Culture vultures, rejoice — see the best of Singapore on these art and design tours.
Art can be an intimidatingly complex world to navigate, we’ll warrant—but it need not be. We round up six spaces to ease you into things even if you’re neither an art enthusiast nor collector, starting with history-drenched Gillman Barracks.
The former military encampment for the British Army today forms the heart of Singapore’s art enclave, with 13 galleries spread across five buildings. Getting around Gillman Barracks by foot is the best way to soak in the sights and sounds, so be sure to put on your best walking shoes before you admire contemporary pieces at Mizuma Gallery, ShanghART, Pearl Lam Galleries, Sullivan + Strumpf and FOST Gallery. After, pop by Timbre@Gillman for its famed smoked duck pizza and, more importantly, live music from homegrown acts on selected evenings.
Gillman Barracks. 9 Lock Road, Singapore 108937. For a full list of gallery opening hours, visit here.
Surrealist themes take the stage at Kult Gallery, an offshoot of the Kult brand’s attempt to showcase Asian art and the street culture scene through prints, paintings, t-shirts and tote bags. The gallery is dedicated just as much to local artists as international ones, and shows are refreshed quarterly with occasional exhibitions on specific artists. Bonus: it’s set in an old colonial house on Emily Hill, and just outside the art space is neighbourhood bar Kult Kafé with its twists on cocktail classics—so you’re set for the night.
Emily Hill. 11 Upper Wilkie Road, C2-5, Singapore 228120. +65 6338 1066. Mon-Fri 11am-7pm; Sat 1-8pm.
K+ Curatorial Space
The folks at creative agency Kinetic were on to something good when it opened the multi-concept store K+ Curatorial Space in 2016. K+ Retail offers an extensive selection of artworks, home décor pieces and literature by local labels such as BooksActually, GoodStuph and Supermama. And at K+ Gallery, you’re treated to a new exhibition every six to eight weeks, thanks to the evolving space that is dedicated to local and international artists.
Scotts Square. 6 Scotts Rd, #03-11/12/13, Singapore 228209. +65 6694 8896. Mon-Thu 11.30am-8.30pm; Fri-Sun 11am-8.30pm.
STPI Creative Workshop & Gallery
There’s more to STPI than its name. The gallery is known for holding an artist-in-residence programme that pushes artists to experiment with traditional print media. Acclaimed South Korean artist Do Ho Suh, for instance, worked with thread, lithography, etching and sketching to produce paper-fabric hybrids that were then exhibited in the gallery. STPI makes up part of the national Visual Arts Cluster of leading institutions in the region, alongside the National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum.
STPI. 41 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238236. +65 6336 3663. Mon-Fri 10am-7pm; Sat 9am-6pm.
Objectifs Centre for Photography & Filmmaking
The contemporary filmmaking and photography centre champions the works of visual artists through a host of platforms, including workshops, talks, a residency programme and courses for beginners—even photography mentorships. Beyond that, Objectifs hosts exhibitions to be admired alongside film screenings. The latter is produced by Objectif Films, the largest short film distributor in Southeast Asia, which is jointly owned by Kinema Entertainment.
Objectifs. 155 Middle Road, Singapore 188977. +65 6336 2957. Tue-Sat noon-7pm; Sun noon-4pm.
Venture into 19 stacks of shipping containers when you visit the independent space that is made for, and dedicated to, photography enthusiasts. Admire works spread across two galleries, sink yourself into scores of photobooks stocked within its intimate library, then order some café nosh before you check out Mikkeller Bar Singapore, a craft beer bar on the premises. The communal art space also plays host to the Singapore International Photography Festival. Fun fact: “DECK” is in fact an acronym that sums up the gallery’s parts: “Discovery” is about how photography transcends time and space; “Engagement” refers to sparking conversation in visitors; “Community” suggests bringing people together; and “Knowledge” conveys information.
DECK. 120A Prinsep Street, Singapore 187937. +65 6734 6578. Tue-Sat noon-7pm; Sun noon-5pm.
Contemporary Asian art has seen a boost thanks in large part to Gajah Gallery and its extensive contributions to the scene, particularly in the fields of Indonesian art and history. Past shows include Lokanat: Ground Zero, Art Stage Singapore and Intersections: Latin American and
Tanjong Pagar Distripark. 39 Keppel Road, #03-04, Singapore 089065. +65 6737 4202. Mon-Fri 11am-7pm; Sat & Sun noon-6pm.