National Gallery Singapore shows off art collected since 1960

An exhibition charts the growth of Singapore's national art collection from 1960 to today - from a modest 110 artworks to about 10,000 pieces now

Thai artist Navin Rawanchaikul's Asking For Nothingness comprises 11,000 old medicine bottles - half filled with black-and-white photographs of elderly villagers.
Thai artist Navin Rawanchaikul's Asking For Nothingness comprises 11,000 old medicine bottles - half filled with black-and-white photographs of elderly villagers.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

The first thing visitors see upon entering National Gallery Singapore's latest exhibition is a small red painting, 31 by 21cm, a portrait of the artist as a young man staring intensely straight at the viewer.

The self-portrait from the 1950s by Malaysian batik artist Chuah Thean Teng was the very first artwork to be registered in Singapore's National Collection of visual art.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 08, 2018, with the headline 'The making of the national art collection'. Print Edition | Subscribe