Wednesday, January 18, 2017

National Gallery Singapore - January 9, 2017

Above: Portrait of Lim Loh by Chinese painter Xu BeiHong (1927)

I visited the National Gallery Singapore on a recent visit to Singapore during my term break, and my mind was blown away. I had to write a post about this place. The Gallery, which opened its doors to the public on November 24, 2015, is housed in two prominent national monuments, Singapore's former Supreme Court and City Hall, which are both attractions in and of themselves.

I was impressed and proud of the extensive collection of Asian artwork that is being showcased in the Gallery. With an emphasis on Singapore and Southeast Asia history and culture, the ceramics and artworks featured in the Gallery are distinct from the western religious and medieval artworks that dominate the western museums and galleries that I had visited in past travels. It was both refreshing and captivating to see such unique Asian body of work that I could personally relate to, such as the kampung surroundings, the simple everyday life and tools of the ethnic people, and the traditional attires of the people in the region. I felt at home in this space as I could identify with these aesthetics.

Admission is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) to the Gallery's permanent exhibit. To see both the permanent and special exhibits, the ticket is S$15 per Singaporean/PR. Non-Singaporeans pay a standard general admission fee of S$20 to visit the Gallery's permanent exhibit or S$30 to see both the permanent and special exhibits. There are concessions (discounts) for overseas students and teachers. The Gallery is conveniently located in front of the Padang, a mere 5-10 minute walk from the City Hall MRT station. Highly recommended!

The Gallery -
Housed in the beautifully restored and transformed former Supreme Court and City Hall

Featured Art

Above: Ceramics by Singapore's leading ceramicist Iskandar Jalil

Above left: In The New Millenium by master potter Iskandar Jalil - each delicate scroll is actually molded from a thin layer of clay; Above right: The Pleasure of Being, Crying, Dying, and Eating by Thai artist Montien Boonma (reconstructed in 2015)

Above left: Pagodas II by Malaysian artist Latiff Mohidin (1964); Above right: Serenity by Chinese immigrant artist Chen Wen Hsi (1960s), who was influenced by the Vietnamese artists' use of lacquer

Above right: Cigarette Vendor by Malaysian artist Dzulkifli Buyong (1968-69)

Above left: Perusing a (Political) Poster by Indonesian artist S Sudjojono (1956); Above right: Landscape of Vietnam by Vietnamese artist Nguyen Gia Tri (1940)

Above left: Rama, Sita, and Laksamana in the Forest by Indonesian artist Anak Agung Gede Meregeg (1930s)

Above left: Market at Marmot by French artist Louis Rollet (1940); Above right: Pirogue Races in Bassac (French artists)

Above left: Family Portrait by Myanmar artist Saya Chone (late 19th - early 20th century); Above right: Royal Family by Myanmar artist Saya Chone (1880-1900)

Above left: Espana y Filipinas (Spain and the Philippines) by Filipino artist Juan Luna (1884); Above right: Boschbrand (Forest Fire) by Indonesian artist Raden Saleh (1849)

Above left: An Indonesian Village at Sunset by Indonesian artist Abdullah Suriosubroto

Above left: Malay House, Malacca by Singaporean artist Mohamed Salehuddin (1960); Above right: Wayang Kulit by Singaporean artist Choo Keng Kwang (1950)

Above right: Artist and Model by Singaporean artist Liu Kang (1954)

Above left: Sentosa Island by Singaporean artist See Cheen Tee (1966); Above right: Lotus in a Breeze by Singaporean artist Georgette Chen (1970)

Above left: National Language Class by Singaporean artist Chua Mia Tee (1959)

Above left: Tiger's Whip by Tang Da Wu and participants of A Sculpture Seminar (1991)

Previous post: Chisor Mountain, Takeo Province, Cambodia - May 13, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Chisor Mountain, Takeo Province, Cambodia - May 13, 2016

Located about 45 km south of Phnom Penh (about 1.5 hour's drive) is Chisor Mountain where an 11th-century Khmer temple resides at 130 m above sea level. This temple built by King Suryavarman I is the pride of the locals in Sia Village in Takeo Province. Constructed of laterite and sandstone, the temple was dedicated to the Hindu deities of Shiva and Vishnu.

The locals typically prefer to climb up the 390 steps on the west side of the mountain and descend down the 408 steps on the south side. In addition to the historical temple, the other worthy reward of the climb is the panoramic view of flat rice fields in Takeo province from the top of Chisor Mountain.

A word of caution: If you're a foreigner visiting the mountain, you may be solicited by random locals who claim to be responsible for the temple's and mountain's upkeep. They will demand that you buy a ticket to see the ancient temple. I was skeptical of their practice since there were no signs suggesting that foreigners must pay to visit the temple. An acquaintance who had previously visited the site had informed me that he hadn't been approached by anyone on his visit. Thus, be warned of such dubious tactics.