Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

09 September 2014

Red Dot Roaming - Esplanade MRT - Jendela (Visual Arts Space)

After a month away from Singapore in the UK, Spain and France (more soon on all of that) I'm back and managed to get Red Dot Roaming again last week.  This time I decided to take a look at the Jendela Visual Arts space in the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and close to the Esplanade MRT station.

If you aren't familiar with the Jendela Visual Arts Space it is housed on the second floor of the Esplanade and is incredibly easy to find, just follow the signs.  I'd never heard of it though until I started looking at what was around the Esplanade area.  It is the only dedicated exhibition space at the Esplanade and holds regular shows often integrated with other events at the centre.

On my visit I chanced upon an exhibit by local artist, Jeremy Hiah called 'Tales from Jalan Buang Hoe'.  The exhibit is the artist's depiction of some of the local old myths and legends from a time long before Singapore became the thriving modern city it now is.  The legends he has chosen include the story of how Pulau Ubin came to be, a story I had heard before, the legend of a white crocodile that lives in the Kallang river (a new one for me) and a handful more.  All are presented in different ways including one recreated with Lego models (most ingenious I thought), a wall mural and a shadow puppet show.

The display area is only small and whether you chose to see this exhibit or another your visit would probably happily fill just a lunch break if you were in the area or maybe as a little extra something to do before seeing a show on a visit to the theatre.  Perhaps one to keep an eye on for something of interest to you.  From investigating the exhibit a bit more since it seems that the artist did some guided tours and interactive activities during its time on display.  So it is worth checking the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and specifically the Jendela page of the website as I'm sure other artists may do similar things in the future.

If you are interested in seeing 'Tales from Jalan Buang Hoe' it is on now until 14 September 2014 (so get there asap), Monday - Friday 11am - 8.30pm, Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 10am - 8.30pm.  Admission is free.

If you missed any of my previous Red Dot Roaming posts, check them out here and let me know if you think there is somewhere close to an MRT (or LRT) station that I might like to visit.

Esplanade MRT is on the Circle Line (CC3). 

04 February 2014

The Year of the Horse at Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay is celebrating the Year of the Horse with an appropriately themed display in the Flower Dome at the moment.  We decided to visit last Friday, the first day of the New Year and a holiday in Singapore.  I have to say it was possibly the most crowded I've ever seen the dome and the gardens in general but as usual the flowers, which include cherry blossoms, chrysanthemums and camellias, to accompany the Year of the Horse display looked beautiful.

This latest themed display is actually the first in a series planned for 2014 at the Gardens entitled, 'Gardens by the Bay Goes Around the World'.  So keep an eye out for future events as the year progresses.  Alongside this and other themed displays the Flower Dome houses plants typical of the cool, dry climate of Mediterranean regions such as South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy.  The dome is home to a collection of plants from deserts all over the world and shows how plants adapt to these environments. 

I particularly loved the horse sculptures, below, that dominate the centre of the dome.  The sculptures were inspired by the Chinese painting of '100 Horses' painted by Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining), an Italian Jesuit lay brother who served as a missionary in China where he became a painter at the court of the Emperor.  The actual painting shows a herd of one hundred horses out to pasture in Autumn in various poses including kneeling, standing, eating and running on grassland.  The artwork is preserved in the National Palace museum in Taipei.

Another lovely themed display to go and see.  The horse sculptures are definitely worth it, catch it soon if you can!

The Year of the Horse floral display is on now in the Flower Dome until the 16 February 2014.  The dome is open from 9am to 9pm daily.  Admission fees to the dome apply. 

07 January 2014


Despite having just been back to the UK for Christmas I still (unbelievably) have one more part of my summer trip to share!  My blog resolution for 2014 undoubtedly is to be more prompt in my blog postings.  By the way I won't be sharing any of my latest trip back, just because it was mainly spent with family doing all those typically Christmas things and was only a relatively brief visit.  It was lovely nonetheless. 

So the final part of my tour of the UK in the summer was to go back up north to Edinburgh.  For the final week of our trip my husband was on a work conference there so I spent the first few days of that week with my family and then travelled up the day before (my husband's birthday) our flights out from Glasgow back to Singapore.  Edinburgh is a place I've been to many times and is undoubtedly a fabulous city. Obviously this was a very brief visit so we didn't get to do much but it was an enjoyable way to end our trip.

