Singapore Art Museum in Singapore
The Singapore Art Museum (SAM, ) contains the national art collection of Singapore. It has a collection of 7,750 pieces of Singaporean and Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art, and has an expanding collection of new Asian and international contemporary art.
Officially opened in 1996, it is one of the first art museums with international standard museum facilities and programmes in Southeast Asia.
The museum, then known as the Fine Arts Museum, was borne out of a project by the National Museum to set up a five-museum precinct in the city. The other four museums that make up the precinct are known as the Singapore History Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum, People's Museum and the Children's Museum. The Fine Arts Museum project began with the restoration of the former St. Joseph's Institution building. At the same time, the appointment of artist and surgeon Dr Earl Lu to head an 11-member Fine Arts Museum Board was announced on July 18, 1992, by the Minister of State (Information and the Arts and Education) Dr Ker Sin Tze. The 11-strong Board was tasked to acquire works of art by notable painters from Southeast Asia and East Asia, and by upcoming potential artists from these regions, for the benefit of the visual arts heritage of Singaporeans in centuries to come. Low Chuck Tiew, a retired banker and prominent art collector, served as museum adviser, along with Mrs Shirley Loo-Lim, Deputy Director of the National Museum of Singapore as vice-Chairman of the Board. Dr Geh Min, Dr Ho Kok Hoe, Mr Lee Seng Tee, Dr Arthur Lim, T. K. Sabapathy, Sarkasi Said, Sum Yoke Kit, Wee Chwee Heng, and Dr Yap-Whang Whee Yong formed the rest of the Museum Board.
The restoration work on the 140-year-old national monument took more than two years and a cost of S$30 million. It first opened its doors to the public as the Singapore Art Museum on October 20, 1995. Its first art installation is a S$90,000 7-m-high Swarovski crystal chandelier at the Museum main entrance, which weighs 325 kilograms and took over three months to make. The Museum was officially opened by then-Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong on January 20, 1996. In his opening speech he envisioned the new museum, along with the other four museums in the Arts and Heritage District and the Arts Centre, aiding Singapore in reprising its historic role as a centre of entrepot trade for the arts, culture, civilisation and ideas to the people in the Asian region and the rest of the world.
Location and facilities
Situated in the centre of Singapore’s major shopping district and Waterloo Street Arts Belt, SAM is located alongside Singapore’s major performing arts and visual arts institutions: such as the Nanyang Academy of Fine Art, LaSalle College of the Arts, the Stamford Arts Centre, the Selegie Arts Centre, Singapore Calligraphy Centre, YMS Arts Centre, Dance Ensemble Singapore, Sculpture Square and Action Theatre as well as the School of the Arts: an institution that offers an integrated arts and academic curriculum for youths aged 13 to 18 years of age.
SAM’s galleries feature paintings, sculptures, and installations from its permanent collection of Singapore and Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art as well as touring renowned shows like the Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Museum: Scientist, Inventor, Artist. Taking over from the functions of the National Museum Art Gallery which was opened in 1976 with 93 artworks, its collection includes works from major local artists such as Georgette Chen, Liu Kang, Chen Chong Swee, Lim Tze Peng and Huang Yao. From 2001, the museum began acquiring works and accepting donations from around the region, including from regional artists like Affandi, Hendra Gunawan, Pratuang Emjaroen, Montien Boonma, Andres Barrioquinto, Le Pho and Bui Xuan Phai.
The museum has hosted a series of travelling exhibitions since its opening, including those featuring works by Liu Kang, Leonardo Da Vinci, Chen Chong Swee, Fan Chang Tien, Lim Tze Peng and Chen Wen Hsi.
Visitors to the SAM are presented with an interactive, living centre for art, using advanced museum facilities. Community outreach is an important area of the Museum's function through the promotion of awareness and appreciation of art within the local and regional context. It encourages the growth of an active and stimulating cultural environment in Singapore. This is done not only through the Museum's exhibition programmes but also through its education and public programmes which cover a diversity of art trends and practices, fringe activities and public lectures, aimed at reaching the local community at large as well as regional and international visitors to Singapore.
SAM is accessible by major public transportation systems such as the public buses, the MRT lines and cab services. Bras Basah MRT Station, along the new Circle Line, is next to SAM.
- 8Q SAM
- National Art Gallery of Singapore
- Singapore Murals