The inaugural Gallery Children’s Biennale – Dreams & Stories — is a sensory feast that kids of every age (and adults too) should go to. Find out what you can see, touch, feel, and experience there

Ready, set, get your art on kids, ‘cos the first-ever Gallery Children’s Biennale opens this Saturday, (20 May 2017) and you definitely shouldn’t miss it!

Themed Dreams & Stories, this inaugural collection showcases 10 original artworks by nine local and international artists that invite you to get up hands-on with the art. Yes, kids of all ages will get to obliterate a space, take a ‘firewalk’, etch feelings, find poetry in flowers, and ponder the real and unreal, among others.

There’ll also be activities and other child-friendly programmes spanning the Biennale’s four months (such as the Singapore International Children’s Film Festival), and brand new refreshed spaces at the Keppel Centre for Art Education. So come on down to the Gallery, pick up a Children’s Biennale Art Pack ($5, with a map, activity sheets, and stickers) for the kid, and get ready to explore.


 

1. Get Dotty & Destroy Space

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Yayoi Kusama: Obliteration Room
Where: Concourse Gallery 2, Supreme Court Wing
As a girl, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama started seeing the world through a screen of tiny dots. For 40 years now, she has harnessed this unique visual perspective to create dotted art that covers surfaces and fills rooms, a process she calls ‘obliteration’. The obliteration room at the Gallery Children’s Biennale is a mock-up of a typical home in Singapore and the largest installation of this type to date.
What kids can do: See if they can spot the Merlion here as they use the coloured stickers provided to cover every inch of this space!

2. Find Courage & Redemption

Chng Seok Tin: Being Yourself
Where: Level 1, Padang Atrium
A accident in 1988 took 80 per cent of Chng Seok Tin’s vision. As the Cultural Medallion winner recovered she turned her journey of pain, anger, despair, hope, strength, and courage into these five woodcuts that represent the different significant moments, emotions and values of her life.
What kids can do: Make their own “prints” by rubbing on paper over the textured woodcuts. Run their fingers over the woodcuts to ‘feel’ the emotions that they convey.

3. Stretch A Memory

Lynn Lu: This Changed My Life…
Where: City Hall Wing, Level 2, Singapore Courtyard
Inspired by a story in the book Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, where a nomadic community remembers its important events by stretching strings across a room, Lynn invites us to create our own interwoven network of dreams and ideas here.
What kids can do: Choose a coloured ribbon, write a memory on it, and stretch it across the space to form an interconnected web of shared histories with other Biennale visitors.

4. Spank a Ball, Spark a Chain Reaction


teamLab: Homogenizing and Transforming World
Where: Concourse Gallery 1, City Hall Wing
Great balls of colour change their hues when touched, setting off a chain reaction of colour, light, and sound. It’s almost like… being in a living rainbow. If you’ve enjoyed teamLab’s exhibit at FutureWorld at the ArtScience Museum, you’ll love this even more.
What kids can do: Dance among the balls, smack them, and watch their colours change. It’s a captivating experience that the kids will love!

(See also: 5 Child-Friendly Digital Artworks at Future World at the ArtScience Museum)

5. Commune Beneath a Cloud

Lynn Lu: Duplet
Where: City Hall Wing, Level 2, Singapore Courtyard
This dreamy installation invites you to sit under a cloud, focus on each other, shut off outside distractions, and find out what it’s like to be really, truly, and fully present in the moment.
What kids can do: Sit with a parent, answer a series of questions posed by the artist via a digital device.

6. Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Mark Justiniani: Firewalk, A Bridge of Embers
Where: Supreme Court Wing, Level B1, Outside Concourse Gallery 2
Look down and see.. forever. Inspired by the archeological site of the former Supreme Court Building, this 53-foot long ramp-like bridge unveils family objects like toys, workbooks, and building blocks as buried treasure, revealed as you walk across.
What kids can do: Hold your hand and look down as you walk across together. See what they can spot, what objects they recognise, and talk about how they feel as they embark on this dizzying experience.

7. Go between a Rock and a… Sphere

Ian Woo: Rock & Sphere
Where: City Hall Wing, Level B1, Auditorium Anteroom
Stand between a rock and a sphere, take them apart, put them together again… the possibilities are endless! Inspired by odd and even shapes, artist and musician Ian Woo’s foam carvings inspire imaginative and creative play.
What kids can do: Take the pieces apart. Put them together. See how they fit. Explore how they connect through shape and colour. Even the littliest ones can enjoy this!

8. Find Poetry in Flowers

Tran Trong Vu: The Sonnet in Blue
Where: Supreme Court Wing, Level 3, Supreme Court Foyer
A sprawling, organic labyrinth of handmade flowers form this immersive walkway. Take your time to enjoy the fluid blueness, indulge in the sense of being in a private bower within a public structure, open up a flower and be inspired by the words within. There are 100 poems featured, written by children from Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam.
What kids can do: Feel the texture of the flowers, wander in and out of hidden arches and child-sized doorways, open the flowers to read poems in them.

9. Explore the Natural & the Man-Made

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Robert Zhao: A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, Children’s Edition
Where: City Hall Wing, Level 2, Social Table
39 animals, plants, and environments that have been manipulated by human action are explored in this project that forces us to take a closer look at what is real and what’s not, what’s fact, and what’s fiction. Through layering of art upon art, Zhao creates pieces that challenge our perception of our environment and how we interact with it.
What kids can do: Pick up an activity card, choose a word on the front, and draw their responses to it on the back.

10. Hear the Caged Birds (and more) Sing

Vincent Leow: From Rochor to Kallang
Where: City Hall Wing, Level 1, City Hall Foyer
20 ‘towers’ with colourful bird traps, each holding an object. Inspired by Rochor Centre, whose residents have mostly relocated to Kallang, these could represent the blocks of flats that dot our suburban skyline. And it they do, what would the cages represent?
What kids can do: See the artefacts in the cages, listen to the sounds of the urban landscape, think about what home means to them.

In conjunction with the Gallery Children’s Biennale, families can also look forward to public programmes, family tours, artist-led workshops for children, and an outdoor festival in August. Remember to check out the new spaces at the Keppel Centre for Art Education, and catch a movie or two at the Singapore International Children’s Film Festival too!

Keppel Centre for Art Education: Project Gallery

Four new exciting spaces inspire new ways of learning through art, from an ocean-themed  installation by artist Betty Susiarjo, which invites visitors to explore a myriad of textures, sounds and colours, to a pottery studio where you can craft your own virtual ceramic vases.

Singapore International Children’s Film Festival: Big Eyes, Big Minds

Seven collections of short films bring children aged 2 to 18 years on an exciting journey through the magic of film. Every collection has been carefully curated to educate, enrich and inspire! Catch Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes and don’t miss Sing, which was the Oscar winner for Best Live-Action Short Film this year.

When 27, 28, May & 3, 10, 11 June, various timings
Where City Hall Wing, Level BM, Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium
Cost $12.90 (Tickets are required for admission for children 1 year and above. Children 12 years and below must be accompanied by an adult)
Tickets From www.bigeyesbigminds.com

Gallery Children’s Biennale

When 20 May – 8 October 2017
Where National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Rd Singapore 178957
Price Ticketed and free activities (refer to website for details). For enquiries, email info@nationalgallery.com.sg or call 6271 7000
Web www.nationalgallery.sg/childrens-biennale-2017  & www.nationalgallery.sg
Note All installations are suitable for visitors in wheelchairs