Arts Picks

Tucked away on the 10th floor of the National Library is an astonishing collection of papers (above) - from maps and wills to prints and paintings - which offers engaging snapshots of Singapore before it became a crown colony.
Tucked away on the 10th floor of the National Library is an astonishing collection of papers (above) - from maps and wills to prints and paintings - which offers engaging snapshots of Singapore before it became a crown colony.PHOTO: CMG
The most eye-catching display is the actual 1824 Anglo-Dutch Treaty (above), an elaborately red-bound confection with golden tassels and a wax seal, which divided South-east Asia between the colonial powers of the English and the Dutch.
The most eye-catching display is the actual 1824 Anglo-Dutch Treaty (above), an elaborately red-bound confection with golden tassels and a wax seal, which divided South-east Asia between the colonial powers of the English and the Dutch.PHOTO: NATIONAL ARCHIEF

ON PAPER: SINGAPORE BEFORE 1867

Tucked away on the 10th floor of the National Library is an astonishing collection of papers - from maps and wills to prints and paintings - which offers engaging snapshots of Singapore before it became a crown colony.

The most eye-catching display is the actual 1824 Anglo-Dutch Treaty, an elaborately red-bound confection with golden tassels and a wax seal, which divided South-east Asia between the colonial powers of the English and the Dutch.

But there are many more engaging displays.

Check out the letters disputing ownership of Pearl's Hill. Captain James Pearl had bought up parcels of land and built a house there, naming it Stamford Hill in Raffles' honour. Raffles, however, ordered the land repossessed as the parcels had been bought without approval from the British administration. An outraged Pearl fired off letters to various colonial administrators, including William Farquhar. Raffles eventually returned the land to Pearl, who promptly renamed it after himself.

A section displaying the wills of unknown people is an eye-opening demonstration of the multi-cultural aspect of Singapore society in the mid-19th century as there are notes written in Jawi, Tamil and Chinese appended to English legal documents.

Look out, too, for Charles Dyce's 1846 landscape depicting the rock pillar, a landmark at Labrador which the Chinese called Longyamen (Dragon's Teeth Gate) and John Turnbull Thomson's painting of an 1850 view of Pulau Ubin's rock formations.

Budget at least 1-1/2 hours to explore this show, which has more than 150 artefacts on display.

WHERE: National Library Building, 100 Victoria Street WHEN:Till March 22, 2020 MRT: Bugis ADMISSION: Free INFO: str.sg/J3uG


458.32 SQUARE METRES


PHOTO: KANCHANA GUPTA

India-born and Singapore-based artist Kanchana Gupta (above) is holding her first solo show at Sullivan+Strumpf.

458.32 Square Metres features new sculptures which are minimalist in form, but complex in textures as she has experimented with layering and compressing materials to create each piece. Her work is influenced by her encounters with Singapore's dense urban environment.

WHERE: Sullivan+Strumpf, 01-06, Block 5 Lock Road MRT: Labrador Park WHEN: Till Nov 10, 11am to 7pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 11am to 6pm (Sundays), closed on Mondays and public holidays ADMISSION: Free INFO: str.sg/J3ud


DON PASQUALE


PHOTO: KAOHSIUNG SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Nothing like a bit of Singlish to make opera accessible. At least that is what vocal arts group The Arts Place is hoping. This semi-staged production of Gaetano Donizetti's comic bel canto classic has a new script by Singaporean scriptwriter Jasmine Teo.

Old Don Pasquale (played by Ming-Mou Hsieh, above) has decided to marry to get an heir, as his nephew Ernesto has refused to marry Pasquale's choice of mate. Pasquale's doctor decides to teach him a lesson. Comedy ensues.

WHERE: Victoria Concert Hall, 9 Empress Place MRT: Raffles Place WHEN: Tomorrow, 7.30pm; Sunday, 4.30pm ADMISSION: $32 to $88 INFO: www.theartsplc.com


NIGHT AT THE LIBRARY


PHOTO: NATIONAL LIBRARY

The library is hoping to scare you into reading. Borrow four books or e-books this month and you can gain entry to its after-hours tours on Oct 25 and 26. Each 45-minute tour will offer poetry readings as well as stories about hantu and hauntings. There will also be free screenings - such as film-maker Lee Thean-jeen's Bring Back The Dead (2015) on Oct 25 and Thai film Pee Mak (2013) on Oct 26 - at the Plaza atrium.

WHERE: National Library Building, 100 Victoria Street MRT: Bugis/City Hall WHEN: Oct 25 and 26, 7.30pm to 12.30am ADMISSION: Free with loan receipts showing four book loans INFO: str.sg/J3u7

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2019, with the headline 'Arts Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe