Review: Gallery Children’s Biennale – Dreams and Stories at the National Gallery Singapore

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This school holiday, don’t just send your kids to tuition; head on down for a mix of both fun and education at the inaugural Gallery Children’s Biennale at the National Gallery!

Running from from now till 8 October, the first ever Gallery Children’s Biennale is chock full of fun for the whole family. Themed Dreams and Stories, the exhibition features both international and local artworks and workshops for all ages.

Workshops are either free to register for or ticketed. Tweens can participate in workshops where they can learn new art techniques, while entire families can learn together with artist Vincent Leow. As for the more educationally inclined, parents can participate in a forum with a panel of educators and artists about the role of museums in cultivating curiosity in children.

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As for the biennale itself, there are over 10 exhibitions specially curated for the gallery over the biennale period, ranging from Robert Zhao’s zoologically inclined photography to Tran Trong Vu’s intricate maze of handmade flowers with stories and poems inscribed on them. These exhibits are well thought out pieces that are accessible to both kids and adults that will infuse all with a newfound appreciation for art.

Some of our favourite pieces from the biennale are as follows:

Yayoi Kusama’s The Obliteration Room

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Famed for her obsession with dots, Yayoi Kusama has entered the public conscious with her memorable works such as her dotted pumpkins or the visually mesmerising mirror rooms. The Obliteration Room at first appears bereft of her usual colour and whimsy, as seen in the photo above, but in fact, is an opportunity for visitors to interact and make their own contributions to the artwork by pasting dotted stickers onto the blank white room to add a dash of life to the otherwise boring set.

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teamLab’s Homogenizing and Transforming World

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Having done an amazingly Instagram worthy exhibition at the ArtScience museum some time back, teamLab is back for more otherworldly light shenanigans as you navigate a labyrinth of orbs that change colour and emit sounds as you touch them. Of course, very nice for photos.

Mark Justniani’s Firewalk: A Bridge of Embers

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Mark Justniani’s fascinating bridge allows viewers a glimpse into the infinite depths of the excavations of the former Supreme Court Building. Absolutely mesmerizing.

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Over at the gallery’s Level B1 ticketing counter and the family desk at the Keppel Centre for Art Education, pick up a Gallery Children’s Biennale Art Pack for just $5. The pack includes an awesome rainbow pencil, a series of activity cards accompanying Lynn Lu’s performance art works, a sheet of colourful dot stickers for Yayoi Kusama’s The Obliteration Room, and more to keep your child entertained and engaged with the artworks throughout the trip.

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At the exhibition’s opening on 20th May, Guest of Honour and Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mr Tan Chuan Jin said “The National Gallery is a public space we should embrace and spend time together at. Art is open to interpretation, gets us thinking and reflecting. Everyone and anyone should be participating in these activities, and is the perfect place for families to come together and enjoy.”

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What’s more, The National Gallery is equipped with museum ambassadors versed in sign language and attentive to those with special needs, allowing literally anyone and everyone to access the museum’s facilities. There’s absolutely no reason not to spice up your school holidays this year with a trip down to the inaugural Gallery Children’s Biennale!

The Gallery Children’s Biennale takes place from 20th May – 8th October at the National Gallery Singapore. General admission rules apply. For more details on the full programme, check out their website here

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