NUS Museum Past Exhibitions

Evening Climb
The Later Style of Lim Tze Peng 

25 Nov 2016 - 27 May 2017
Lee Kong Chian Gallery, NUS Museum

Free Admission.

At 96 years old, Lim Tze Peng's career has seen him practising and experimenting with Chinese ink and brush. From his practice of calligraphy and using a fine brush technique to sketch open air drawings of landscapes and scenery, the artist in his later and more recent experiments arrived at the monumental, abstracted calligraphy and paintings he has come to be known for.

The exhibition focuses on recent developments and works in the artist’s practice. Drawing from a recent donation of Lim Tze Peng’s works to NUS Museum, generously supported by loans from the Lim Tze Peng Art Gallery at Chung Cheng High School, and other private collections, the exhibition focuses on the artist’s progression from landscape paintings in his earlier years, to this turn towards the abstract and the monumental in his application of calligraphic lines undertaken in the later part of his artistic journey.

Exhibition Brochure

[Image: Lim Tze Peng, Trees (2014), Ink and water on paper, 192 x 490cm. Gift of Linda Neo in honour of Lim Tze Peng.]

Double Vision

9 June - 5 November 2016

Lee Kong Chian Gallery, NUS Museum

Double Vision is a selection of video works and experimental films that are inspired by the affinities between the Philippines and Vietnam in the history of the American wars in the Pacific. While the Philippines stood as proxy in the re-enactment of the Vietnam War in films produced during the Cold War period, it was also historically situated as a proto-site that delivered the United State's growing influence in the region. The artists in the exhibition unpack the impact of war on the psyche by presenting the ways through which they maneuver around the intricate ties between media and representation, war and human relations. The works eschew mainstream forms through mimesis and satire on American cinema, montage of guerrilla and archival footages within the language of revealing critical reflections of the artists’ entanglement with the fictions of war.

Videos & artist films by: David Griggs, Gym Lumbera, Miko Revereza, Roxlee, Shireen Seno, Angel Velasco Shaw, Stephanie Syjuco and Kidlat Tahimik.

ADIVSORY: The videos and films in the exhibition contain some mature content. Discretion is advised.

Exhibition brochure.

[Image Credit: Stephanie Syjuco, Body Double (Platoon) (2005) Digital video, 01:30:00]


"Who wants to remember a war?"
War Drawings and Posters from the Ambassador Dato’ N. Parameswaran Collection

Ng Eng Teng Gallery 

Till 24 June 2017

Free Admission.

This exhibition of art works produced during the period of the Indochinese and Vietnam Wars  (1945 – 1975) draws from the one of the largest privately held collections of the genre.  The collection, which is on a long-term loan to NUS Museum, also includes depictions of Vietnam’s cross-border conflicts with Cambodia and China (1976 – 1986). The works were collected by Dato’ N. Parameswaran during his appointment as Ambassador of Malaysia to Vietnam, stationed in Hanoi, between 1990 – 1993. These were the middle years of Doi Moi, the period of Vietnamese economic reforms begun in 1986 that aimed at bringing about socialist market liberalisation.

Exhibition Brochure

[Image: Detail from Tran Mai, Doi Moi Going Forward (1991), Printed poster on paper, 78 x 54.5 cm, Collection of Ambassador Dato’ N. Parameswaran. Used by permission of Dato’ N. Parameswaran. All rights reserved.]

Chinese Ink Works from Lee Kong Chian Collection of Chinese Art
Lee Kong Chian Gallery 

NUS Museum

Free Admission.

The Chinese ink works in NUS Museum’s collection uses works from the Qing Dynasty as a starting point to introduce viewers to the general history of Chinese ink traditions. The display invites the viewer to look beyond the form to explore the evolution of Chinese ink in Chinese art history, as well as its development outside the mainland, particularly in the Southeast Asian region, through paintings made by Singaporean artists, from the Nanyang Style to the contemporary. The current display also highlights the pioneering achievements of Singaporean artists in their innovation of a longstanding art form.

[Image: Lim Tze Peng, Colour Calligraphy: Tranquil Heart, c. 2000, 106 x 106cm, Gift of Linda Neo in honour of Lim Tze Peng.]

Five Trees Make A Forest | Donna Ong

11 March - 28 October 2016

Archaeology Library, NUS Museum

The exhibition offers an insight into the various stages involved in the production of tropical landscapes for visual and pedagogical consumption through a dialogue between Donna Ong’s overall project which draws attention to and complicates colonial tropes of the forest, with a focus on colonial paintings and illustrations including the works of Charles Dyce from the NUS Museum’s collection.

Donna Ong refers to the “tropics” through an interpretative synthesis of scientific journals, travelogues and illustrations initiated by the colonial voyages from the 18th to 20th century. In Five Trees Make a Forest, the lithographic reproductions on display are from the artist’s personal collection of antique prints and photographic images of the tropics, acquired from her travels abroad. Within the discourse on tropical landscapes, these works expand the field of the continuing projection of the colonial view with Ong’s dialogue with the Charles Dyce collection. The collection bears 35 watercolour paintings and a 22-page handwritten manuscript that illustrates Dyce’s voyage and residence in Singapore, Malacca, Penang and Batavia in the mid-19th century English settlement.

