Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Singapore's Gilman Barracks is Asia's newest art destination

Yayoi Kusama artworks at the Ota Fine Arts Gallery

Yesterday in Singapore, living a never-ending Travelife, I spent the morning walking around the beautiful new Gardens by the Bay, and then had lunch at Pollen, the hot new foodie destination in Singapore, that's right inside the Gardens by the Bay complex.

Installation from The Drawing Room

Then in the afternoon, we drove about 20 minutes out of the city center to the Gilman Barracks, which is an old military complex that the Singapore government has just turned into a new cultural attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Outdoor installation at The Gilman Barracks


They've given the buildings in the barracks to about 13 art galleries from Singapore and around the world (including to two galleries from the Philippines and at least one gallery from Tokyo), to display and sell contemporary art.

However the Gilman Barracks is not just a destination for art collectors. If you're interested or curious at all about the international contemporary art scene, it's a very nice place to visit as you can spend an entire day or halfday walking around and visiting galleries -- and all for free.

There are also tours on the weekends, at least until the end of November.

Art on the walls at the Michael Janssen Gallery

It had a soft opening last month so it's very, very new; and most of the galleries will only formally open in a couple of months. But when everything is set, this new complex, created out of an old one, will be Asia's most exciting new contemporary art venue.

The Gilman Barracks will also house dining and creative businesses, as well as the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Singapore that will open in 2013.



Think of a small camp filled with greenery and trees, and dotted with old, unused buildings. Then imagine that these buildings have been basically preserved outside but renovated inside, and then filled with beautiful modern, cutting-edge artworks. Then you have the Gillman Barracks.

This was what prompted us to stop
at the Michael Janssen Gallery

My first stop today was at the Michael Janssen Gallery. We stopped our car here because of the provocative artwork on the outside walls of the building that simply begged to be looked at.

Then when Pamela Ng, the gallery manager, gave us a tour inside, we found pretty mind-boggling art on the walls inside the building as well.

There were installations and also paintings and drawings on the walls. I loved it.

Art on the walls at the Michael Janssen Gallery


Then we drove over towards the other side of Gilman Barracks, where a very old building was converted into a row of smaller galleries.

This was where I found the Ota Fine Arts gallery from Tokyo's Roppongi District, which was exhibiting very colorful, new pieces by the famous Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama. We were very lucky to catch this literally breathtaking exhibit, as it's only until next week.

Yayoi Kusama artworks at the Ota Fine Arts Gallery

The Manila-based gallery Silverlens was also here, but unfortunately it was closed today.

Kawayan de Guia at The Drawing Room

I also stopped by The Drawing Room to see an exhibit of artworks by 15 Filipino artists including Australia-based Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Kawayan de Guia and Kiko Escora.

Exhibit of works by Filipino artists at The Drawing Room

What a wonderful idea from the Singapore government, and what a great way to breathe new life into something old.

Scroll down to read more about what's inside the Gillman Barracks...

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Click here to order a copy of our Oct-Nov 2012 issue
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Equator Art Projects
Post Gallery
Future Perfect
Michael Janssen Gallery
Mizuma Gallery
Ota Fine Arts
Partners & Mucciaccia
Shanghart Gallery
Space Cottonseed
Sundarama Tagore Gallery
The Drawing Room
Tomio Koyama Gallery

From The Drawing Room

Timbre @ Gillman
The Naked Finn

Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
Yellow River Arts Centre


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