SINGAPORE | The National Gallery Singapore, a Visit to the Museum and More | Lakad Pilipinas

National Gallery Singapore Facade

“What’s the plan?” I asked C as we broke our fast on a creamy laksa noodle at a hawker stall near our lodging, the Beary Best! Hostel. “Well, we’ll meet with R and see where he takes us.” It’s inevitable that you meet friends on trips abroad. Filipinos are just everywhere.

National Gallery Singapore Facade
THE NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE

After a train ride, meet ups with R and C, a Burmese lunch, and some chit chat, the plan emerged. Unlike the previous day of checking out free attractions around Singapore, the plan today was somewhat more sophisticated. Like museum sophisticated. And we’re not visiting just any museum, we’d be heading over to the National Gallery Singapore to check out artworks all the way from our very own Juan Luna to international masters like Pablo Picasso.

National Gallery Singapore Interior
APPARENTLY, TODAY IS MUSEUM DAY

We’re really not into museums, but with R around, you just know you’re gonna enjoy viewing artwork after artwork. He’s quite the brain when it comes to art, especially the juicy bits about the life of the hands that painted them.

From our lunch place, we walked towards Singapore’s Civic District where the gallery is located.

National Gallery Singapore Interior
THE SUPREME COURT’S OLD ROTUNDA DOME ENCLOSED BY THE NEW MUSEUM

The National Gallery Singapore is actually housed in two heritage buildings, the former Supreme Court Building, which was formerly the Grand Hotel de l'Europe, and the Old Municipal Building. Both of these are declared National Monuments, and somehow, the museum’s designer was able to merge these two using the street in between as a covered atrium. The atrium’s design is very clever, with a massive single column branching out like steel tree holding its lightweight roof.

National Gallery Singapore Atrium
THE PADANG ATRIUM SUPPORTED BY A STEEL TREE

There’s actually no entrance fee to the Padang Atrium, as they dub it, and visitors can actually watch musicians perform on a landing right by the wide stairwell that goes down to the basement level. There is also a free hour-long guided tour around the two buildings, showcasing old parts of the structures that were used as courthouse and city hall. The tour goes as far as the prison cells at the lower part of the Supreme Court Building! Pretty cool.

National Gallery Singapore Prison Cell
OLD JAIL CELLS AT THE SUPREME COURT BUILDING

Erected in 2015, the museum is fairly new. It boasts of over 8,000 artworks from Singapore and South East Asia. It is the largest of its kind in the country. Besides Asian art, it also showcases works from other parts of the globe on its temporary exhibits. During our time, they were displaying pieces from Matisse and Picasso!

National Gallery Singapore Matisse
INTERIOR IN YELLOW AND BLUE BY HENRI MATISSE

National Gallery Singapore Picasso
THE CAT AND THE ROOSTER BY PABLO PICASSO

Entrance to the exhibition halls are not free, however, and they’re quite pricey! We were actually deciding if we’d pay for the General Admission ticket (SGD20.00) or purchase the All-Access tickets (SGD30.00), which would let us view the Matisse and Picasso paintings [BOOK YOUR TICKETS ONLINE]. We gave in, buying both. It’s not everyday that you get to see an authentic Picasso painting right before your very eyes.

National Gallery Singapore Juan Luna
ESPANA Y FILIPINAS BY JUAN LUNA

The galleries for Singaporean and South East Asian art proved to be more interesting of the two. We lingered quite a bit on the area where works of Hidalgo, Amorsolo and Luna were hanged. That big-ass Espana y Filipinas Luna painting alone was worth the admission.

National Gallery Singapore Roof Cafe
SMOKE AND MIRRORS BAR AT THE CITY HALL ROOF TOP

National Gallery Singapore Roof Cafe View
THE VIEW FROM THE BAR

Weaving in and out of the galleries, it took us hours to see all the works inside the halls. We were exhausted by the time we reached the upper floors. We went straight to the bar at the roof top where a few of my friends ordered some cocktails. It was, of course, expensive, so I simply enjoyed a somewhat different view of the Marina Bay and the nearby areas at the deck.

National Gallery Singapore Interior
SUPREME COURT SIDE INTERIORS

It was almost sundown as we exited the museum. And we were not done yet.

R led us to a few sites where our National Hero, Rizal, actually went to during his visit to Singapore in 1882. These are actually documented on his Calamba to Barcelona diary, but he never actually named these places. Our friend, the avid Rizal aficionado, actually scoured Singapore to find these places.

Arts House Old Parliament Singapore
THAT BLACK ELEPHANT

Anderson Bridge Singapore
THE ANDERSON BRIDGE LEADING TO FULLERTON

Sculpture Singapore River
SCULPTURE OF KIDS JUMPING FOR COINS

From a gothic protestant cathedral, a handsome white building with a metal elephant standing on a pedestal, sculptures of kids diving for coins in the river, and finally a hanging bridge where Rizal crossed and saw Singapura’s version of Manila’s Avenida. It was definitely a mind-blowing impromptu Rizal tour of Singapore, however brief.

Marina Bay Singapore
THE MARINA BAY SHINES

We then wended our way to the Marina Bay, sat on stools facing its waters and bought bottles of ice cold Tiger Beers. We watched as the sky lit up, engulfing the three towers of Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands building. The embers reflected on the calm waters of the bay, the tugboats, slicing through it in smooth strokes. I sipped my beer. It was a grand way as any to cap off our summer trip around South East Asia.

 

 

National Gallery Singapore
Address: 1 Saint Andrew's Road, Civic District, Singapore
Contact Number: (+65) 6271-7000
Email: info@nationalgallery.sg
Open Hours: 10:00AM to 7:00PM Daily Except Fri-Sat 10PM
GPS Coordinates Map: 1.289977, 103.851310
►► BOOK TICKETS ONLINE






Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Friday, June 16, 2017

0 comments

Post a Comment