Shark show with bite

The museum is showing 33 artworks on the theme of sharks.
The museum is showing 33 artworks on the theme of sharks.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

A private museum's free exhibition explores issues such as shark finning and the survival of the marine creatures

Parkview Square on North Bridge Road is often known as Gotham building because of its resemblance to Gotham City in the Batman movies.

Now, visitors to the building can check out more than just its Art Deco architecture.

A private contemporary art museum opens today at the 24-storey building, with a free exhibition titled On Sharks & Humanity.

It explores the impact of shark finning and the importance of the continued survival of sharks. The exhibition runs till Sept 9.

On show are 33 artworks, including three by Singapore artists Robert Zhao Renhui, David Chan and film-maker Royston Tan. The rest are commissioned works, mainly by Chinese artists. Four of the artworks are displayed in the building's courtyard.

The museum, called Parkview Museum Singapore, occupies 1,400 sq m on the third floor and boasts 6m-high ceilings.

  • VIEW IT / ON SHARKS & HUMANITY

    WHERE: Courtyard and Level 3, Parkview Museum, Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Road

    WHEN: Till Sept 9, 11am to 7pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays) , closed on Mondays

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: www.parkviewmuseum.com

It is run by the family-owned Parkview Group, which is headquartered in Hong Kong and also owns the building.

The museum's opening coincides with other redevelopment works in the building, which includes a revamp of its lobby space as well as changes in its lighting, greenery and public art outside the building.

A new cocktail bar and restaurant, Atlas, has also just opened.

Parkview Square, which houses mainly offices, was built in 2002 by the late developer CS Hwang of Hong Kong-based Chyau Fwu property group.

His eldest child, Mr George Wong, is the driving force behind the museum. He is the limited executive chairman of Hong Kong Parkview Group, a company which has roots in Chyau Fwu.

Mr Wong is also the founder of Parkview Arts Action, an outreach arm of the company which helps to raise awareness of environmental issues through art.

Mr Wong, who is based in Hong Kong and is in Singapore for the museum's launch, says: "This is not about putting up a show. As a property developer, protecting the planet is my obligation. I thought that protecting animals is a good starting point."

This is Parkview Group's second museum. It opened Parkview Green Museum in 2012 within its mixed-used development in Beijing.

Both museums will put on solo and thematic shows, featuring artworks primarily from the company's extensive collection.

All exhibitions in the Singapore museum are free and will run for about three months each.

The museum's calendar has been planned till 2019. The next exhibition, The Artists Voice, will showcase works by a diverse group of contemporary artists.

The museum also plans to organise exhibition-related programmes and educational activities.

For the current exhibition, Singapore is the fourth stop. Since 2014, it has been shown in Monaco and Moscow and, most recently, in Beijing's National Museum of China in 2015.

Highlights of the exhibits include a massive installation of stainless steel buoys by Chinese artist Wang Luyan and an unflinching series of photographs depicting the catching and trading of shark's fin by American-Chinese artist Mark Leong.

Each edition of the exhibition also features works by artists from the host country.

Curator Huang Du says working with Singapore artists helps the museum "build a relationship" with local artists and "get acquainted with local culture".

The works of the three Singapore artists were chosen for their relevance to the theme.

For example, Tan's three-minute short film, Fish Love, suggests that humans can live in harmony with the ocean.

The exhibition is supported by international non-governmental organisation WildAid, which supplied data for it. About 100 million sharks are killed a year, 70 per cent of which are harvested for their fins for the Asian market, including Singapore.

Mr Wong hopes the show will urge more people here to stop eating shark's fin, which he did six years ago.

"It was easy. Try eating noodles," he says with a laugh.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2017, with the headline 'Shark show with bite'. Print Edition | Subscribe