National Gallery extends free membership promo

It is also rolling out a retrospective show dedicated to pioneering Nanyang artist Georgette Chen on Nov 27

Lotus In A Breeze (left) by Georgette Chen (above) is in the collection of the National Gallery Singapore. The upcoming exhibition, Georgette Chen: At Home In The World, will highlight little-known aspects of the celebrated artist, such as her ties w
Lotus In A Breeze (above) by Georgette Chen is in the collection of the National Gallery Singapore. The upcoming exhibition, Georgette Chen: At Home In The World, will highlight little-known aspects of the celebrated artist, such as her ties with the Malay artistic community.PHOTOS: NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE, ESTATE OF GEORGETTE CHEN
Lotus In A Breeze (left) by Georgette Chen (above) is in the collection of the National Gallery Singapore. The upcoming exhibition, Georgette Chen: At Home In The World, will highlight little-known aspects of the celebrated artist, such as her ties w
Lotus In A Breeze by Georgette Chen (above) is in the collection of the National Gallery Singapore. The upcoming exhibition, Georgette Chen: At Home In The World, will highlight little-known aspects of the celebrated artist, such as her ties with the Malay artistic community.PHOTOS: NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE, ESTATE OF GEORGETTE CHEN

The National Gallery Singapore is extending its free Gallery Insider membership promotion till Jan 31.

The promotion for the membership, which offers unlimited access to exhibitions and is worth up to $120, was originally scheduled to end last month. Membership is available to Singaporeans and permanent residents.

The extension is part of the Gallery's expanded public engagement as it turns five this year.

The National Gallery's chief executive officer Chong Siak Ching said at a press conference on Tuesday: "As we commemorate our fifth anniversary during these challenging and unprecedented times, we want to extend the positive impact of art to the diverse communities within our society and let art be a source of relief, comfort and inspiration to the nation, as we overcome this crisis together."

The pandemic has forced the Gallery to cancel an anticipated blockbuster, Picasso & Matisse, scheduled in May. But it has also sharpened the Gallery's focus on Singapore and its role here.

As the National Gallery's chairman Hsieh Fu Hua noted in a video message: "The importance of the Gallery is really about how we worm ourselves into the heart of the people of Singapore."

There will be a new initiative to kick-start dialogue with the public so that Singaporeans can offer feedback and suggestions about the Gallery. Details of this outreach will be released later this year.

A new Adopt Now crowdfunding drive hopes to encourage more Singaporeans to give to the arts. Donors can use the Gallery Explorer app to adopt a work of art from as little as $50.

Two upcoming exhibitions will also highlight Singaporean artists. Opening on Nov 27 is the first retrospective show dedicated to pioneering Nanyang artist Georgette Chen in 20 years.

Georgette Chen: At Home In The World will highlight little-known aspects of the celebrated artist, such as her ties with the Malay artistic community through the Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (Association of Artists of Various Resources, Apad).

Opening in May is Something New Must Turn Up: Six Singaporean Artists After Merdeka, which will showcase the works of Chng Seok Tin, Goh Beng Kwan, Jaafar Latiff, Lin Hsin Hsin, Mohammad Din Mohammad and Eng Tow.

In its short lifespan, Ms Chong said the Gallery had made an impression globally by co-presenting shows such at Latiff Mohidin: Pago Pago at the Centre Pompidou and winning accolades such as the 2018 Children in Museums Award organised by the European Museum Academy and Hands On! International Association of Children in Museums.

Five years, she noted, is "a very short time in the life of a museum" in a scene where some institutions date back 50, even 300 years: "So, there is much for us to do, to learn and to improve."

The museum is committed to the role that art can play in society, she said: "Therefore, as we plan our way forward, we want to renew our commitment to share the value of art with as many people as possible, and make art accessible to everyone."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2020, with the headline 'National Gallery extends free membership promo'. Print Edition | Subscribe