DBS Bank donates $25 million to National Gallery Singapore

The Old Supreme Court Dome (left) being renovated, with the new supreme court in the background (right). The Old Supreme Court, along with City Hall, will become the National Art Gallery in 2015. -- ST FILE PHOTO: TED CHEN
The Old Supreme Court Dome (left) being renovated, with the new supreme court in the background (right). The Old Supreme Court, along with City Hall, will become the National Art Gallery in 2015. -- ST FILE PHOTO: TED CHEN

In the largest single cash donation by a corporate body to an arts institution, DBS Bank has donated $25 million to the National Gallery Singapore.

In return, the museum of Singapore and South-east Asian art will name one of its key gallery spaces the DBS Singapore Gallery.

Slated to open in November 2015, the National Gallery also announced its name change at a brand launch event held on Wednesday evening at the Singapore Cricket Club. It was previously known as The National Art Gallery of Singapore.

On the name change, gallery director Dr Eugene Tan told The Straits Times: "We want to be known simply as the National Gallery. Gallery itself implies the word art."

He added that since the announcement in 2006 that the City Hall and the former Supreme Court would be refurbished and converted into an art museum, the National Art Gallery had been used only as a working title.

The gallery also unveiled its new logo at the event graced by Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth.

This is not the first time DBS has donated to the Gallery.

Last year, the bank donated 26 artworks by Singapore's leading artists to the Gallery. These includes works in various media by prominent Singapore artists such as Cheong Soo Pieng, Anthony Poon, Ong Kim Seng and Thomas Yeo. The pieces were specially selected from the bank's corporate art collection, which was started in 1968 when the bank was founded.

The Gallery's chief executive Ms Chong Siak Ching, called the latest donation "extremely generous" and said they "were absolutely delighted and very privileged" to have received it.

She called it "not just a gift to the arts but a gift to the nation. With more individuals and corporates coming forth to support the arts, it shows art matters".

deepikas@sph.com.sg