Children's Biennale by National Gallery Singapore goes online, then on-site

Superstar, by local artist Jeremy Sharma, is one of the artworks at Gallery Children’s Biennale 2021. PHOTO: NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - This year, the Children's Biennale by National Gallery Singapore will straddle both the physical and virtual realms, starting with interactive digital artworks and activities from Saturday (May 22).

Physical art installations will be available at the museum from Sept 4.

The third edition of the biennale will have nine commissioned works designed around the concept of learning through play.

Among the international artists featured are Dinh Q Le from Vietnam; Australia-based husband-and-wife duo Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan; Nona Garcia from the Philippines; and Khvay Samnang of Cambodia.

Singaporeans and Singapore-based artists on show include Jeremy Sharma, Sandra Lee, Nandita Mukand and Speak Cryptic X ADDADDADD.

Their works touch on themes such as the notion of home, time and the environment.

The gallery's audience development and engagement director Suenne Megan Tan said at a virtual media preview that going online would give kids around the world access to the art programme.

She added that the new format is a timely coincidence for families here, given that Singapore has recently tightened measures to reduce the community spread of Covid-19.

The hybrid format also allows kids to co-create with the established international artists on the festival's microsite and contribute to their installations at the museum from September.

For example, young participants can share drawings and stories about their daily lives in A Day's Book by interdisciplinary Taiwanese artist Joyce Ho, who is known for creating artworks about everyday life and objects. At the end of each day, the completed online collective diary can be read by visitors.

"It's a 24-hour story marathon that connects people from different regions, cultures and, most importantly, time zones," said Ms Ho, 38.

The digital contributions will be transformed into physical books available for browsing as part of Ho's on-site installation.

The biennale microsite will be shared on the digital platforms of Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.

In addition, Groninger Museum will be co-organising the inaugural KinderBiennale with the gallery from next month (June) to January 2022.

Groninger Museum director Andreas Bluhm said in a statement: "The extent of imaginative and collaborative play the Gallery Children's Biennale encourages is something we found especially inspiring, so we decided to introduce it to the Netherlands."

Gallery Children's Biennale


Where: Children's Biennale website

When: Saturday (May 22) to December 2022


Where: National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew's Road

When: Sept 4 to December 2022

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