The exhibition convenes the different modes of colonial representation in abstracting the lived tropical landscape – from its imaginings to the relations of the spectator-artist as an active agent in it.

Exhibition brochure.

[Image Credit: Detail from Donng Ong, Five Trees Make A Forest, 1896, Antique original lithograph, 19.5 x 25.8cm]


Till 24 Dec 2016

Free admission
NUS Museum 

Taking as its points of departure J.G. Ballard’s novel Concrete Island (1974) and Tan Pin Pin’s film 80km/h (2004), this project features works and documents guided by the metaphor of Singapore as a “concrete island”. It proposes to think of this city as less a built environment, than a condition of movement, exchange, and intensities. The project disperses into several formats all at once: a prep-room exhibition space; a publication reader; an experimental reading programme; a bus tour along the Pan Island Expressway; a mobile cinema programme. This prep-room space at the NUS Museum functions as a site for the ongoing accumulation of materials generated out of this project.  

Current contributors to the project include Luca Lum, Tan Pin Pin, Tse Hao Guang, Jason Wee, Geraldine Kang, Fiona Tan, Ho Rui An, Anca Rujoiu, Amanda Lee Koe, Kathleen Ditzig, Liao Jiekai, Vanessa Ban, Lai Chee Kien, and Kent Chan. 

The CONCRETE ISLAND reader is also available for purchase at S$23.

[Image: Still from Tan Pin Pin’s film 80km/h, image courtesy of artist.]

Sheltered: Documents For Home

Till 27 March 2016

NUS Museum

Free Admission

Co-organised between the NUS Museum and SDE, this exhibition grows out of the participating alumni’s responses to the architectural essay film 03-FLATS, conceptualized by Dr Lilian Chee (Architecture, SDE) and directed by filmmaker Lei Yuan Bin (

The title of the exhibition acknowledges that home remains an ambivalent practice of place-making — between the roofs over our heads and the ground beneath our feet — and a conditional transaction between security and uncertainty; familiarity and alienation. Ranging across the mediums of photography, architectural drawing, and installation, projects featured in this exhibition are attempts to trace the assumptions and habits we hold when it comes to Singapore’s domestic urban landscape, particularly as one shaped largely by public housing schemes.

Click to access press release

Vietnam 1954 – 1975: War Drawings and Posters
from the Ambassador Dato’ N Parameswaran Collection

26 June 2015 – 21 April 2016
Ng Eng Teng Gallery, NUS Museum

Free Admission

Vietnam 1954 - 1975 features the collection of Dato' N Parameswaran, an effort which commenced while he was Malaysia's Ambassador to Vietnam from 1990 to 1993. Comprising posters, woodcuts and drawings from the French phase of the Indochina war of resistance against the Americans, and drawings and sketches of life and people at the frontlines, the collection is an important documentation of the Vietnamese response to the war and its perspective of history that is usually remembered through international reportage and popular culture.

2015 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War.

Exhibition Brochure 

"There are too many episodes of people coming here..." [projects 2008 - 2014]

30 April - 15 May 2016
NX1, NUS Museum

Free Admission

An exhibition about exhibitions, it brings together a group of artworks, artefacts and documentations drawn from projects organised by the NUS Museum between the years 2008 to 2014. Together, they can be considered highlights of recent curatorial projects; but importantly, they are assembled to prompt considerations into ways of working, and the broader relationships between objects, subjects, and authorial control or the lack of it. Many of these projects were also devised along encounters that drift between discipline and heuristic impulses, and as such render readings or positions dependent on negotiations and play.

The exhibition title is based on the words of Wak Ali, a custodian of a Muslim shrine that once stood on the banks of the Kallang River. It is at once an affirmation and a lament about the potentials of a site that may transform the individual regard, and the very contingency of positions on immediate experiences and commitments. An exhibition can only harbour meanings that are provisional and conditional, if it is to be an active site for a public with an active agency. Is this our purpose? If so, what of institutional methods and practice?

Image: Detail of 200 Milliseconds of Malayan Light, Erika Tan, 2013.

Scholars & Ink
Artists from NUS and the Alumni

23 April - Aug 2015
Lee Kong Chian Gallery, NUS Museum

Free Admission

Scholars & Ink features artists from the extended community of the National University of Singapore, graduates and academics across faculties of the University. The title of the project plays on the association Chinese ink has long had with a literati culture in Chinese history. Scholars & Ink proposes ways of seeing modern and contemporary ink painting through the classical "Six Principles" and "Six Essentials" of Chinese ink paintings espoused by Xie He (479 - 502) and Jing Hao (c. 855 - 915) respectively. The diversity of artistic approaches, highlighted by their purposeful and varied references to ink conventions and contemporary strategies, is significant as an entry point into the longstanding ink tradition and its practice today, marked by simultaneous continuities and transformations.

