Interactive exhibits, exposure to fine arts, a treat for one's visual senses, fun. These are some of the things a visitor to the exhibition "Art Garden: Children's Season at the Singapore Art Museum" held at SAM at 8Q can look forward to experience.
It is a farsighted idea to introduce children and young people to contemporary art in an interactive and engaging manner. The exhibits are curated in a way that encourage the family to enjoy contemporary art together. In many ways, while the targetted audience of this exhibition appears to be children and their family members, adults visiting this exhibition on their own can find the exhibition to be equally fascinating and imagination-stimulating.
Even before a visitor steps into the museum's compound, he/she will see a large rabbit PVC helium float model that seems to be inviting visitors to step into the compounds of the Art Garden. Right inside (after one pays for the admission), there is an interactive playground titled "Walter's Garden" where children are 'can learn about colours, shapes and develop psychomotor skills through play'. Please take note that shoes are not allowed in the playground. Children entering this magic-like "Walter's Garden" have to have their hands sanitised and shoes removed.
There are a number of interactive exhibits that visitors can expect to see at the Art Garden. As an adult, I have learnt about the art of animation from the works by the artist, Joo Choon Lin. For the children, perhaps they would see the same works as adventures to a fantasy world involving the protagonist, the Ringmaster, against chocolate monsters and villians.
To continue this theme of fantasy and fiction, visitors could step into Sandra Lee's "Enchanted Forest". Here, "anything can happen if you just imagined it...". If one is observant, one can even spot a Merlion diving into the sea. Nearby, families were seen making paper butterflies which they can place in the Enchanted Forest. I was impressed with the story-boards that gave the backgrounds to the various characters featured in the "Enchanted Forest".
For visitors who prefer digital media and technology, they may find Funky Forest and Daisies to be fun and interactive works of art. Daisies was designed in such a way that when the shadows of visitors are cast on the ground, the digital daisy patterns on the ground will turn pitch black in shade. I saw a number of families having a good time trying to turn the entire area of daisies to pitch black darkness.
My favourite was "Floribots" by Geoffrey Drake·Brockman. Made from origami paper flowers, I simply find it fascinating how these robotic origami paper flowers could respond to the movements in the exhibition hall and then move accordingly.
I think if I were a child, I will fall in love with all these interactive and tactile activities. More so, since most of these activities were designed to be suitable for family's participation, a trip to the Art Garden could also provide the opportunities for families to bond and to simply have fun together.
After all the hype and the laughter from the fun activities, visitors could take a relaxing break and treat their eyes to screenings of a number of short films at "The Moving Image Gallery". These films presented are for and about children. In some ways, I think adult are likely to find these short films entertaining too. I have found the music that accompanies the film to be appealing for my ears too, and was listening attentively to the music until I could not remember the storyline of a few of the films. Anyway, my point is that there are a series of various activities and artworks available at the "Art Garden" exhibition for visitors of various personalities and ages.
Till 18 July 2010, Art Garden: Children's Season at the Singapore Art Museum is one art exhibition that I recommend families with children to consider visiting if they have yet to. To add to the joy of learning about the various artworks, there are activity books designed for children available for all visitors. During the weekends, visitors could also get a chance to attend workshops and special talks in the museum's premises.
For more information, please visit the Art Garden's webpage.
Art Garden: Children's Season at the Singapore Art Museum
8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535.
Tel: (65) 6332 3222
Monday to Sunday: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. (Free admission on Friday night, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.)
The usual exhibition admission charges apply. Free admission for children aged 6 and below. Each child must be accompanied by an adult holding a valid admission ticket.