Among the glistening skyscrapers of Singapore are a number of cultural venues where you’ll find a diverse choice of exhibitions to visit this winter.
The city state in Southeast Asia is best known as a global financial centre, but it’s also home to both incredible world heritage sites and a sprinkling of museums that celebrate the history of the island and the region as a whole. If you’re planning to visit Singapore this winter and would like to check out any exhibitions during your stay, we’ve picked out 10 of the best running through the next few months.
Manila Galleon: From Asia to the Americas
For centuries, Spanish ships laden with porcelain, silk, spices, and other goods sailed annually across the Pacific from Manila to Acapulco, returning with millions of pieces of silver. Featuring over 140 works of art from the 16th to 20th century, this exhibition reveals how people, goods, and ideas circulating through the global port cities of Manila and Mexico City created a distinctive shared cultural and artistic heritage. Looking at Manila as a precursor of Singapore, it reflects the unique qualities of Singapore’s own blended society and the important role port cities have played in artistic and cultural exchanges that shaped the world.
Asian Civilisations Museum / Through 17 March 2024
UNBOX Presents: Aspirations of the Visually Handicapped
This exhibition showcases the extraordinary artistic talents of visually impaired artists from the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH). Created as part of the museum’s UNBOX programme, it features a diverse range of artworks, including canvas paintings and art pieces, all created by artists who have overcome their visual limitations to produce evocative works of art – and incredibly – possess no formal training in painting. The broad theme of the exhibition is the essence of the seasons, starting with ‘Autumn’ on display, before paintings inspired by ‘Spring’ and ‘Winter’ go on rotation every two months until April 2024.
MINT Museum of Toys / Through April 2024
Mars: The Red Mirror
Capturing our imagination like no other planet, Mars has fascinated humanity for millennia. First shown in Barcelona in 2021, this exhibition turns its lens to Asia, tracing Mars’ ancient imprints in China, India, and Japan, and celebrating the legacy of pioneering Asian astronomers. Featuring over 300 objects, including rare scientific manuscripts, historical artefacts, and even an authentic Martian meteorite, the exhibition also provides a glimpse into Mars’ portrayal in Southeast Asian pop culture, and features work from Singapore’s Space Faculty, who champion space technology’s transformative potential in Asia.
ArtScience Museum / Through 7 April 2024
Tropical: Stories from Southeast Asia and Latin America
The first large-scale museum exhibition to take a comparative approach across two regions united by their shared history of colonialism, this display traces how artists from Southeast Asia and Latin America forged connections and nurtured solidarities, defiantly reclaiming their place within the story of art. Comprising over 200 paintings, sculptures, prints and immersive installations, the exhibition spans the entirety of the 20th century in its efforts to raise awareness and understanding of the two regions’ colonial past – and how art has intersected it over the years.
National Gallery Singapore / Through 24 March 2024
3D: Printing the Future
Recent advances in 3D printing mean that more people than ever can make their ideas real. Split into two distinct sections, this exhibition asks viewers to imagine a world without limits, where any object can be produced at the drop of a hat. The first section focusses on the many different types of 3D printer, from basic home models to sophisticated industrial machines, each building objects in layers, and highlights how 3D printing is driving innovation in the field of medicine. The second section explores how 3D-printed parts are already being used in medicine as well as applications that are only at a research stage.
Science Centre Singapore / Permanent
Death by Man
This photographic investigation and documentation of Singapore’s wildlife through a journaled obituary by artist-photographer, Jasvic Lye, showcases the array of animals that call Singapore home – and those that are, sadly, no longer around. Through evocative visuals and narratives, it sheds light on the plight of wild animals that have perished due to human activities and rapid urbanisation, encouraging people to recognise the value of each animal’s life and to reflect on humans’ relationship with urban wildlife.
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum / Through April 2024
Ho Tzu Nyen: Time & the Tiger
Spanning two decades of his multidisciplinary works on history, myths and identities, this exhibition trace the endeavours of acclaimed Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen. It explores Nyen’s practice that has produced a wealth of paintings, films, theatrical performances, and video installations, often drawing from historical events, documentary footage, art history, music videos and mythical stories to investigate the construction of history, the narrative of myths, and the plurality of identities. The exhibition also features a new commission, a video installation that reflects on the embodied and heterogeneous experiences of time.
Singapore Art Museum / Through 3 March 2024
Textile Masters to the World: the global desire for Indian Cloth
This exhibition spotlights the historic global impact of textile production in India, and its role in the trade of cultural exchange between India and regions such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe from the 14th to 19th century. Featuring a selection of exquisite garments and textiles, the exhibition offers insights into this highly favoured medium of trade. From fashion and furnishing, to gift exchanges and heirlooms, visitors can marvel at the artistry and craftsmanship of early textile masters, and discover how Indian textiles cross-influenced local designs, materials and fashions wherever they were traded.
Asian Civilisations Museum / Through winter 2023-24
Singapore’s only sports-dedicated museum, the Singapore Sports Museum is home to an array of interactive exhibits, rare artifacts and memorabilia dedicated to telling the stores of Singapore’s sporting legends. Among its permanent exhibitions is Collective Dream, which explores how sport is a universal language – one that unites people from all walks of life. The gallery showcases memorabilia that celebrates our collective love of sport and the organisations that make sporting events possible.
Singapore Sports Museum / Permanent
Future World: Where Art Meets Science
Among the ArtScience Museum’s permanent exhibitions is Future World, which invites viewers to immerse themselves in a world of art, science, magic and metaphor through a collection of digital interactive installations. Created in collaboration with teamLab, a renowned international art collective, the exhibition is divided into two sections – City in A Garden and Exploring New Frontiers – each designed to open a world of playful possibilities through the adventure of exploration
ArtScience Museum / Permanent