The Singaporean artists featured in the exhibition include: Dr Tan It Koon (BSc (1st Class Hons), PhD, MCB), Dr Ho Chee Lick (Snr Lecturer, Dept of Chinese Studies), Yeo Shih Yun (BBA, 1998), Hong Sek Chern (MA, SEA Studies) and Ling Yang Chang (BA (Econs), 1987).



The Library of Pulau Saigon

27 March - 14 February 2016
Archaeology Library, NUS Museum

Free Admission.

The Library of Pulau Saigon presents new works by artist Debbie Ding created in response to the state of existing literature on Pulau Saigon – a former islet located along the Singapore River until its complete assimilation into the main island in 1990. Trading books and libraries for tools, machines and the heuristic space of a laboratory, the artist has produced a speculative island of archaeological artefacts/ambiguities to be situated within the NUS Museum’s Archaeology Library. Given the paucity of information and public records on Pulau Saigon, this exhibition may be regarded less as an attempt to reconstruct the past of the islet, than a means to project further questions about Pulau Saigon and what it might continue to hold for us. This project grew out of the artist’s earlier work on the Singapore River.


Archaeology Library

NUS Museum

Free Admission.

The Archaeology Library is a project which brings together finds from past and newer excavations in Singapore and Asia. The objects are on loan from institutional and private collections. A significant proportion are artefacts excavated or gathered by archaeologist Dr John N. Miksic since 1977, and includes a vast range of pottery discovered at archaeological sites from Fort Canning (Singapore) to Changsha (China). As finds from the pre-colonial and colonial periods, they sample the materials produced and used in Singapore and beyond. Further, as part of an evolving body of artefacts, they provide a glimpse into the dynamics between material culture and history, and its making.

OPEN EXCESS | Prep-room

January - 15 May 2016
NUS Museum

Free Admission.

Beginning from a collection of books and publications donated to the NUS Museum by art historian TK Sabapathy, Open Excess is a prep-room initiative dealing with the question of the library, the role of publications, accessibility, and visibility/transparency in relation to the region of Southeast Asia and its discourse.

Open Excess is also a working project that anticipates the collection’s eventual consolidation into the Museum’s Resource Gallery at large.

Chinese Ink Works from Lee Kong Chian Collection of Chinese Art
Lee Kong Chian Gallery 

January 2015 onwards
NUS Museum

Free Admission.

The Lee Kong Chian Gallery of Chinese art will reopen after renovation in January 2015, with a new feature in the gallery: a long-awaited area for the permanent display of the Chinese paintings and calligraphies in the NUS Museum’s Chinese collection. The Chinese ink works in the Museum’s collection comprise mostly works from the Qing dynasty period (1644-1911), but there are a couple of exceptional handscrolls from the Ming Dynasty period. Using works from the Qing Dynasty as a starting point to introduce viewers to the general history of Chinese ink traditions, the permanent display is conceived to go hand in hand with the Scroll and Paper Study Room in the new Resource Gallery on the top level of the Museum, catering to both visitors with a love of Chinese art, and to researchers and scholars with more specialist interest. Along with the more classical ink works are also displayed examples of modern Chinese ink work movements, and paintings made by Singapore and Malaysian artists, from the Nanyang Style to the contemporary.

Image left: David Kwo, Village, 1992, 61 x 51cm, Collection of NUS Museum
Image right: Ju Lian (1828 – 1904), Album Leaf of Fan, Collection of NUS Museum

Curating Lab: Phase 03

8 January – 8 February 2015
NUS Museum

Free Admission.

Curating Lab: Phase 03 presents three exhibitions put together by participants of Curating Lab 2014 working with a selection of artists: Song-Ming Ang, Chun Kaifeng, Amanda Heng, Kim Lim, Matthew Ngui and Shubigi Rao. Situated in tandem with one another, the exhibitions may be seen as a constellation of divergent views and curatorial interests glimpsed from the works and practices of these six artists. Building upon the potentials of multiple perspectives that these three exhibitions point towards is also the very porousness of exhibitions themselves in facilitating such encounters between one another.

Archaeology Library

September – 16 November 2014
NUS Museum



The prep-room is a space where curatorial and research processes are encountered in its evolving form. This temporary display is set up to explore ideas and themes for the upcoming refresh of the archival square situated within the Lee Kong Chian gallery at the Lobby level. The archival square will host the Archaeology Library, which will bring together finds from many parts of Southeast Asia and China. Collected by Dr John N Miksic since 1977, the items on loan to the Museum will attempt to provide an idea of the vast range of pottery and other materials discovered at archaeological sites from Fort Canning (Singapore) to Changsha (China).

The Archaeology Library is available for research and teaching purposes, and invites visitors to explore the history of Singapore and its connections with the region and beyond.

[Image: Gallery Impression, Archaeology Library:prep-room, NUS Museum, 2014.]

"When you get closer to the heart, you may find cracks..."
Stories of Wood by The Migrant Ecologies Project

Till 8 February 2015

NUS Museum



NUS Museum presents an exhibition featuring encounters and exchanges between the arts and sciences, between practice and research, between the inquiring subject and the object inquired. An interdisciplinary project, “When you get closer to the heart, you may find cracks” is a continued inquiry by the Migrant Ecologies Project into the human relationships to trees, forests and forest products in Southeast Asia – explored in terms of materials, metaphors, magic, ecological resources and historical agency.