I travelled up to Edinburgh by train from London.  Something I've done previously and had made a conscious decision to do this time rather than taking a flight up.  The views as you travel up through the north east of England are beautiful and as you cross over into Scotland the train line travels parallel to the coast, again providing you with some beautiful scenery.  If you have the time to do it I'd definitely recommend travelling up this way.  A flight is obviously quicker but the train journey is only approximately four and a half hours direct and if you book your ticket in advance you can get a decent price and reserve a seat.  Always a good idea as the trains on these main routes across country can get busy. 

Personally I like the fact you can just arrive at Kings Cross, London to go to Edinburgh (or any train station when you are travelling by train to places), get on the train and go rather than having to get there so long before travelling to check in, go through security etc. as you do with flying. Whilst I don't mind flying I have to admit I don't enjoy all of that beforehand.  I actually quite enjoy travelling to places by train and as I have no choice but to travel on planes most of the time it's nice to have the opportunity to go by another means sometimes if I can.  My husband was, of course, on his conference that day as well so I planned to catch a train which got me to Edinburgh late afternoon to meet me once he'd finished so we could go back to the hotel. 

View towards Edinburgh castle

As I mentioned it was my husband's birthday and so we had planned to go to a restaurant for a meal.  A few places were suggested but in the end we went to the Jamie's Italian in Edinburgh. We've been to the one in Brighton before and I've always enjoyed the food.  We've yet to try out the one here in Singapore and I've seen mixed reviews but certainly in the UK the restaurants are fun and affordable.  I particularly enjoyed my starter which was the seasonal vegetable crudites on ice served with a mint and lemon yoghurt.  The vegetables were fresh and the yoghurt a refreshing accompaniment, I certainly felt very healthy choosing that one.  We enjoyed a good meal and good company, what more could you want for a birthday dinner?

Our flight back to Singapore was in the evening the following day so we had the morning to do a little wandering around Edinburgh (and a little last minute shopping) before making our way across to Glasgow.  We went for a walk in Princes Street gardens to begin with but as the skies looked like it might be about to rain we decided an indoor activity would be best.  So we decided to go into the Scottish National Gallery which is very close to the gardens. 

I really had no idea what artwork was there beforehand but have to say I was really impressed, best of all and like so many art galleries and museums in the UK it's free to enter.  The gallery houses the Scottish National Collection of fine art spanning the period from the early Renaissance to the end of the nineteenth century.  A highlight for me was that we were lucky enough to see Rodin's The Kiss which is currently on loan to the gallery from Tate Britain, we had no idea that was the case until we went in.  According to the gallery's website it will only be there until the 2nd February, so if you are in Edinburgh get there soon to see it.  Besides this there are pieces by Botticelli, John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, Rubens, Rembrandt and many more artists from across Europe.  Of course there is also a selection of paintings depicting the beautiful Scottish countryside as well as portraits of notable people from Scottish history many of which were painted by Scottish artists.  We spent an interesting morning there wandering around and admiring the pieces.

All too soon though it was time to make our way to Glasgow for our flight back to Singapore.  I'd have loved just a little bit longer back in Edinburgh as despite being there several times there are still things I've not managed to do that I would like.  Hopefully we'll get back there again before long so I can.

04 September 2013

Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein

Currently on display at the National museum are ninety pieces of art from the collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein.  I'm no art expert but I enjoy visiting galleries, looking at and admiring pieces of art so when I heard about this exhibition I knew I wanted to try and see it.  The artwork on display includes pieces by Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Raphael and Lukas Cranach the Elder and showcases in particular the High Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical and Biedermeier art styles spanning from the late 15th century to the mid -19th century.

I don't think there were any pieces that I didn't enjoy looking at, but a few that really caught my eye were the following.

Still Life with Fruit, Dead Game, Vegetables, a Live Monkey, Squirrel and Cat - Frans Snyders

There's so much to observe in this painting with all the different animals and so on, I was fascinated and spent a long time studying it.  Similarly the painting below caught my eye as I've visited many of the sites myself so felt drawn to study this piece a little closer.

Capriccio with the Most Important Architectural Monuments and Sculptures of Ancient Rome - Giovanni Paolo Pannini

I Consiglia alla Vendetta (Vengeance is Sworn) - Francesco Hayez

I loved this purely from the perspective of imagining the distress that the woman on the left (as you look at it) has suffered which also left me wondering what the other woman might be saying to her.  As I looked at it in the museum I wondered if this second woman was the cause of the upset or whether she was trying to help her.  I now know that this painting is part of a series which were inspired by an unpublished novel by Andrea Maffei.  The two women are called Maria and Rachel and in this painting Rachel has just told Maria of the deceit of her lover.  Knowing the story behind the painting helps to bring it even more to life for me.

