Diary of an NUS Museum Intern: Eunice Lim

Note: Diary of an NUS Museum Intern is a series of blog posts written by our interns about their experiences during the course of their internships. Working alongside their mentors, our interns have waded through tons of historical research, assisted in curatorial work, pitched in during exhibition installations and organised outreach events! If you would like to become our next intern, visit our internship page for more information! 


Eunice is a third-year Global Studies student at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. As our Exhibition Management and Curatorial Research Intern, Eunice assisted her supervisor, NUS Museum curator, Foo Su Ling, in exhibitions and curatorial projects. 

Curation comes
from the Latin word curare
which means to care.
To care is to be intrigued:
letting questions cascade into questions
brewed after periods of poring over texts
woven with slow conversations in sun-lit studios

To care is to maintain and protect:
watchful eyes on skittish kids
careful fingers adjusting temperatures
the crinkle of acid-free paper around frames

To care is to give attention to details:
the weight of a shadow at this angle
floodlight or spotlight? LED or non-LED?
please hold the end of the tape for me
To care is to have a fondness for
art, artists and art-goers
following through each tentative step
in a dedicated, delicate process where
intricate webs of heads and hands
converge into constructed experiences
like a feverish alchemist
picking and pouring precise portions
of precious elements into a gurgling pot
melting and mixing to precipitate

I applied to the NUS Museum with the intent of discovering the workings of a museum. Having worked at a commercial art gallery as an assistant before, I was curious to find out how the experience would differ within an entirely different institutional structure and aims.

When I told my friends I’d be working on a single exhibit over the three months of my internship, most of them gasped in disbelief – you mean this much work goes into it? Yes. Frankly, I used to share the same sentiments as them. As art-goers, there is a tendency to only notice the art and neglect the presentation of the art. After this stint however, I can’t help but view exhibits in a different light.

But what’s your job scope exactly? That’s the next follow-up question which gets me tongue-tied. Mainly, I help my curator, Su Ling, and artist, Shih Yun, with everything that’s needed to make the exhibit happen. I’ve trawled through books and articles on the art world and abstract expressionism to formulate questions for the dialogue in the exhibit catalogue; helped Shih Yun to get materials and scan the marks on her studio floor; meet other artists to discuss the possibility of a performance on the opening night; collected and moved the works to the gallery... How do I classify or label such work, that is far from straightforward or neat?

During the week of installation, as we stood there in the gallery amongst the works, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of awe at this culmination of all our prior preparations. By our, I mean every person who had a hand in it, be it the printing, photographing, publicizing, handling or designing and so on. The lone artist is a myth – artists cannot exist in isolation and art, to me, is not complete with the final brushstroke, but when it is communicated to and received by the viewer. Artists have to be bridged to the wider audience; this process of facilitating interpretations, enhancing appreciation, and spurring further conversations is a complex and tedious one I’m grateful to have witnessed and gained insights into. 


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