[Image: Together Again (Wood Cut) Part V: EVIDENCE. Woodprint collage on paper, Lucy Davis 2014.]

Inherited & Salvaged:
Family Portraits from the Straits Chinese Collection

28 November 2013 – 6 July 2014
NUS Museum

Free Admission.


Inherited & Salvaged: Family Portraits from the Straits Chinese Collection presents over fifty painted and photographed portraits donated to NUS Museum. Originating from individual and family collections, and others acquired from antique and ‘karung guni’ dealers, the portraits date from the 19th to early 20th centuries and capture some of the earliest visual representations of Peranakan Chinese in Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. Through this assemblage, the exhibition explores early portrait making industry in the region, the social and cultural context sustaining such artistic patronage, and contemporary motivations in collecting and preserving these works.

Exhibition brochure

[Image: Portrait of a Man in Blue Mandarin Robe and Lady in Black Baju Panjang and Yellow-Orange Sarong with Brown Designs, Unsigned, c. 1890, Indonesia, Oil on Canvas, 54 x 39 cm. ]

In Search of Raffles’ Light
An Art Project with Charles Lim

24 October 2013 – 27 April 2014
NUS Museum
Free Admission.



Attempting to remember histories attached to sites related to Singapore’s seas, In Search of Raffles’ Light is an interdisciplinary project guided by the Raffles Lighthouse (estd. 1854) as an evolving metaphor to chart how and where history intersects with the present. Responding to a series of correspondence which outlines the beginnings of a maritime museum in Singapore following independence from the British, this exhibition presents new works developed by Singapore artist Charles Lim, and mobilises everyday objects, museum artefacts, archival texts and maps, photographs, paintings and prints that range from the national to the personal, the archaeological to the biological, and the historical to the present. Understood in this light, the exhibition may be seen as a polyvocal attempt at illuminating the complexities between contemporary practice, museums, and their cultural artefacts.

[Image: Raffles Lighthouse, 1959, Lim Chuan Fong]

Recent Gifts
Works and Documents of Lim Mu Hue and Jimmy Ong

12 October 2013 – 20 July 2014
NUS Museum
Free Admission.


The Recent Gifts exhibition presents a modest selection of works acquired from two artists, the estate of the late Lim Mu Hue (1936 – 2008) and Jimmy Ong (b. 1964). While Ong’s Chinatown Suite brings together sketches completed between mid-1980s and early-1990s, Lim’s body of work presented were completed over a broader period beginning in the late 1950s. These works are accompanied by supporting materials including photographs, personal artifacts, and other documentations. Collectively they form a growing body of resources that facilitate research into the artists and their practices, Singapore art, and their contexts.

[Image: (Top) Jimmy Ong, Chinatown Suite XXI: 5, “30 Minutes” - Self-portrait, 1985, Ink and charcoal on paper.
(Bottom) Lim Mu Hue, Bukit Timah Quarry, 2003, Woodblock print, 66.5 x 52.5 cm)]

Kebon Indah:
Mintio & Kabul, Kelompok Batik Tulis Sido Luhur, Collaboration

27 September 2013 – 31 January 2015
NUS Baba House
Free Admission. Visits are by appointment only.



This exhibition presents the Malam Di Jari Kita series of batik and cyanotype print artworks arising from the collaboration of two contemporary artists, Samantha Tio (Mintio) and Budi Agung Kuswara (Kabul), and batik makers of the Sido Luhur group from the central Javanese village of Kebon Indah.

Batik is a cultural icon of Indonesia and research on this textile art has centered on symbolisms and production techniques. Relatively less is known of the industry’s workforce who are mostly women working from their homes. Portraits of the batik makers taken by Mintio are printed on cotton fabric with a process known as cyanotype. The images are set against a backdrop of motifs designed and executed by the ladies from the batik group. The combination of portraiture and batik patterns creates an association between the sitters and their profession, at the same time bringing attention to their skill and giving recognition to the crucial role they play in the industry.

Exhibition brochure

[Image: Mother & Daughter: Mbah Medi & Ibu Winarni, 2012, Indonesia Cyanotype with beeswax on cotton. 145.6 x 104.5 cm (left) 144.5 x 102.7 cm (right)]

Taiping Tianguo

7 September – 3 November 2013
NUS Museum
Free Admission

Taiping Tianguo explores actual and concrete, as well as tenuous or even possibly non-existing connections between four artists in New York in the heady years of the 1980s and the early 1990s. While Ai Weiwei, Frog King Kwok, Tehching Hsieh, and Martin Wong are “Chinese,” they hail from different places, contexts, and lineages and are situated in wildly divergent art historical narratives and discursive matrices. The artists’ New York years have been discussed with certain degrees of mythologization, and this exhibition ventures to propose an alternative narrative to those that disregard the artists’ personal connections in favor of a city, nation-specific, or formalist history. It suggests a possibility of thinking about a casual community and network of acquaintances that brought these artists together, thus contributing to a critical reading of these early years of Chinese contemporary art prior to the era of globalized contemporary art.