St Eustace - Lukas Cranach the Elder

The red of the saint's tunic initially drew me to this painting as I was wandering around.  It really stood out for me, probably much more in reality than my photo does it justice.  I then later read that his feast day is the same day as my birthday, 20 September which, just because of the connection, made me like the painting even more.

There are many beautiful pieces to see, many by famous artists, well worth a visit if you enjoy art.

'Princely Treasures from the House of Liechtenstein' is on now at the National Museum of Singapore until 29 September 2013.

07 January 2013

OH! Open House 2013 - Marina Bay

Singapore's only art walkabout, OH! Open House has returned for 2013.  This time away from the shophouses and HDBs of previous years at Niven Road, Marine Parade and Tiong Bahru to corporate Singapore and the high powered boardrooms and offices of Marina Bay.  The theme for this year being, The Happiness Index.

On this year's tour you'll get to visit six locations (including a few very interesting ones) and see thirteen artists work.  Obviously I don't want to completely ruin it for you if you do decide to join a tour but I will say I was surprised by how interactive parts of the exhibition are as well as there being the more traditional art hanging on the wall.  There are a few surprises along the way as well.  I even got my 'moment', somewhat unexpectedly!  All I will say is that Franz Kafka's, 'The Trial' inspired that particular piece and I have a memento to treasure from it.  
Shelf Life - Studiokaleido - DBS Super Social Hub

The majority of the art on display is in the shiny, new modern buildings synonymous with the Marina Bay Financial Centre area but there is also one piece displayed in somewhat of an office time warp.  It actually reminded me a little of some of the offices I worked in in my former Civil Servant life in the UK.  The office is that of a top lawyer and is a real contrast to the gleaming towers where all the other pieces are on show.  The piece itself is, in part, inspired by a former Singapore and is very fitting for its location.

Spell#7 - DBS Super Social Hub

I didn't get to see the previous Open Houses so I can't say if the decision to move it to the financial hub of Singapore is a good one or not.  As well as the art on display inside the buildings you are also treated to some great views of the Marina Bay area.  Some people have great office views!  I imagine it's a vastly different experience this year from previous ones but go and see it for yourself and make your own decision.

View from the DBS Super Social Hub

The Search for Happiness - Eeshaun - Google office

View from Deutsche bank office - they'll have a very different one from now at some stage

If you want to view the OH! Open House this year you can do so on the following days, 12, 13, 19, 20 January 2013 - 11am - 5pm.  Tickets are $20 at the door. 

Please note that there is a lot of walking on this tour so wear comfortable shoes.  Go prepared as well for Singapore's weather for those periods where you are between locations as most of the walking is outside. 

Tours start at:

DBS Asia Central
Marina Bay Financial Centre
12 Marina Boulevard
Tower 3, Level 3

This blog resulted from an invitation and represents the thoughts and opinions of the writer. All information on this blog is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness and the writer will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. All text and photos on this blog are the original works of the writer unless stated otherwise. 

Thank you to Marina Bay and the Urban Redevelopment Authority for the kind invitation. 

29 December 2012

The Art of the Brick and Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy

The current exhibitions at the ArtScience museum are, yet again, well worth a visit if you can.  Before visiting I wasn't sure if I'd be that interested in an exhibition of art work made from Lego but I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised.  One of my Stepsons is a massive Lego fan and I too, as a child, had Lego that I enjoyed playing with, but I've never considered it being used to create pieces of art, that is until now.

Nathan Sawaya, however, could see Lego as the basis for his pieces of art and I was amazed at the intricacy of his pieces and his creativity.  'The Art of the Brick' is, 'the first major museum exhibition to use the popular toy as the sole art medium'.  There are fifty-two of his pieces on show and just a selection of those we saw are in the photos below.  I can't imagine how many individual pieces of Lego must have been used to create all the exhibits on display but the information board about each piece does tell you how many were used for that specific one.  I actually wondered, when we were walking around, if Lego supplied him with bricks but that's not the case, he buys all of his bricks and uses colours that anyone can buy in a shop.  So if you are inspired to create a piece of Lego art too you can.

I think this exhibit would appeal to anybody regardless of whether you are a Lego fan, who can resist a Lego dinosaur skeleton after all?  His pieces are really creative and really enjoyable.  I was definitely very impressed.  At the end of the exhibit is a space where you can indulge your imagination and use Lego to create your own pieces, fun for young and old alike!

