The inaugural edition of National Gallery Singapore’s Children’s Biennale saw the Gallery being transformed into an immersive playscape filled with interactive artworks, installations and activities over the four-month period that it was running. The Children’s Biennale, which drew to a close yesterday, exceeded expectations having attracted over 286,000 visitors. The positive response amplified the Gallery’s success in bringing high-level artworks that have the capacity to embrace the public and offer art that connects both the child and the adult.

Visitors gradually obliterated Yayoi Kusama:The Obliteration Room with colourful dot stickers to eliminate the traces of the original white room.

While it was a Children’s Biennale, it saw visitors of all ages both local and tourists, coming together and interacting with the art through questioning, reflecting and sharing their perspectives, thoughts, dreams and stories. The artworks were created with accompanying activities and ideas for discussion that aimed to spark the imagination of young minds, and at the same time, provide bonding opportunities between parent and child.

“We are encouraged by the overwhelming response to our inaugural Children’s Biennale – especially hearing the positive feedback from our visitors who made multiple trips to the Biennale. The Gallery is always looking at ways to inspire young learners and nurture an interest in the arts from a young age and the Children’s Biennale showcased how art can be fun, inspirational and educational to both the child and the adult. By leveraging the whole museum as a place for learning and extending the art experience into the public spaces, it allowed us to engage with a wider audience as they come to appreciate the Gallery as a place to experience art beyond the confines of traditional exhibition spaces,” said Ms Suenne Megan Tan, Director, Audience Development and Engagement.

The Obliteration Room Timelapse Video Video copyright of National Gallery. Video link:

Live Doodle Jam_Full Video_CTA2 from Artitute on Vimeo. Video copyright of National Gallery. YouTube link:

Bringing Art Out to the Communities

The Gallery wanted to continue inspiring parents and children to use arts as a medium to encourage children to continue dreaming – not just for the art aficionados, but also the man-in-the-street. With this idea in mind, the Gallery took the opportunity to extend the reach to the communities by collaborating with the National Library Board to do a LIVE Doodle Jam at locations around Singapore. The Doodle Jam championed children’s dreams and their stories by involving them in the process – with illustrations being drawn as the children spoke about their dreams and stories. The children’s dreams were brought to life on giant murals at each of the four heartland locations – Jurong, Pasir Ris, Bishan and Clementi. Drawing plaudits from many participants for integrating art into the community, it ended with a final iteration of the LIVE Doodle Jam which happened at the Gallery together with the murals from the heartlands being featured as well.

Visitors taking in Tran Trong Vu’s artwork, The Sonnet in Blue – a sprawling labyrinth of handmade flowers with poems and stories by children from Southeast Asia written on their petals.
All the artworks such as Singapore artist Chng Seok Tin’s, Being Yourself, presented bonding opportunities between parent and child.

Gallery Children’s Biennale featured ten interactive artworks created by artists from Singapore and beyond. This was complemented by an array of activities and workshops, that was held throughout the Biennale. Taking place once every two years, the theme of this year’s edition, Dreams & Stories was premised on the belief that every child is creative – everyone dreams and has stories to tell. The Gallery Children’s Biennale, ran from 20 May to 8 October 2017.

The inaugural Gallery Children’s Biennale was made possible with the support of Singapore Tourism Board and Tote Board.



Images and videos by National Gallery Singapore