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  • We Built a Nation

    Commonwealth Crescent Neighbourhood Centre

    Singapore became an independent country following its exit from Malaysia on 9 August 1965. Thrust into nationhood amid a volatile regional climate plagued by conflict (Indonesia was waging an undeclared war, the Konfrontasi, to oppose the formation of Malaysia), Singapore’s founding generation of leaders focused on cohesiveness to ensure its survival. In the words of Singapore’s first President Mr Yusof Ishak: “If we are to remain a cohesive people, we must concentrate on the factors which bind us together, and not those which will divide us."

  • Toh’s Inspiration: The State Crest Story

    National Coat of Arms

    Also known as the National Coat of Arms, the State Crest serves as a symbol of Singapore’s status as a self-governing and independent state.

  • The Cloud of Unknowing, Ho Tzu Nyen, Singapore, 2011, single-channel HD video projection and 13-channel sound files

    The Cloud of Unknowing, Ho Tzu Nyen, Singapore, 2011, single-channel HD video projection and 13-channel sound files

    Shot within a block of public housing in Singapore, The Cloud of Unknowing revolves around eight characters and their encounters with a cloud or cloud-like figure. The Cloud of Unknowing portrays the characters in a moment of revelation, and here the reference made by the artwork's title is elucidated.

  • Irrawaddy, Kim Lim, Singapore/ UK, 1979, pinewood

    Irrawaddy, Kim Lim, Singapore/ UK, 1979, pinewood

    Kim Lim was born in Singapore in 1936 and spent much of her early childhood in Penang and Malacca. Her father was Lim Koon Teck, a well- known magistrate in Penang and through her mother’s side (Betty Seow), she is a descendant of Tan Kim Cheng, son of Singapore pioneer Tan Tock Seng.

  • Interplay Between Traditions and Contemporary Forms: #2 Jawi and Arabic Forms, Iskander Jalil, Singapore, 2002, ceramic/stoneware with oxide/ glazes

    Interplay Between Traditions and Contemporary Forms: #2 Jawi and Arabic Forms

    Born in 1940 in Singapore, Iskandar Jalil is acknowledged as one of Singapore's most significant artists in the practice of ceramic art.

  • Zhangjiajie, Wu Guanzhong, China, 1997, Chinese ink and colour on paper

    Zhangjiajie, Wu Guanzhong, China, 1997, Chinese ink and colour on paper

    Zhangjiajie (张家界) is the largest artwork by Wu Guanzhong in our National Collection. It depicts a majestic view of the towering jagged sandstone columns unique to this protected forest park, set behind a flowing river. Specks of magenta, orange and yellow-green cover the coarse sharp edges of the mountains, suggesting the arrival of either spring or autumn.

  • Status, Jane Lee, Singapore, 2009, mixed media

    Status, Jane Lee, Singapore, 2009, mixed media. Collection of Singapore Art Museum

    Status examines the genre of painting by means of pushing the limits of materials and techniques by highlighting the creation process. The work, which is monumental, crosses the boundaries of painting, sculpture and installation, defying traditional categorisation.

  • Tiger's Whip, Tang Da Wu, Singapore, 1991, mixed media

    Tiger’s Whip, Tang Da Wu, Singapore, 1991, mixed media

    Tiger's Whip, an installation and performance piece, was first presented to the Singapore public in 1991 in Chinatown with the intention of highlighting the plight of the endangered tigers, which are hunted for their penises as Chinese superstition makes them out to be a powerful aphrodisiac. The work shows the clash of such a belief with the reality of extinction.

  • National Language Class, Chua Mia Tee, Singapore, 1959, oil on canvas.

    National Language Class, Chua Mia Tee, Singapore, 1959, oil on canvas

    One of Chua's most iconic images, National Language Class captures an important stage of Singapore’s history. Painted in 1959 when Chua was a member of the Equator Art Society, this work is charged with nationalist sentiment and commemorates Singapore's long-awaited attainment of self-governance in the same year. National Language Class depicts a group of Chinese students learning Malay, the newly-designated national language of Singapore.

  • Self-Portrait, Georgette Chen, Singapore, c. 1946, oil on canvas

    Self-Portrait, Georgette Chen, Singapore, c. 1946, oil on canvas

    Painted possibly a few years after her works were selected for exhibition at the prestigious Salon d'Automne in Paris, Chen's Self Portrait reveals her strong and confident personality. Her piercing gaze engages the viewer in a direct conversation.

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