Lego model of the ArtScience museum - Nathan Sawaya

Dinosaur Skeleton - Nathan Sawaya

Parthenon - Nathan Sawaya

Also on display at the moment is, 'Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy' which we decided to take a look at as well.  This exhibition tells the story of the Fujians, tracing their seafaring history travelling from China and ultimately settling in South East Asia in the 1800s.  The exhibition explains how they made an impact on religion, commerce and culture for the Chinese in South East Asia and showcases a whole host of rare artifacts.

If I'm honest, having just been to 'The Art of the Brick' exhibit, although this was good, I think the Lego art work had the edge and I probably enjoyed that one more.  Though it is worth a visit if you are interested but perhaps I should have done this one before visiting 'The Art of the Brick'.

'The Art of the Brick' exhibition is on now until 14 April 2013 NB. the exhibition's run has been extended until 26 May 2013.

'Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy' is on now until 28 February 2013

05 December 2012

Raffles' Letters: Intrigues behind the Founding of Singapore

A few weekends ago my husband and I decided to go along to the National Library and view the exhibition currently on display, of some of Sir Stamford Raffles' letters.  I hadn't actually been to the library before but it looks like a place that is worth further exploration at some point.  On this day, however, we just focused on viewing Raffles' letters.

There are twenty letters on display until 28 February 2013 and admission to the exhibition is free.  The letters all date from 1819 and reveal much about the beginnings of Singapore.  The exhibition includes several letters that have been loaned from The Bute Collection in Scotland.  These letters came from the private papers of the 1st Marquess of Hastings who was a supporter of Raffles in establishing a British settlement in the East Indies.

As well as the letters the exhibition also includes a number of maps and paintings of Singapore (and other nearby places) from around this time period.  Including a replica of what is thought to be the first map of an emerging Singapore dating from 1820.

To view it yourself a morning or afternoon would most likely be sufficient.  There are also organised public talks in collaboration with the Singapore Heritage Society as well as curator tours and guided tours.  Take a look at the library website for further details of when these are happening if you are interested.

30 September 2012

Back to Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay opened officially back in June.  Although I'd managed to have a sneak peek at the end of last year when the World Orchid Show was in town I couldn't wait see it again once it was fully opened.

When I visited before the entry included admission to the Flower Dome so first on my 'to see' list this time was the Cloud Dome.  When we walked in the dome we were greeted by the pleasant cool temperature and the sight of the 35 metre man-made mountain and waterfall.  First stop was to get the lift up to the top and gradually walk down the mountain on the paths enjoying the plants and the waterfall at close quarters.  Seeing the man-made mountain up close and the way that the paths took us down each level brought to mind images I've seen in art of the Tower of Babel (the mountain being the tower) or a Sci-fi story of another planet or futuristic time.  The people living and surviving in a massive man-made structure of this type. 

From here we then went back to the Flower Dome.  I was really impressed with it when I visited before and it was great to see the trees and plants much more established than they were before.  Having now visited both domes I think I now prefer the Cloud Dome but the variety of flowers and plants on display from different parts of the world is, nonetheless, very impressive.

The other thing that I wanted to do was the Skyway walk through the Supertrees, again, for me, the trees seem very futuristic looking in their appearance.  I know some think them a little ugly but as I've passed them countless times in taxis over the months preceding the official opening I've grown to like them.  I've certainly seen nothing else quite like them anywhere else.  The queue to climb the Supertrees was long but when we eventually got to the top it was worth the wait.  Whilst the view can be seen from many other vantage spots in the same area, to be on that narrow path walking under the huge trees is quite something.  I wouldn't recommend it though if you have a fear of heights as the bridge between the trees is narrow.

I agree with those that say it doesn't quite have the same ambiance and peacefulness as the Botanic Gardens do, they are without doubt lush, tropical and peaceful, but I don't think that matters.  Gardens by the Bay is completely new, different and those parts where plants are still establishing themselves will become more natural looking given time.  I can certainly see myself returning, even if I don't go into the domes or on the Skyway walk every single time.

04 August 2012

Sponsored Post: A Trip to the Costa del Sol and Malaga

Kicking off my series of posts about the Costa del Sol region of Spain (where I recently spent three weeks), here's an overview of the region brought to you by the online travel agency, Destinia.com.

The Costa del Sol is located in the South of Spain. The region is known for its many kilometres of beaches and the small traditional villages peppered along the coast.


