The first Gallery Children’s Biennale in 2017 pioneered the idea of a dedicated visual arts festival just for little ones. More than 286,000 visitors thronged the National Gallery Singapore to interact with the various exhibits and installations. Unsurprisingly, it cemented the Gallery Children’s Biennale as a must-go for families in Singapore.


Gallery Children’s Biennale 2019 continues the Gallery’s mission to bring arts appreciation to all ages, especially kids.

As Suenne Megan Tan, Director of Audience Development & Engagement of the National Gallery Singapore shares, “Arts help children learn about themselves, trust their own ideas, and explore what is possible.”

This year, they’ll have a ball exploring the 11 interactive and multi-dimensional artworks by 13 Singaporean and South Asian artists. Some will spark curiosity, some will encourage exploration. And all, we’re sure, will evoke wonder.

(See also: FREE Arts and Culture activities for Kids and Families in Singapore)

Top Picks at Gallery Children’s Biennale 2019

Big Hug

More than 30 interactive and educational activities stimulate imagination and self-discovery. Conceptualised and created by husband and wife team Delia and Milenko Prvacki, these invite kids to embrace the future. They can imagine themselves in different professions, and even embrace a cause by pledging on cards. What kids can do: Look up at the starry night, peer through a telescope, sit in the space, and dream!

Chance Operations

This installation is by Singaporean artist Song-Ming Ang (Singapore’s representative at the 2019 Venice Biennale). It’s made up of thousands of pipes of various colours and sizes, and 350 ping pong balls! What kids can do: Throw a ball at the pipes and hear the different sounds they make. Can you create your own unique tunes and melodies?

Life by the River

Based on Singaporean artist Liu Kang’s painting, this whimsical installation brings us to the edge of the river. Here we are invited to come and sit with the ducks, or on the pebbles. Or perhaps you’d prefer to sit in the boat, row, and make friends? What kids can do: Play traditional games like chapteh and five stones. Play with a digital game where people you create will appear on the screen and socialise!

Karung Guni Boy

The Story of Karung Guni Boy, written by Lorraine Tan and illustrated by Eric Wong comes to life here. There are Karung Guni Boy books for parents to read to children (or for kids to read on their own). What kids can do: Make a cardboard robot, or create new inventions out of recycled materials. This installation will stay for a year until end of April 2020.

Dayung Sampan

This new installation at the Keppel Centre for Art Education’s Project Gallery is by local sculptor Zainudin Samsuri. Inspired by Malay proverbs and folklore and childhood memories with his father, he has created a kampung where kids can let their imaginations take flight! What kids can do: Discover objects that resemble a foot and a birdcage, look through periscopes, ‘row’ your boat.

The Oort Cloud and The Blue Mountain

This sensory adventure by husband and wife team Hazel Lim-Schlegel and Andreas Schlegel calls for your touch! It’s inspired by The Oort Cloud, a thick layer of icy particles in outer space, and Blue Mountain, a painting by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky of horses galloping beneath a hill. This interactive artwork invites touch as a symphony of sights and sounds come together to create an imaginary terrain. What kids can do: Trigger the sensor-operated symphony, touch, rub and press for more effects!

Every World

As a young girl, Singaporean artist Donna Ong promised herself to never forget the wonder of childhood. Here, she has created five different paper landscapes — including an undergrowth, the desert, and an underwater space. Kids will love the 360-degree experience complete with lights and sounds around them! What kids can do: After exploring the habitats, head to the two activity tables for more wondrous experiences.

The Other Wall

Burmese artists Nge Lay and Aung Ko set up replicas of traditional Burmese houses. These reflect the idyllic life in the Myanmar countryside. But why is everything gold? Well, the countryside is also known as the Shwe (golden) land, and gold is associated with knowledge and enlightenment in Burmese culture! What kids can do: Find Burmese woodcuts, traditional toys and learn about the country’s folktales in the houses. They can also make crayon etchings to bring home.

Kenangan Kunang-Kunang (Memories of Fireflies)

Eko Nugroho, an Indonesian artist, is big on the issue of embracing democracy. In this awe-inspiring lantern installation, he expresses his memory of walking in paddy fields and seeing fireflies. These lights embody five values: equality, peace, collaboration, care, and love. What would a world without these values be like? What kids can do: Follow the markers on the floor and bedazzled by the lights! P/S: Do check out the huge mural — Tightly Hugging Care, Love, Peace — on the glass wall facing the Padang. It’s by Eko Nugroho as well!

Before you explore Gallery Children’s Biennale 2019

Get your child has his or her own Children’s Gallery Biennale 2019 Art Pack. This activity pack corresponds with the works shown so kids can continue to be inspired even at home. Each set costs $5 and is available at dedicated vending machines at Level B1 and Level 1 of the Gallery.

(See also: 8 Educational Playgrounds in Singapore where Kids Learn Through Play)

More to enjoy at Gallery Children’s Biennale 2019

In addition to the artworks and installations, there are performances, workshops and artist talks. These programmes include: Afternoon Croons by Jukeleles, a Poetry Reading by Haig Girls’ School, and Resonates With EVOKX, a choral programme. In addition, there’s the Singapore International Children’s Film Festival. Finally, we’d also recommend Sound Makers by Little Creatures (picture above) which is a fun parent-and-child workshop.

Want to know how artists come up with ideas and what inspires them? Be sure to attend Artist Chitter-Chatter. Check the website for dates and times of these activities.

Gallery Children’s Biennale 2019: Embracing Wonder

When 25 May to 29 December 2019
Where National Gallery Singapore
Opening hours Sat-Thu: 10am-7pm | Fri: 10am-9pm
Tickets General admission applies
Web Here

Images: National Gallery Singapore