Vietnam 1954-1975: War Drawings and Posters from the Ambassador Dato' N Parameswaran Collection
25 June 2015 - 29 May 2016
Ng Eng Teng Gallery, Top Level, NUS Museum

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 Indochinese 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.

Related blogposts:

Exhibition Opening & Talk | Vietnam 1954-1975: War Drawings and Posters from the Ambassador Dato' N Parameswaran Collection


"There are too many episodes of people coming here..." 
[projects 2008 - 2014]
28 May - 15 May 2016
NX1 Gallery, Concourse Level, NUS Museum

An exhibition about exhibitions, "There are too many episodes of people coming here..." [projects 2008 - 2014] brings together a group of artworks, artefacts, and documentations drawn from projects organised by the NUS Museum between the years 2008 and 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?

Related blogposts:

Performance Lecture by Tisna Sanjaya | "There are too many episodes of people coming here..." [projects 2008 - 2014]

The Library of Pulau Saigon
27 March - 14 February 2016
Archaeology Library, NUS Museum

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.

Related blogposts:
Exhibition | The Library of Pulau Saigon


Open Excess | Prep-room
Till 15 May 2016
NX2, Concourse Level, NUS Museum

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.

Related blogposts:

Exhibition | Open Excess | Prep-room


Archaeology Library
Archaeology Library, Lobby Level, NUS Museum

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.

Related blogposts:

Exhibition | Archaeology Library
Exhibition | Archaeology Library: prep-room


Five Trees Make A Forest | Donna Ong
11 March - 4 September 2016
Archaeology Library, Lobby Level, 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 the colonial tropes of the forest, with a focus on colonial painting and illustrations including the works of Charles Dyce from the NUS Museum's collection.


Chinese Ink Works from Lee Kong Chian Collection of Chinese Art
Lee Kong Chian Gallery, Lobby Level, NUS Museum

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

Related blogposts:

Exhibition | Chinese Ink Works from Lee Kong Chian Collection of Chinese Art


Between Here and Nanyang:
Marco Hsu’s Brief History of Malayan Art
Till 28 August 2016

South and Southeast Asian Gallery, Concourse Level, NUS Museum
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.]

Related blogposts:

Exhibition Opening | Between Here and Nanyang: Marco Hsu's Brief History of Malayan Art
Foundations Talk Series | The Malayan Forum, 65 years on

Preserve/Conserve/Restore: Studies at 157 Neil Road
NUS Baba House, 157 Neil Road 

Preserve/Conserve/Restore: Studies at 157 Neil Road is an initiative which seeks to tap the under explored potential of 157 Neil Road as an asset for engaging with the disciplines of urban development and technical conservation of built heritage.

Three studies are presented to kick start the project - Archaeology, Architectural Paint Analysis and Land Development. The project is envisaged to span a period of three years, during which students, researchers and industry professionals are invited to propose ways of engaging with 157. In Preserve/Conserve/Restore, the gallery is repurposed as a laboratory in which a few studies run simultaneously. Materials presented may include field notes, test results, illustrations, images and artefacts. It is a workspace in a constant state of flux as materials are added or modified as fresh data is revealed from each investigation.
157 Neil Road, Singapore 088883
Visits are by appointment only. Heritage Tours are available on Mondays (2pm), Tuesdays (6.30pm), Thursdays (10am) and Saturdays (11pm). 

Baba House is a heritage house which facilitates research and learning about the Peranakan community and its evolution. It exhibits the community’s material culture in a domestic context, providing the unique experience of visiting a Straits Chinese family home dating back to the early 20th century. The Baba House aims to promote a wider appreciation of the Peranakan identity, history and culture, as well as architectural traditions and conservation efforts in Singapore. The Gallery on the third floor hosts temporary exhibitions featuring various Peranakan themes.

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