Malaga is the region's main city and can be a day trip destination for those who stay in one of the coastal towns. The Cathedral is one of the city's most visited places, known as La Manquita because only one of its two towers was completed.

Near the Cathedral stand two ancient Moorish palaces, the Alcazaba and the Gibralfaro. In the Alcazaba visitors can visit the Archaeological Museum where there are several galleries with Moorish, Phoenician and Roman artifacts. The Gibralfaro is an ancient fortress with views towards the city which is known for its colourful gardens.

To see the more historical structures and the more traditional part of the city visitors will have to visit the Malagueta area. The Plaza de Toros, a large bull ring, is located there.

Malaga is the place to visit for those who want to enjoy the city's architecture, which has ancient Moorish influences. The Pablo Picasso Museum is located in the city, and visitors will be able to see many of the painter's masterpieces.

The Pedregalejo and El Palo beaches are located in the city. If visitors want to enjoy cleaner beaches they can visit the nearby Cala de la Moral.

Beaches, food and small towns

Malaga's coastal towns are visited by thousands of locals and tourists who want to spend a day by the sea. Benalmádena, Fuengirola and Torremolinos are beach towns where visitors can enjoy the beach, practice water sports and relax.

Marbella is the most deluxe destination for a day trip. This jet set city is located a short ride away and is filled with boutique bars, chic bars and restaurants. The Puerto Banus area is known for high end retailers.

The province of Malaga, as most of Spain, is known for its food. There are many traditional chiringuitos and tapas bars where locals and visitors can enjoy pescaíto frito, small fried fish, gazpacho, a cold tomato soup, and sangría.

For those who want to get away from the city and the seaside, the mountains are only a short ride away. The Montes de Málaga Natural Park is a large natural park with several trails where one can take long walks and see the local fauna.

There are several small traditional villages located in the region, and day trips to these traditional white villages can be organized. Most white villages are only a short taxi ride away from the coastal towns. The pueblos blancos are traditional villages a short distance away from the coast known for their Andalusian architecture, small white houses and cobbled streets.


Image used under Creative Commons from Keith Roper

The village of Alcaucin is located in the Sierra Tejeda mountains and is considered to be one of the most ancient towns in the region. The most visited ones are Mijas and Nerja. In Mijas visitors can enjoy a donkey ride around the town, which has views towards the sea. In Nerja visitors can enjoy sea views from the Balcón de Europa, a former castle. The nearby Nerja Caves stretch for more than five kilometres and guided tours are available. 


Image used under Creative Commons from isidro2007

03 May 2012

Pita Pan

Following my recent visit to the Andy Warhol exhibit at the ArtScience museum I was then invited to enjoy lunch at Pita Pan afterwards.  A healthy dining option conveniently just besides the museum, after walking around all the exhibits I was getting very hungry so it was perfectly positioned.  It is actually somewhere I nearly ate at after a previous visit to the museum but couldn't as they were not open on that occasion, so I was pleased to be finally able to try it out.  The food served here is vegetarian Mediterranean cuisine and in fact we had so much of it I hardly needed to eat again for the rest of the day.

I personally had one of their pita pockets stuffed full with falafels and a variety of salad items from the selection to choose from that was on display.  It was very filling and also very satisfying.  I admit though to ordering a full pocket and if you think this may be too much for you there is the option of ordering a half pocket too.  The restaurant offers a wide variety of fruit juice drinks, soft drinks, hot drinks and alcoholic drinks to accompany your meal.

Red Shakshuka

I also got to try the red shakshuka with eggs (photo above).  This was nice but with a strong tomato base to it I'm not sure I could eat a whole one by myself, perhaps one to share.  By then though I had already eaten the whole of my pita pocket so I was pretty full!  As well as this we were also given bowls of chips and a yummy Mediterranean platter to share, full of good dips, pita bread and other delights to sample.  I really was full by the time we'd finished eating.  Personally I enjoy this type of food that is good for sharing with friends and for having and trying lots of different dishes altogether.  I really enjoyed my meal and would certainly think about returning here again.

Mediterranean Platter

Pita Pocket

Pita Pan opens daily from 9am to 12 midnight, Sunday to Thursday, and 9am to 2am on Friday and Saturday.

This blog resulted from an invitation and represents the thoughts and opinions of the writer. All information on this blog is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness and the writer will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. All text and photos on this blog are the original works of the writer unless stated otherwise.

Thank you Marina Bay and Pita Pan for the kind invitation.
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