallery Store. It gave us an introduction of sorts about the many things we would be seeing in the galleries. The photo below captured the boys' attention:
Ira: Mom, look! A giant ball dispenser

We asked where the ticketing counter was and we were instructed to take the escalator to the basement. The staircase that leads to the ticketing counter was one of the many photo op spots in the gallery but we saved it for last since there were still a group of people crowding the area. We got our tickets and a gallery map so we won't get lost (but we did anyway).

It did not occur to us how huge the National Gallery was until we actually got hold of our gallery map and started walking around. The National Gallery actually occupies two of Singapore's national monuments which are now called the Supreme Court Wing and the City Hall Wing. With five levels in total (excluding the basement) that's a whole lot of walking and looking at exhibits for us.

We initially wanted to have a more planned itinerary as we explored the National Gallery, but as what Dory said in Finding Dory: "What is so great about plans? The best things happen by chance." So we followed where our feet took us and here were some of the photos we captured along the way...
family photo with the grand staircase at the background
one of the big rocks at the Level 1 lobby
one of the many beautiful sitting areas in the National Gallery
entering the Supreme Court Wing with our future Supreme Court Judge (?)
Another one of those displays where visitors can be a part of the paintings 
Daddy helping Ira to reach the pen in the man's chest pocket
the guys joined in the lecture

painting by famous Filipino artist, Fernando Amorsolo
"Fish pond in Malabon"
My husband could relate as he is from Malabon. I, on the other hand, missed the visits to my grandfather's farm.
the sponsor for this gallery visit

capturing the fascinated onlooker
father and son trying to relate to the painting in front of them
titled "First Mass in the Philippines" by another famous Filipino artist, Carlos "Botong" Francisco.
A visit to the National Gallery not only awakened our somewhat interest in art (some pieces, at least) but we also felt a sense of pride admiring the works of world famous artists from our home country.
we had a lot of these sitting down breaks as we went around the galleries.
The chairs were just too tempting.
And here we were, finally exploring the Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery

I specifically liked the shapes and play of colors in both these artworks.  

father and son watching a short video. A break from all the walking.
Aside from art pieces displayed on walls, the National Gallery also houses remnants of what was once part of the Supreme Court.

here was another interesting piece which gave us the chills.
Arranged on a table, as if it was a chopstick, these finger bones 

a tower of bowls

another favorite part of our visit to the National Gallery was when we got to the Padang Deck and had a great view of the Padang and surrounding Singapore skyline.

Kelvin recognized this piano on display
as the one which was used during the SG50 concert his chorale took part in

an intricate carving depicting everyday life
the boys curiously checking out Matthew Ngui's optical illusion chair
Ira suggested for his dad to stand up in a specific spot to have this effect of him being a part of the chair.
It sort of worked a little, didn't it?
light bulbs tied into strings which move up and down while they rub into mirrors. 
frame by frame depiction of how an artists work develops
visitors can pick up their favorite art pieces and make them into a collage

this was another interesting place specially if you have kids

and that concludes our trip to the National Gallery
It was a different experience for us specially because we don't really frequent museums and are not art enthusiasts but we realized we did appreciate some pieces and it wouldn't hurt to go back and explore some more. The boys and I have visited 3 museums together this year and I think we could arrange for a few more.

For your info:

1 St Andrew's Road. Singapore 178957
Telephone#: 6271 7000
Email: info@nationalgallery.sg
website: www.nationalgallery.sg

Opening hours:
Sunday - Thursday and Public Holidays 10am-7pm
Friday-Saturday and Eve of Public Holidays 10am-10pm
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.

Admission Details:
Tickets are required for admission into all exhibition galleries and Keppel Centre for Arts Education

General Admission (includes DBS Singapore Gallery, UOB Southeast Asia Gallery, Wu Guanzhong Gallery, Chua Ek Kay Exhibition, Concourse galleries and Keppel Centre for Arts Education):
Singaporeans/PRs: free admission

Standard $20
Concession holders and children (7-12): $15
Children under 6: free 

Special Exhibitions:
Reframing Modernism
  • Singaporeans/PRs: Standard $15; Concession $10
  • Non-Singaporeans: Standard $25; Concession $20
Combo tickets (General Admission + Reframing Modernism)
Non-Singaporeans: Standard $30; Concession $25

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