Exhibition brochure

Archiving Apin

Works and Documents from the Mochtar Apin Collection

31 August – 29 September 2013
NUS Museum
Free Admission

Assembling a selection of sketches, prints, and paintings, coupled by documents and materials lodged in the house of the late Mochtar Apin (1923-1994) in Bandung, Indonesia, the exhibition revisits the thoughts and practice of Apin as artist and teacher. Known as a major figure of Indonesian modern art, in particular his association to post-War developments in Bandung, Apin's journey through the colonial, revolutionary, and post-independence history of Indonesia prompt ways in locating the question of artistic agency in relation to the broader discourses of nation, identity and modernity.

Between Here and Nanyang:
Marco Hsu’s Brief History of Malayan Art

Till 3 September 2016
NUS Museum

Free Admission.


In 1963, Marco Hsu, art critic and regular columnist who contributed articles about the history of Art in Malaya, published a series of essays on the cultural history of the people of the Malayan Peninsula, which were compiled into a book published in Chinese in the same year, A Brief History of Malayan Art. Through his analysis of the development of art history in Malaya and Singapore, Marco Hsu raised questions of Malayan identities and culture for the young nation. The NUS Museum presents the exhibition on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication, and the Museum will use art and artefacts referred to by Marco Hsu to highlight questions of identity and nation building raised on the eve of an anticipated political development of significance: the creation of a merged, independent nation.

[Image: Marco Hsu’s 1963 Chinese publication, 马来亚艺术简史, A Brief History of Malayan Art.]

Come cannibalise us, why don’t you?’ | Erika Tan

Till 4 May 2014
NUS Museum

Free Admission.



Emerging from an ongoing discussion between NUS Museum curators and artist Erika Tan since 2009 about the heterogeneous potentials of the museum object, the colloquially titled ‘Come cannibalise us, why don’t you?’ is an artist-installation that re-visits and adapts artefacts and writings from the exhibition Camping and Tramping Through The Colonial Archive: The Museum in Malaya (2011-2013) alongside newer artworks developed by the artist that include film, sculpture and works on paper. The guiding principle being a form of aesthetic cannibalism, speculative in its method and oscillating between formats, the site-specific installation reveals the contingent rules and contextual considerations of the colonial museum in Malaya as it came to be framed in the 19th century and the particular interpretative technologies and translationary mediums that continue to murmur a discourse in the contemporary postcolonial present.

[Image: Erika Tan, Jail Museum Mirror, Digital Print, 2013, Artist Collection]

Textures, Tones & Timbres: 
Art of Chong Fahcheong

Till 28 April 2013
NUS Museum

Free Admission.


This exhibition presents the recent works of sculptor Chong Fahcheong. While the artist’s public artworks are characterized by the figurative and shared social memory, this collection of recent works explores his continuing fascination for materials and their potentials. Chong's formal approach intertwines personal experiences, both concrete and intuitive, and sense of place; the compositions are informed by journeying, layered with notions of home and impermanency. It is a "process of rambling", finding ways of making sense, constantly negotiating the natural environment and urban sprawl, interacting with materials and encountering a variety of sensations and experiences. Accomplished mainly in stone and wood, and on occasions made from bronze, the works are simultaneously familiar and abstract, providing glimpses of everyday objects and communicating Chong’s reflections on life.

[Image: Chong Fahcheong, Dune Seat, 2011, Marble, 175 x 132 x 45cm]


Your Voice Is Mine 

Till 21 April 2013
NUS Museum

Free Admission.

 As a form of cultural production that communicates gestures and values, Your Voice Is Mine is propositioned as an agent for raising dialogue, exploring narratives and channeling alternate positions. Lodged between artist, curator and locale of the Museum, it may also be experienced as an attempt at examining these processes within the premise of ‘transcultural collaboration’ – a concept that is experiencing renewed impetus in contemporary art circles since the 1990s. Here, communication rests at the heart of things, where the very act of transmission may be considered something that contributes to the positioning and controlling of the audience in a given space, at times ephemerally highlighting the difficulty and collusion of translation, at other times understood as a literal attempt at realizing context(s) external to the Museum.

Your Voice Is Mine features works by artists Makiko Koie, Fuyuki Yamakawa, Shun Sasa, Takayuki Yamamoto, SHIMURAbros (Yuka and Kentaro) and Motohiro Tomii, created through their encounter and research on Singapore’s social and cultural histories. It is presented at the Lee Kong Chian Gallery of the NUS Museum, a space that features the Chinese Art Collection from the Lee Kong Chian Museum, supplemented by ceramics from the South and Southeast Asian Collection and the archaeological collection of Dr. John Miksic.

It is the final installation of the OMNILOGUE series of exhibitions that began in 2010 and is part of The Japan Foundation’s initiative to foster curatorial exchanges between Japanese artists and curators with collaborators from the Asia Pacific region. Your Voice Is Mine is preceded by Alternating Currents (PICA, Perth, 2011) and Journey To The West (Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, 2012).

