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Artist and Empire: (En)countering Colonial Legacies

National Gallery Singapore ‘s  (NGS) latest new exhibition in collaboration with the Tate Britain opened last night. Artist and Empire: (En)countering Colonial Legacies is an exhibition which looks at art associated with the British Empire and how it has been represented and contested through time.Artist and Empire: (En)countering Colonial Legacies adopts a contemporary perspective to critically examine art produced in relation to the colonial experience, and the rise of modern art in former colonies in the Asia Pacific region – particularly Australia, Brunei, India, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. Also included in the Singapore exhibition is a special focus on Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, a key colonial figure who is regarded as the founder of modern Singapore.

George Francis Joseph  Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles 1817 Collection of National Portrait Gallery, London © National Portrait Gallery, London

George Francis Joseph, Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, 1817, Collection of National Portrait Gallery, London
© National Portrait Gallery, London

The exhibition was originally developed for Tate Britain in London with a slightly different bent. Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past debuted at London’s Tate Britain in November 2015 and had a more British-centric perspective. For this edition , NGS curators have reshaped the exhibition for Singapore with new loans from British collections and other lenders, including artists.

Johan Zoffany, Colonel Mordaunt’s Cock Match, c. 1784-1786, Tate Collection Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, the Friends of the Tate Gallery and a group of donors 1994 © Tate, London 2016

Johan Zoffany, Colonel Mordaunt’s Cock Match, c. 1784-1786, Tate Collection Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, the Friends of the Tate Gallery and a group of donors 1994
© Tate, London 2016

Tang Da Wu You see No Sunset on your soil, I saw your Son Sat on my paddy field 1986 Collection of National Gallery Singapore Image courtesy of National Heritage Board

Tang Da Wu, You see No Sunset on your soil, I saw your Son Sat on my paddy field, 1986, Collection of National Gallery Singapore Image courtesy of National Heritage Board

 

Cheong Soo Pieng Two Sisters 1964 Collection of National Gallery Singapore Image courtesy of National Heritage Board

Cheong Soo Pieng, Two Sisters, 1964, Collection of National Gallery Singapore, Image courtesy of National Heritage Board

 

Andrew Gilbert British Infantry Advance on Jerusalem, 4th of July, 1879 2015 Collection of the artist © Tate, London 2016

Andrew Gilbert, British Infantry Advance on Jerusalem, 4th of July, 1879, 2015, Collection of the artist, © Tate, London 2016

The Gallery’s exhibition draws upon over 200 artworks spanning diverse regional and international public and private collections, including Singapore’s National Collection. Works range from the 16th century to the present. It has been curated by Mr Low Sze Wee, Ms Melinda Susanto, and Ms Toffa Abdul Wahed.

Guided and audio tours of the exhibition are highly recommended. There is also a 15 minute audio tour with local blogger, satirist and comedian Mr, Brown who takes the British High Commissioner on a six stop tour.

Artist and Empire: (En)countering Colonial Legacies runs from 6 October 2016 to 26 March 2017  at the Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery, Level 3, City Hall Wing. Admission is S$15 for Singaporeans and S$25 for non-Singaporeans.
For more information on the exhibition, visit www.nationalgallery.sg

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About Durriya Dohadwala (29 Articles)
Durriya Dohadwala is an independent writer on contemporary Asian art and culture. She is also a docent and enjoys facilitating the decoding of contemporary Asian art.