Singapore’s visual arts has grown steadily over the past decades, resulting in a vibrant art scene anchored by strong infrastructure, a growing art market, and a steadily increasing number of art events and art organisations in Singapore.
The last few years have been particularly exciting for Singapore with the emergence of new platforms such as Art Stage Singapore, Affordable Art Fair, and the Singapore Biennale, and facilities such as the Singapore Freeport, a high-security facility for the storage of fine art and goods.
Our museum landscape is also growing, with the Singapore Art Museum re-positioning itself as a contemporary art museum since 2009, focusing on contemporary art practices in Singapore and Southeast Asia. It is also the organiser of the Singapore Biennale, Singapore's most prominent international visual art exhibition in 2013 and will be staging the next edition in 2016.
The newly launched National Gallery Singapore, which opened in November 2015, houses the largest public collection of modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia, and is poised to become a major gateway to the region’s rich art heritage.
Singapore’s arts education system is also progressively growing – the establishment of the School of The Arts, Singapore’s first national pre-tertiary specialised arts programme and the continued developments of arts institutions such as LASALLE College of Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts have expanded the scope of opportunities and quality of education available for aspiring arts professionals locally and regionally.
Singapore’s artists continue to garner acclaim beyond our shores, and are making considerable headway in the international art scene, with contemporary artists such as Ming Wong receiving a Special Mention Award at the Venice Biennale 2009, first for Singapore; Charles Lim garnering a Special Mention at the Venice Film Festival in 2011; and June Yap being selected to be the first curator for the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative in 2012.
As Singapore builds on its position to become a global arts city and the gateway to Southeast Asian art, NAC has produced a publication to introduce over 280 visual arts practitioners from different generations and across various visual arts practices in Singapore. Entitled Singapore’s Visual Artists, the publication is a useful reference as well as a celebration of the works and achievements of our visual artists whose passion and creativity have helped capture, contextualise and re-imagine the rich cultural past, present and future of Singapore.
Launched in 2012, Gillman Barracks is home to 11 celebrated galleries from around the world, the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art and other visual arts organisations. The NTU Centre for Contemporary Art is devoted to advancing knowledge in contemporary art through its international artist residencies, research and exhibition programmes that bolster the region’s visual arts landscape. These exciting developments will spur artistic excellence and also develop community engagement and education in Singapore.
NAC will continue to make available assistance and developmental resources to support the local visual arts industry at all levels from the budding artist and emerging arts collective to the established artist, arts professionals and companies, ensuring the development of the visual arts in Singapore.