[Image: Makiko Koie, From the series G, Kr-1, 2008, C print mounted on Plexiglas, 73 x 100cm, Artist Collection]

 Exhibition Brochure

ROAD MOVIE – Road To Singapore

Till 20 July 2014
NUS Museum

Free Admission.

SHIMURAbros, a sister/brother duo of Yuka (b. 1976) and Kentaro (b. 1979), are interested in the history of cinema and the deconstruction of cinema as a medium, utilizing various forms of films and incorporating sculpture and installation to create new expressions of imagery that prompt the somatic senses of the audience.

Straddling the realms between the archaeology and histories of film and the moving image, the SHIMURAbros discovered that one of the earliest films to be made in the genre of the travel film was titled Road To Singapore, a 1940 comedy flick featuring Anthony Quinn. Working with the Sherd Library of the Lee Kong Chian Gallery, the artists focus on the archaeological materials of Dr. John Miksic and produce a video-based installation using plastic crates that are used to house the archeologists’ shards. ROAD MOVIE – Road to Singapore is a film that follows the trajectory of movement recorded as a shadow of the moving subject, opening a site where contemporary audiences can (re)live the feelings of the archaeological object and the people related in its history.

ROAD MOVIE was originally presented as part of OMNILOGUE: Your Voice is Mine, an exhibition which featured six contemporary Japanese artists working with themes related to Singapore. It was co-organised by The Japan Foundation and NUS Museum from 19 January – 21 April 2013.

[Image:Gallery Impression, SHIMURAbros Road Movie – Road To Singapore, video installation, plastic crates/size: 340x110x85cm, NUS Museum, 2013]

Curating Lab 
Phase 3

Till 3 February 2013
Goodman Arts Centre

Weekdays: 4pm - 8pm
Weekends: 12pm - 8pm

For more info, please click here

Free Admission.

 Curating Lab: Phase 03 consists of three exhibitions presented by the participants of the Curating Lab 2012 programme. Beginning with a curatorial-intensive designed as a workshop, followed by internship assignments and a regional field trip, participants were guided by facilitators and mentors in the preceding phases, working towards the presentation of this final exhibition project.

Curating Lab: Phase 03 draws attention to histories and the artifactual, their relationships and disjunctions, and the curatorial mediations that condition their production and consumption; to prompt provisional readings and trajectories of inquiries.



Dressing the Baba:
Recent Donations of Portraits

Till 31 July 2013
NUS Baba House

Free Admission.

This exhibition features a selection of late 19th to early 20th century portraits of individuals and couples from ethnic Chinese backgrounds who were domiciled in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. As recent donations, the display surveys portraiture, its functions, and ideas it may convey. Significant to such enquiry is the projection of identities informed by gender, ethnicity and economic status, and the conventions of portrait making that facilitate such projections. Presented at NUS Baba House, previously the residence of a Peranakan Chinese family, the exhibition complements ways of encountering the cultural histories of the Straits Chinese, explored through portraits and their proposed contexts.

[Image: Gallery impression, Dressing the Baba: Recent Donations of Portraits, NUS Baba House, 2012]

Exhibition brochure

Biography of a Public Sculpture
Salvaging and Conserving

Re-opened on 2 Dec 2014
NUS Museum

Free Admission.

The murals Asian Symphony and Tropical Rhapsody were made by Singapore sculptor Ng Eng Teng for the Garden Hotel in 1971. Prior to the demolition of the hotel in 2010, the murals were salvaged and donated to NUS. They are now installed at the National University Health System Building and NUS Museum respectively. This display of images and artefacts along the Conservation Corridor records the process of surveying, dismantling and re-installing the murals.

Sculpting Life: The Ng Eng Teng Collection

Until 29 Nov 2015
NUS Museum

Free Admission.

Presented as an open storage and second in a series of permanent exhibitions on artist Ng Eng Teng, Sculpting Life brings together a range of works that facilitate a mapping of the artist’s history and his explorations. Gathered are early pieces completed during his formative years at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Singapore), Stoke-on-Trent College of Art (UK) and as a ceramic designer in Ireland from the late 1950s and 1960s; early explorations in ceramics and ciment fondu that foreground the mature phases of his practice; and seminal sculptural pieces that marked his importance among a generation of Singapore artists emerging during period of the 1960s. Documentations, drawings and maquettes will accompany the selection, providing an expansive view of his practice. The exhibition is also devised to prompt a mapping of themes and conceptual concerns of the artist. Significant among these, explorations into the human condition through an evolving articulation of the human form and their emotive potentials, and by doing so, he invests into them oblique and direct references to questions of self and identity.

[Image: Ng Eng Teng, Fright (detail), 1979, Ciment fondu, paint, lacquer, NUS Museum Ng Eng Teng Collection]

 Exhibition brochure

106 Joo Chiat Place: 
The Ng Eng Teng House

Till 30 June 2013
NUS Museum

Free Admission.


