By The Nation
NATIONAL GALLERY Singapore will kick off the second edition of its Children’s Biennale with 11 interactive and multi-dimensional artworks by 13 Singapore and Southeast Asian artists this Saturday and there’s plenty for the youngsters to enjoy.
Running until December 29 and expanding on the theme “Embracing Wonder”, this edition will go beyond imaginative play to unfold new layers of discovery. The works are designed to activate young senses and reignite their sense of curiosity, excitement and wonder.
The installation “Big Hug” by husbandwife duo, Milenko and Delia Prvacki includes more than 30 interactive and educational activities./ courtesy of National Gallery Singapore
“The Gallery strongly believes that art plays a huge role in the development of our future generations. Art is a place for children to learn about themselves, trust their ideas and explore what is possible, all of which are important in enabling youngsters to become confident, independent thinkers. We are always looking at innovative ways to engage with young learners to nurture an early interest in art by showcasing how it can be fun, inspirational and educational,” says Suenne Megan Tan, director of the gallery’s Audience Development & Engagement department.
Visitors will enter the world of possibilities with “Big Hug” by husband-wife duo, Milenko & Delia Prvacki, whose installation embodies the notion of “embrace” in all its different dimensions. Like a book of wonders, the artwork includes more than 30 interactive and educational activities in four main spaces – Discover the World, Friendship Room, Family Room and Self Room, that stimulate imagination and enable discovery of oneself and the world around us. Visitors can look up the starry night or peer through a telescope to discover the universe.
“Kenangan KunangKunang” (“Memories of Fireflies”) by Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho depicts scenes from everyday Javanese life.
For “Stardust: Soaring Through the Sky’s Embrace”, visitors cross a 16-metre bridge and peer down into what looks like an endless rock formation that glimmers and glows as they encounter a galaxy of cosmic elements. This will be the third iteration of this bridge installation by Mark Justiniani since its launch in 2017 – and he has since been invited to participate in the Venice Biennale this year.
“The Other Wall” by Burmese artists Nge Lay and Aung Ko provides a glimpse into a typical Burmese childhood.
Singaporean artists, Hazel Lim-Schlegel and Andreas Schlegel continue the sensory adventure in “The Oort Cloud and the Blue Mountain”, engaging visitors through a 3D motion-activated wall-relief artwork with LED lights, sounds, handmade objects and sensors that are inspired by landscapes and objects from the cosmos.
In “Every World”, Donna Ong leads visitors to five magical landscapes – comprising English and Tropical gardens, as well as worlds of the cactus, mushroom, underwater, and the underground. Individually put together using hundreds of paper cut-outs in five frosted domes, visitors can enter each intricate world to experience the magic.
“Chance Operations” by Singapore artist SongMing Ang invites visitors to create unexpected sounds.
The Biennale also introduces visitors to other cultures. Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho’s “Kenangan Kunang-Kunang” (“Memories of Fireflies”) centres on six damar kurung, traditional paper lanterns that depict scenes from everyday Javanese life to illustrate important values such as respect, peace, equality, collaboration, love and care. Visitors are invited to explore the lanterns by engaging in different interactive actions that transform the room with light, shadows, colours and shapes.
In “The Other Wall”, artists Nge Lay and Aung Ko provide a rare glimpse into a typical Myanmar childhood. In Myanmar culture, gold is of huge significance and is associated with qualities such as knowledge and enlightenment. Young visitors are invited to enter two traditional Myanmar homes, painted in gold, where they are introduced to a selection of the country’s folktales presented as hand-carved woodcuts, and narrated voiceovers (in English and Burmese).
Singapore writer Lorraine Tan and illustrator, Eric Wong, will bring their book “Karung Guni Boy” to life with “The Story of Karung Guni Boy”.
Finally, the kids can see art in a different light as some of them take on a new lease of life. A new work titled “Chance Operations” by Song-Ming Ang, who is Singapore’s representative at the 2019 Venice Biennale, will inspire visitors to create unexpected sounds with a colourful formation of wind chimes and ping pong balls. Meanwhile, Singapore writer Lorraine Tan and illustrator Eric Wong will bring their book, “Karung Guni Boy” to life with “The Story of Karung Guni Boy”, where young visitors put on their “tinkering caps” to create new inventions out of recycled materials.
Staying true to its mantra of “Children first, parents second!”, the Keppel Centre for Art Education will also see three reimagined spaces to introduce children to art at an early age and spark new ways of learning. One in particular is “Dayung Sampan - be your own captain on deck” by Singaporean sculptor, Zainudin Samsuri at the Project Gallery. Inspired by Malay proverbs, visitors can come on board and interact with sculptures such as large propellers, a giant foot resembling a sampan, and a birdcage with a view of limitless imagination. This will be complemented by the revamped Children’s Museum, which hosts a Sculpture Studio and an interactive digital game where visitors can create and exhibit a “virtual” sculpture.
In conjunction with the Gallery Children’s Biennale, there will be a series of films presented in collaboration with Singapore International Children’s Film Festival, alongside other tours and artist-led workshops.
Find out more at www.ChildrensBiennale.com.