I only had limited opportunity to sketch while I was in Singapore in May. Travelling with non-drawers meant that sketching was more of a challenge.
We did make it to the National Gallery of Singapore which is interesting not only for the art it contains, but also for its new architectural structure that joins and transforms two historic buildings, the former Supreme Court and City Hall.
The joy for me is finding artists whose work I haven’t seen before. I’m a bit of a modernist so it’s no big surprise that Dora Gordine’s sculptures caught my eye. Because the gallery had quite a number of Gordine’s sculptures I assumed there must be a strong link to Singapore. However I haven’t been able to find a link other than that she was commissioned to make sculptures for the Singapore City Hall in 1935. Gordine worked mainly in London. The work below was made in 1949.
Serene Jade, Dora Gordine, 1949, Bronze
I can’t leave the NGS without mentioning the paintings of Georgette Chen. This striking self portrait was but one of her works in the collection.
Self Portrait, Georgette Chen
Not all the artwork in the city is in the galleries. I saw several statues by the sculptor Fernando Botero, whose work often exaggerates it’s subject, in this case a bird.
Fernando Botero’s The Bird, (view from the rear)
At the Museum of Asian Civilizations I saw the exhibition Joseon Korea, which was full of engaging and colourful works. This wooden sculpture was in the section on religious practice.
Boy Attendant, 19th or 20th century, painted wood, National Museum of Korea
The Empress Place building (1867), which houses the main part of the museum, was originally government offices. Now it houses a range of historic exhibitions which I only managed to fly around quickly in the time I had. However I did manage a sketch of this contemporary work by Eng Tow inspired by grains of rice. The grains are several metres in length and were hung suspended in the gallery space.
‘Grains of Thought, Eng Tow, 2015, acrylic paint on carbon fibre forms
One last sketch from the waterfront with a storm passing in the background.
Singapore skyline, ArtScience Museum (left) and Marina Bay Sands hotel (right)