The National Gallery Singapore is impressive. Well worth a visit - and not just for the building and the paintings and other art works - but for the people too.
The City Hall Chamber, where the Japanese formally signed the surrender documents at the end of WW2 before Lord Mountbatten, holds particular significance for me because it's there I presented a workshop on Accounting for Lawyers over 10 years ago.
In other news I wrote a brief Postcard from Singapore on #SGlit for the SA Writers Centre:
'Located at the hub of so many social, historical, economic and political cross currents, Singapore literature reflects a mix of themes and narratives. There is a tension and play between the past (paved over and reconstructed) and the future, security and adventure, individual identity and authority, self expression, authenticity and national imperatives.'
'In many ways my own hybrid identity and origins – a Eurasian, born in England, growing up in Adelaide, living in Asia for over 15 years – mirror these themes. The stories in my book, We Rose Up Slowly set in Singapore, Australia and Jakarta are a mash up of these influences too.'
'Singapore literature is so much more than the bling saturated materialism of Kevin Kwan and the reductive simplifications I’ve set out here. It’s challenging to do justice to the depth of Singapore literature in English without even mentioning drama, let alone the literature of the other Singaporean national languages (Malay, Tamil and Mandarin). Nevertheless, I would encourage readers and writers who ordinarily look to New York or London for inspiration to look closer to home, to Singapore, and the surprising amount of quality literature in English produced in Asia.'
The same can now be said about Southeast Asian art. The National Gallery Singapore is a significant cultural achievement. Art lovers here now have a world class museum to explore and find inspiration.