National Gallery Singapore extends free membership promotion, more public engagement as it turns five

The extension is part of the Gallery's expanded public engagement as it turns five this year.
The extension is part of the Gallery's expanded public engagement as it turns five this year.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - The National Gallery Singapore is extending its free Gallery Insider membership promotion till Jan 31, 2021. The promotion for the membership, which offers unlimited access to exhibitions and is worth up to $120, was originally scheduled to end in October. Membership is available for Singaporeans and permanent residents.

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

The Gallery's chief executive officer Chong Siak Ching said at a press conference at the Gallery on Tuesday (Nov 3): "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 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 kickstart dialogue with the public so that Singaporeans can offer feedback and suggestions about the Gallery. Details of this outreach will be release 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 next year 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 a short five years, 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."