Thursday, May 23, 2013

A glimpse of Art Garden 2013 through the eyes of an adult

Walter by Dawn Ng.

Once again, Art Garden, the contemporary art fun for children is here. Held at the Singapore Art Museum, at 8 Queen Street, Art Garden is a delightful way to acquaint children with contemporary art.

Yearning to experience art through the eyes of children, I visited Art Garden on 18 May 2013. On the way to SAM at 8Q, Walter the colossal bunny is sure to attract the eyes of almost everyone. Walter seemed to be wondering why people were so delighted to take photographs with him.

As I approach SAM at 8Q, the exterior felt empty. Perhaps it was because I had visited the museum too early?

The installation that is an assembly of 134 boxes greeted me. The installation, Landscape in the Box, explores the beauty of landscapes in Singapore. I looked out for the box Anticipating the Future while Connecting with the past - Princess Elizabeth Estate by Woo Jiekai. This installation of 134 boxes seemed more intriguing to the adults.

Sandra Lee's The Enchanted Garden City.

The excitement truly began when I stepped into The Enchanted Garden City by Sandra Lee. I had thought that the children were in their bed enjoying their weekend rest. I was wrong, many of them were seen enchanted by the whimsical enchanted garden city. The children were charged with lots of energy. They were having fun! Here, children could draw their own version of an enchanted garden city and have their drawings projected onto one of the walls.

As I walked about The Enchanted Garden City, I noticed localized icons such as the kampong-style zinc-roof-top house and more. Through the eyes of children, there are joys in the simple things. Contentment is an attitude that makes children feel blessed whatever the circumstances could be.

Sandra Lee's The Enchanted Garden City.

I was tempted to dance away with the children. Before I have to work hard to contain the temptation, I headed for Sun Yu-li's Love. Revolve the World displayed at level four of the museum's building. I have a liking for Sun Yu-li's sculptures. It was a different experience getting acquainted with his collaborative work with 750 students. Maybe it takes a contemplative child to see the connections that exist in the universe?

Sun Yu-li's Love. Revolve the World.

My favourite work was Stellar Cave II by Julien Salaud. From the first glimpse, I could feel the artist's interest in astronomy. It was simply stunning and beautiful in its own way. Children could learn patience by checking out the activities in the adjacent room where they could make images out of screws and threads. If I was a child, I would lie on a mat placed on the floor and marvel at the beauty of this work as if I was a child from the prehistoric period. Life can be so amazingly!

Stellar Cave II by Julien Salaud.

The Incredibly Magical Expanding Room by Mojoko and Shang Liang was comparative less interesting than their work, Reactive Wall, that was showcased at Art Garden 2012. Maybe I had been over-stimulated by the Reactive Wall last year.

The surprise element was most present in Stéphane Blanquet's Les rêves engloutis – Glossy Dreams in Depths. This work exposed the viewer to unfamiliar situations. I was told that the underlying suggestion is that we can learn to overcome our fears and our fixed expectations. Even when things turn out different from the expected, life can be an adventure that is filled with surprises. If I were a child, I would be reminded by this work to be brave to face what may lie ahead.

Stephane Blanquet's Glossy Dreams in Depths.

After a series of adventures braving the unexpected, visitors to Art Garden could take a seat and enjoy a selection of local short films and animation in the film screening room.

To end the visit with an experience that would stretch one imaginations, head for Vicente Delgado's Around the Day in Eighty Worlds. Take a closer look and some magic may take place as we see extraordinary images out of the ordinary. If I were a child, I would have cried out in wonder!

Vicentre Delgado's Around the Day in Eighty Worlds.

If there is a place to stretch a child's imagination, Art Garden will be one of these. For the adult, visiting Art Garden is an interesting exercise to see the world with a different pair of eyes.

Art Garden 2013
8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535
From 17 May to 1 Sep 2013
For more information, please visit:

All Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) can now enjoy free entry all year round to the permanent galleries displaying our national collection and selected special exhibitions (including Art Garden 2013) at the National Museums and Heritage Institutions. 

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