The Ng Eng Teng House, located at 106 Joo Chiat Place was also known as ‘Studio 106’. It was not only the home of Singapore sculptor Ng Eng Teng, but was also used as his workplace until his passing in 2001. It was then turned into a residency space for artists and later acquired by a developer. Architecturally known as a panggung house, it is one of the remaining few of its kind in Singapore. This exhibition, as a laboratory that invites multiple readings and speculations, features an accumulation of objects as found and collected from the house, placed alongside archival documentation such as newspaper articles and images relating to and of the artist Ng Eng Teng.

[Image: Gallery impression, 106 Joo Chiat Place: The Ng Eng Teng House, NUS Museum, 2012]


Familiar Spaces Untold Stories: Encounters with Ipoh

Till 26 August 2012

Free Admission

This exhibition arises from a two week long trip to the West Malaysian town of Ipoh by twenty students from the University of Malaya (UM) and the National University of Singapore (NUS). They conducted studies of the city’s heritage, assessed its current state of development, and carried out detailed investigations on four shophouses – a trade house, a Sinhalese bar, a charcoal vendor’s shop and a seamstress’ modern shophouse. The cultural and social fabric of this former ‘Tin Capital of the World’ and its architectural heritage are exhibited in the form of sketches, drawings, photographs and models.

This is a project from the UM-NUS Joint Studio Programme started in 2005 in conjunction with the centenary celebrations of the two Universities. The first exhibition entitled ‘Re:Claiming Heritage’ was presented at NUS Museum in 2009. This was followed by ‘Tracing Taiping’ (2010) and ‘Narrating Muar’(2011).

Since its inception, the programme has been funded by the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation.

Semblance / Presence:
Renato Habulan and Alfredo Esquillo Jr.

29 June 2012 to 13 January 2013
NX Gallery, NUS Museum

Free Admission

Combining Jose Rizal's "Quiapo Fair" (first published 1891) and artworks produced by artists Renato Habulan and Alfredo Esquillo Jr., the exhibition traces the life-worlds of Plaza Miranda, which fronts the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church), one of the main churches of the City of Manila. Considering how Plaza Miranda acts as a site for numerous interests, ranging from political and cultural discourse to established traditions of fortune telling, the exhibition connects both artists and their materials to not just as something being observed, but also to the conditions of their observations, where the very act of observation becomes an end that at once implicates but also detaches. By some oblique process, presence also becomes semblance, leading to question, if any act of observation can ever remain unmediated.

[Image: Renato Habulan and Alfredo Esquillo Jr., Mga Hinirang (Chosen People), film still, 2012.]

Shared Heritage: "As We See It"
A Travelling Exhibition

11 May 2012 to 13 June 2012
NX Gallery, NUS Museum
Free Admission

"Shared Heritage: As We See It" is an exhibition on ideas, stories, and images relating to cultural heritage. Borne out of a workshop that comprised students from both Asia and Europe, the theme of cultural heritage is explored and presented through visuals, interspersed with textual elements drawn from their discussions on the theme.

In presenting on the theme of cultural heritage, we encounter its varying elements through ideas, stories, images, and the sensorial, invented in unique ways across the multi-varied cultural and historical landscapes. The result is an exhibition that invites the viewer to engage with shared heritage as seen by the participants themselves.

This exhibition is organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation and NUS Museum.

Rupal Shah | Tautology of Memory

23 April 2012 to 6 January 2013
NUS Museum

Free Admission.

Tautology of Memory is a single channel video shot by artist Rupal Shah at the archaeological site of Ajanta in Western India.* The display is mediated through the multiplicity of voices that define an archaeological site, including the echoes of the tour-guide focusing on the murals and frescoes, constantly alluding to and reifying popular perceptions; the artist partializes this reification by employing her child’s exploration of the caves.

Simultaneously, curatorial interventions first engage with colonial India’s foremost architectural historian, James Fergusson’s publication Rock-Cut Temples of India, a detailed and systematic documentation of Ajanta containing the photographs by another nineteenth century military-surveyor Robert Gill; and second with a 1927 newspaper report which applauds a decade-long documentation project undertaken by an art school student, Syed Ahmad at Ajanta.

Evoking ironies, paradoxes and humour which descend on history and its sites, acutely choreographed between text, fragment and aesthetic, juxtapositions made playful with comments on colonial and postcolonial mappings of archaeological heritage, one is compelled to ask, does Ajanta lend itself for official surveys, archaeological scholarship, artistic projects or the heritage-making industry? What remains asserted, what has been reclaimed?

[Image: Gallery impression, Rupal Shah | Tautology of Memory, NUS Museum, 2012]

PRINTS prep-room

8 February 2012 to 30 June 2012
NUS Museum
Free Admission

A space exploring the woodblock print medium as the subject and material for production, dissemination and consumption; Reproduction of prints by Choo Keng Kwang, Foo Chee San, Koeh Sia Yong, Lim Mu Hue, See Cheen Tee, Shui Tit Sing and Tan Tee Chee are made available for teaching and learning.

Click here to download the worksheets for Primary school.

