National Gallery's new festival features playful art installations, film screenings and music performances

Affinity, an interactive sculpture that responds to touch, is part of the Gallery Light To Night Festival.
Affinity, an interactive sculpture that responds to touch, is part of the Gallery Light To Night Festival.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

A yarn-covered painting by pioneer artist Liu Kang, live music and DJ performances from day to night and a giant light facade installation are some things to look forward to at a new festival at the National Gallery Singapore.

The Gallery Light To Night Festival, which runs from today to Dec 4, is organised by the gallery to celebrate its first anniversary. It is planned to run annually.

Since opening its doors last November, the museum has welcomed more than 1.5 million visitors.

Ms Suenne Megan Tan, the museum's director for audience development and engagement, says: "It has been an eventful first year. We have been encouraged by the tremendous support we have been receiving. This festival is a gift to celebrate with the gallery's different communities."

Many of the festival's 10 art installations, located all around the museum, are interactive and inspired by or linked to the museum's collections.

Ms Tan says: "We didn't want the artists to purely reproduce the museum's artworks. Many of them gave their own interesting takes on the works, some with tongue-in- cheek humour."


    WHEN: Today till Dec 4. 10am to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, 10am to 7pm on Sundays to Thursdays

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

    ADMISSION: The festival's programmes are free. Visitors get free admission to the museum's exhibitions until Sunday and on Dec 2 to 4


A 5m-tall installation made of recycled cardboard, Pagoda Robot, is one such work.

It is a reinterpretation of Malaysian artist Latiff Mohidin's vibrant oil painting, Pagodas II, designed by Rotterdam-based design initiative Collective Paper Aesthetics.

The work is produced by Singapore-based 3D paper structure designers Paper Carpenter.

The head of the giant robot echoes the design of the pagoda and its eyes echo a design element of the original painting.

A rendering of Artist And Model, an iconic artwork by pioneer artist Liu Kang, has also been "yarnbombed", or covered with layers of colourful knitted and crocheted yarn by Singapore group Yarn Bombing Singapore.

The installation is located at the Padang Atrium on the first level of the museum, where visitors can learn to create their own 3D objects with yarn.

Festival highlights include a 114m by 24m facade light show at the City Hall wing of the museum, taking place today, tomorrow and on Dec 2 and 3.

The show, created by Australian creative studio Spinifex Group, features animated visuals of giant paintbrushes and paint tubes, as well as images inspired by works that can be found in the museum.

There will also be a special outdoor screening of local director Royston Tan's Pulau Ubin-themed film, Homecoming, tomorrow at the Padang, among other film screenings throughout the festival.

Home-grown artists Nathan Hartono and Charlie Lim are headlining the festival's music line-up.

On Fridays and Saturdays, programmes run till 3am and St Andrew's Road in front of the museum and parts of Parliament Place, Anderson Bridge and Connaught Drive will be closed.

Visitors get free admission to the museum's exhibitions until Sunday and on Dec 2 to 4. They can also join special free tours from 9 to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays during the festival.

The family-friendly festival includes screenings of films for kids located within Balloon Forest, a forest-themed installation made of balloons; and a festival food street on St Andrew's Road, which will be held from 5 to 11.30pm today and tomorrow, and on Dec 2 and 3.

Ms Tan says the Gallery Light To Night Festival is the "first day-to- night festival of its kind".

She adds: "It has a nice outdoor component, but there are also different installations and programmes offered in the different areas in the museum, which spans 60,000 sq m over five storeys.

"It's almost like a vertical festival."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2016, with the headline 'Party till 3am at National Gallery Singapore'. Subscribe