Hour At The Museum: Geo|Graphic: Celebrating Maps And Their Stories

The National Library Board has curated a comprehensive exhibition of maps to showcase how Singapore and South-east Asia have evolved. The maps displayed at Geo|Graphic: Celebrating Maps And Their Stories are on loan from the National Archives and overseas collections. The board also commissioned local contemporary artists to create artworks loosely based on the theme of maps.


Bibliotopia (2015)

By Michael Lee, laser sandblasting on perspex with LED, 122x244cm in three mind maps

Architecture enthusiast and artist Michael Lee deconstructs the works of local authors Catherine Lim, Russell Lee and Rex Shelley into mind maps, charting the repetition and occurrence of certain terms and themes in each author's bibliography.

Outliers (2015)

By Jeremy Sharma, high-density polystyrene foam, 30.5x30.5x230cm in four sculptural blocks

Sharma has transmuted 2-D readings of the electromagnetic-pulse signals from dying stars into a 3-D graph etched into white foam blocks. The arcs carved into the blocks resemble mountains and valleys.

...The Seas Will Sing And The Winds Will Carry Us... (Fables Of Nusantara) (2015)

By Sherman Ong, multimedia video installation, various dimensions

Ong's videos are filmed in a documentary-style interview format, using stories to represent the modern mythology of South-east Asia and paralleled with ancient myths and maps pasted on windows.

Bugis Chart (19th Century) Collection

Of the Utrecht University Library, parchment

This rare nautical map was a pirate's map of the region drawn by a South-east Asian. Many maps of South-east Asia drawn by Europeans were based on indigenous maps such as this one.

Sea State 8: Seabook (2015)

By Charles Lim, mixed media installation, various dimensions

Lim, a former national sailor, curates an archive of books, courtesy of the National Library Board, relating to Singapore's maritime history. Alongside it, he has created a video installation of Singaporean seamen talking about their time on the sea, and a 3-D model of Singapore's seabed.

British Invasion Maps (1942)

Courtesy of the National Archives UK

These war maps show how the British mistakenly assumed the Japanese forces were spread out and, in response, thinned their ranks to counter the invasion. The fatal error cost them their morale and, eventually, Singapore.

Topographic Map Of Singapore (1947)

Patricia Margaret Browne, courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore

A rare map of Singapore by Indian military surveyors following the British return to Singapore after the surrender of the Japanese in 1945. Particularly significant are the yellow portions denoting farmland, to prepare for the return of the British to rehabilitate Singapore and produce more food locally after the food shortages during the Japanese Occupation.

Complete Map Of The Comprehensive Great Qing Empire (1818)

Collection of the British Library, Woodblock

This map of the world through the eyes of a Chinese cartographer shows China as a literal Middle Kingdom, occupying at least 80 per cent of the map. Russian translations line the edges, making viewers wonder how many spies' hands this map has passed through.

WHERE: National Library Building, 100 Victoria Street MRT: Bras Basah/Bugis WHEN: Till Sun, 7am - 11.30pm daily INFO: www.nlb.gov.sg/exhibitions/?p=77

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2015, with the headline 'Hour At The Museum'. Print Edition | Subscribe