Click here to download the worksheets for Secondary school.

Family Intimacies

Till 8 April 2012
NUS Museum
Free Admission


Family Intimacies by photographers Anderson & Low is a visual documentation of Edwin Low's global family. While the project serves as a tribute to the Low family, it brings into light the different themes of memory, place, and identity.

Using photography as the main medium of discourse, this exhibition introduces not just ritualistic and site-specific content – portraits of family members in respective homes; places in China; ethnographic images of a funeral procession – but also displays the process of 'unpacking' the family as a concept – its stories, memory, archival photos – and how this alludes to larger themes of memory and history-making.

Family Intimacies also mirrors our understanding and thus consumption of how we begin to view our own family trees. In mapping out the Low family tree, this exhibition features the personal and the conceptual facets of what make up the idea of 'family', both in the present and in the remembering.

Calendars 2020-2096

Till 12 Feb 2012
NUS Museum
Free Admission

Calendars (2020-2096) comprises of 1,001 images of deserted public interiors in Singapore photographed over a span of 7 years (2004-2010). It signals specific concerns of Heman Chong's practice, one that can be located in the intersection between time, space and situation. The 'archive' of images, set within the premise of how one marks time, generates an imaginary meandering within the interiors of Singapore, a city that is constantly being remade, often appropriating signs and styles from a wide spectrum of influences.

Based on a series of revisitations to the public spaces that Chong has a prior relationship to - shopping centers, museums, MRT stations, schools - the artist carefully frames the spaces without attempting to add any new meaning to the space. No permission was requested for any of the photographs captured, nor any prior arrangement was made to have it devoid of people.

Thus, the photographs veer less towards the staged, but rather can be seen as ready-mades. Yet this appropriation very quickly transmutes into another creature: one of fiction and narrative. The project can be viewed in its entirety as a novel about interior spaces, as well as, a historical (also a kind of imaginary fiction) document of interior spaces.

Writing Power: Zulkifli Yusoff

Till 19 Feb 2012
NUS Museum
Free Admission

Regarded as a pioneer of installation art in Malaysia, Zulkifli Yusoff's Writing Power looks at how historical texts affect cultural memory and understandings of nationhood. Exploring how history can be made relevant to contemporary times, Zulkifili's artistic renditions draw upon the fascinating and complex relationship between the visual and the written - leading his audiences to ponder, if it matters not-knowing what art means, who made it, when, what's it called, or how to approach it?

Writing Power is held as a companion to the ongoing exhibition Camping and Tramping Through the Colonial Archive: The Museum in Malaya, which explores the rise of the museum and themes on the archives in British Malaya from the 19th century onwards and how contemporary practitioners may lay claim to it.

[Image: Zulkifili Yusoff, Pelayaran Munsyi Abdullah (detail), 2003, Mixed Media. Aliya and Farouk Khan Collection]

Camping and Tramping Through the Colonial Archive:
The Museum in Malaya

Till 2 June 2013
NUS Museum

Free Admission.

This exhibition traces the rise of the Museum in British Malaya from the 19th century, not just as an indicator of power over what was considered as the exotic but also as an acknowledgement of the advent of the Museum that led to a broader project of knowledge gathering and ordering.

[Image credit: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research Collection. Photo by Nurul Huda]

The Sufi and the Bearded Man:
Re-membering a Keramat in Contemporary Singapore

Till 28 July 2013
NUS Museum

Free Admission.

This exhibition re-members the keramat of a 19th century Sufi traveler from the Middle East who lives on in contemporary Singapore through her miracles and her shrine which was recently removed. Re-membering the keramat has involved a two-year long project of collaborating with Ali, an intermediary of the Sufi and custodian of the masoleum referred to by fellow devotees as "the bearded man". These conversations culminated in the keramat and its life-worlds entering a museum, a transition animated by the display of photographic evidence, material remains or artifacts, anecdotal histories and related documents. Considering alternative ways to recount and understand heritage, The Sufi and the Bearded Man, calls attention to devotional culture, lesser-heard narratives and esotericism in Singapore.

[Image credit: Nurul Huda, Singapore 2010]

Exhibition brochure

Working the Tropical Garden

Till 6 Nov 2011
NUS Museum
Free Admission

Asian Symphony, Ng Eng Teng's largest known public mural measuring 1.8 x 9 m, was commissioned for the Garden Hotel in 1971. Conceived in an era when Singapore was beginning to emphasise environmental planning as the key to sustainable development, the mural is an idealised expression of man's synergistic relationship with nature. It was recently donated to the NUS Museum and is now installed at National University Health System building at Kent Ridge.

This exhibition brings together working sketches and a maquette which were part of Ng's preparatory work for the mural, as well as other materials which elucidate the artist's articulation and treatment of the figure. The displays complement the Museum's permanent exhibition Sculpting Life: The Ng Eng Teng Collection, allowing a survey of key thematic and formal interests which the artist had explored since the 1960s.

[Image: Ng Eng Teng, Asian Symphony (detail), 1971, Ciment Fondu]

Click here for the exhibition brochure in PDF format.