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

18 December 2012

Salt Tapas & Bar

I first noticed Salt Tapas & Bar because it (there is also the Salt Grill in ION) is located in the same premises that I previously had an interesting shepherd's pie experience in soon after I arrived in Singapore.  Though I should add that it was a different restaurant back then.  Our first visit to Salt Tapas & Bar though coincided with my in-laws visit and was actually a slightly spur of the moment decision as we were in the area and wanted to eat.  We weren't disappointed however and my husband and I have been back on several occasions since then as we enjoyed it so much.

Salt serves some seriously delicious and creative tapas dishes created by the Australian chef, Luke Mangan.  It's situated in Raffles City shopping mall right opposite Raffles hotel so a perfect place to stop for lunch after some hectic shopping.  Having been a few times now we've tried several of the dishes and they are all good with a great mix of meat and salads to choose from.  As it is a tapas style restaurant it's also great for picking a selection from the menu and sharing.  That coupled with some nice wine, what could be better for a long lazy lunch?

16 December 2012

Christmas Tree Capers

This is our first Christmas with our new edition, George and boy do we know we've got him now.  I grew up with cats but until now none of those cats (even as kittens) ever took the slightest interest in our Christmas tree or the decorations.  I kind of guessed George might be different just because of his fascination with everything and I was right.  Let's put it this way - he is obsessed with the tree!

We actually have two trees, our main big one and a very little one.  Even though our condo is probably not really big enough for both I'm such a Christmas fan I can't help but get both of them out.  I decorated the small one first and as soon as I did it George decided this was worth dive bombing repeatedly.  It is only small so very easy to topple over.  The only saving grace being that it's equally no issue to stand it up again and replace any fallen baubles.

I then got the bigger one out and as soon as I'd put it up (even before any decorations were on it) he was, as I suspected he might, climbing it repeatedly.  Initially we put it in the spot we've put  this tree for the past two Christmases in Singapore but I quickly realised there were lots of launch pads for an inquisitive kitten to jump from on to the tree so decided it needed to be moved.  Unfortunately our condo isn't massive so this then presented the problem of where we should move it to.  If you do any Internet searches on making a tree kitten/cat proof it suggests placing the tree somewhere with plenty of space around it, so they can't jump on it.  That's fine in many homes in the UK, for example, that have plenty of space but over here those kind of options are limited in most condos.  The other suggestion is to have it somewhere with a door that can be shut to keep the cat out when needed.  Again not so easy here when our living room is our main living area.  I like to see the tree so putting it in one of the other rooms is totally impractical for me.  In  the end my husband suggested we put it on the opposite side of the room to where it normally is which doesn't have as many launch pads (not that this has stopped him) for him to jump from.

So I moved the tree and began attempting to decorate it.  This was just too exciting for George who proceeded to climb up and down it repeatedly, bashing all the decorations off as fast as I was putting them on.  I gave up and in a fit of annoyance decided we couldn't have a big tree up this year and would just have to make do with the little one and a few other bits around.  After I'd calmed down though (and taken everything down) I decided to give it another shot and try again with the tree.

I'd read on the Internet that spraying the tree with citrus spray and putting orange peel around the bottom of it was a good way to keep cats away as they dislike the smell.  I was a little sceptical about whether it would work as, for example, all cats are meant to go mad for catnip but none of ours (including George) have ever shown the slightest interest in it.  Anyhow I got some spray and gave it a go and, as I suspected, it didn't work!  The photo below was actually taken shortly after spraying the tree and as you can see he is happily climbing it again.

Yep that's him caught up the tree!

This time though and despite his constant climbing I was determined to persevere.  Weirdly as I started decorating the tree and was putting the lights on George didn't turn a hair and made no attempt to bother me or climb it.  I actually started to wonder what he was plotting and sure enough it wasn't long before he started climbing it again.  As a result of other commitments I then had to wait a day or so before I could finish decorating the rest of the tree and in that time he climbed it a few times but thankfully didn't manage to pull it over.  I was convinced I was going to come home and find a tree sprawled on the floor.

When it came to finishing the decorations I'd already decided that only those with no sentimental value or that were not easily breakable would go on the tree.  Instead the special ones have been placed in other spots beyond his reach.  Of course he insisted on 'helping me' as I tried to decorate which resulted in me having to put him briefly in another room so I could finish it in peace.  Since I finished decorating it he has climbed the tree countless times, knocked baubles off and also managed to ensure that two sets of lights now don't work.  I can't face taking them off again to try and find the loose connection so I'm afraid they'll have to wait now until I take the decorations down.  I hope that perhaps by next year he'll have calmed down just a little bit!

07 December 2012

I Got an Honourable Mention Award!

You may remember a couple of weeks ago I posted about being nominated for an award in the Expat Blog Awards 2012 and asking you to leave a comment if you liked my blog.  Well I certainly never expected it as there were some fabulous blogs nominated, but I won an 'Honourable Mention Award'!  Basically awarded to blogs that the judges felt were deserving of a 'special mention for their excellence'.  I'm incredibly chuffed and was truly very surprised to receive it. 

As a result I get to display the above rosette on my blog confirming my award. 

As well as my award there were also Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for the three best Singapore blogs and you can check out who won and, of course, their blogs here.  Thanks to everyone who commented and helped me to win and to everyone who reads, comments and shares my posts. 

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.
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