Singaporean Female Artist Extraordinaire & more as National Gallery Turns 5

Georgette Chen, featured alongside other art at National Gallery Turns 5
Source: National Gallery

The works of Georgette Chen come to life this November at the National Gallery Singapore, making it the first major museum retrospective of the artist in more than 20 years.

The exhibit is part of a lineup of programmes to commemorate the 5th anniversary of National Gallery Singapore, while also extending the positive impact of art during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Rediscover Georgette Chen at the National Gallery

Georgette Chen: At Home in the World will feature the story of Georgette Chen, whose exceptional life experiences as a professional female artist living and working abroad have shaped her practice and left a lasting legacy in the development of visual arts in Singapore. 

The exhibition will feature her most significant works alongside a wealth of newly discovered archival material and bring to light little-known aspects of her extraordinary life beyond her artistic practice. For instance, Georgette Chen had a close relationship with the Malay artistic community through Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya, a non-profit arts group in Singapore. She also shaped the future of Singapore as a grant administrator for the Lee Foundation

Further enhancing the exhibit, National Gallery Singapore will be launching multilingual audio tours in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil, providing all visitors an equal learning opportunity during the exhibit.

National Gallery Singapore plans to make art more accessible and relevant to all

In conjunction with Georgette Chen’s exhibit, National Gallery Singapore has also prepared a Food X Art Podcast, A Story of Food, Art and Singapore. Aptly titled, the light-hearted podcast takes food-loving audiences on a unique journey, as it weaves an intriguing narrative that explores the history of art in Singapore through food, local poetry and works in the National Collection. The podcast is hosted by writer Shamini Flint, who is best known for her crime fiction novel series – Inspector Singh Investigates, as it further features local poets like Ng Yi Sheng, Alvin Pang, Gwee Li Sui and Joshua Ip.

In spite of the unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the unfortunate cancellation of Matisse & Picasso: Friends, Rivals exhibit, the National Gallery Singapore seeks to overcome these challenges by sharpening their focus on our local community.

One such initiative is Art Through Your Eyes, where everyday Singaporeans have been are invited to pen their personal interpretations of artworks in the Gallery. From 3 November, many works at the Gallery will feature additional labels that offer fresh perspectives from people of all walks of life.

Another initiative, Words That Count: 5th Anniversary Edition, will allow anyone to build on the works of local prominent writers, Pooja Nansi and Gwee Li Sui. Attendees can turn the work of these writers into personal expressions of support and encouragement for healthcare workers and the wider community.

You can create and leave your messages of support online at www.galleryturns5.sg, or in person at the National Gallery Singapore’s Level 1 City Hall Foyer.

National Gallery Singapore encourages the public to leave creative notes of encouragement to healthcare workers via Words That Count.
Source: National Gallery Singapore

You can also support National Gallery Singapore by adopting your favourite artworks. With a starting contribution of $50, you can become a recognised artwork adopter through their “Adopt Now” programme on the Gallery Explorer app.

Anyone can now contribute to the Gallery’s fundraising effort in expanding its collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian art for future generations.

There’s more to come from the National Gallery in 2021! Here’s the lowdown:

Come May 2021, Something New Must Turn Up: Six Singaporean Artists after Merdeka will offer a capacious view of Singapore’s art in the mid-to-late 20th century. It will do this by spotlighting the work of six artists – Chng Seok Tin, Goh Beng Kwan, Jaafar Latiff, Lin Hsin Hsin, Mohammad Din Mohammad, and Eng Tow – who represent the diversity of artistic practice in Singapore from that period. 

The crowd-favourite Light to Night festival and beloved Children’s Biennale will also be returning in 2021 and more information about these exhibits and festivals will be available at a later date.

Georgette Chen: At Home in the World will be available to the public from 27 November 2020 till 26 September 2021.

For full details of National Gallery Singapore’s 5th Anniversary programmes, check out www.nationalgallery.sg.


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Author: Desiree Goh

Desiree is a fan of anything that promises a good story with interesting characters and set in a world more interesting than this one. Alternatively, she can be found crusading Tumblr with an arsenal of GIFs.

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