The 19th century building that once housed a Catholic school along Bras Basah Road is now the home of the Singapore Art Museum (SAM). But within the colonial façade of the SAM lies a wide-ranging collection of contemporary and pop art pieces from Singapore and Southeast Asia.
A great diversity of art forms is evident in the museum, from traditional paintings and sculptures to installation art and moving-media. The majority of the exhibitions at the SAM are temporary exhibits showcasing the work of various Singaporean and Asian artists for several months at a time.
The current temporary exhibits include works by the Chinese painter Jia Aili and another called Panorama: Recent Art from Contemporary Asia.
The only permanent exhibit in the SAM at the moment is entitled the Learning Gallery, which aims to present artwork that promotes the engagement with and discussion of broader social issues through contemporary art.
Unlike many art museums, the SAM doesn’t give the feeling of being cluttered with as many art pieces as the curatorial team could manage to squeeze into the museum. There is considerable space between and within exhibitions for visitors to savour each piece of art without experiencing a sensory overload.
Even for those with only a cursory interest in the visual arts, a trip to the SAM still promises to be enjoyable because the museum ensures that its exhibits are accessible to the wider public, rather than just those with artistic training. As a result, the SAM may not have artworks that possess the ‘star power’ like that of the Mona Lisa or the Last Supper, but the holistic impact of the art within the museum is certainly worth experiencing.
The SAM is easily accessible by public transport. The nearest MRT station is Bras Basah along the Circle (orange) line. It is located within walking distance of the scenic Fort Canning Hill and several other prominent museums, such as the National Museum of Singapore and the Peranakan Museum. The admission fee is $10 for adults and $5 for concession entry.
More information is available at the SAM website here: http://www.singaporeartmuseum.sg/.