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Art in Singapore: Must-see exhibitions and shows in May 2014

Looking for a spot of art and culture in Singapore this May? Read on for EL’s round-up of must-see art shows and exhibitions around town.

An iconic shot of Leonardo DiCaprio 

Inside Look at a Living Legend
The life and works of Annie Leibovitz, one of the most celebrated American photographers of all time, can be seen in the exhibition, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990 – 2005. Featuring over 200 photographs, the critically acclaimed retrospective provides a special, inside look at Annie’s private life, set against the backdrop of her public image. Find out what happened when we took a tour of the famous photographs with Annie herself.

On display are some of the most iconic of her fashion photographs and legendary portraits of actors, directors, musicians and public figures, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Scarlett Johansson, Nicole Kidman and, most famous of all, a pregnant Demi Moore circa 1991; there are also landscape photographs and coverage of significant world events including the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s.

At the heart of the exhibition is Annie’s personal memoir documenting some of the most meaningful moments of her life, such as the births and childhoods of her daughters, family vacations, friendships and the loss of close relatives. See it until 19 October at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands.

Accessible Art

Back for Seconds
Art lovers, collectors and novices alike can rejoice! Back by popular demand, the Affordable Art Fair returns to Singapore this month for a special May edition, after a successful run in November. Offering a diverse range of contemporary artworks from both established and emerging international artists, the Fair features a variety of media including painting, photography and sculpture. All artwork will be priced from $100 to $10,000, with 75 percent of the pieces under $7,500. 23 to 25 May at F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard.


Something for Everyone
Here’s another chance to decorate your walls, no matter your budget. Online gallery The Artling offers a curated selection of artworks from some of the top galleries and artists around Asia. Featuring a combination of well-known and rising artists, The Artling’s aim is to make their art available to an international audience, and highlight the talent in the region. Works range from $150 to $11,500, and can be shipped globally. The site also offers home interior design services to help you find the perfect piece.


Aboriginal Art
To celebrate its ten-year anniversary in Singapore, ReDot Fine Art Gallery, in conjunction with Spinifex Art Project, presents Spinifex Tiukurpa, an exhibition of over 30 solo and collaborative artworks by men and women of the indigenous Spinifex community in Australia’s Great Victoria Desert. Known for their boldly coloured “dot” paintings, this Aboriginal group tells stories of ownership and land rights through their canvas works, which challenge viewers to question notions of indigenous art and its position in the contemporary art world. See it from 14 May to 21 June at ReDot Fine Art Gallery, 39 Keppel Road, #01-05 Tanjong Pagar Distripark.


Dolled Up
In his latest solo exhibition, Puppet State, presented by Art Seasons Gallery in conjunction with Srisasanti Gallery, Indonesian artist Gatot Indrajati uses wood and dolls as main components for his political comment. He views the doll as both icon and victim – a metaphor for becoming someone else’s toy – and gives new life to each. See Puppet State until May 10 at Art Seasons Gallery, 1 Selegie Road, PoMo #02-21/24.


Food for Thought
Conceived by creative design studio Chemistry, Makan Matters explores Singapore’s obsession with food and consumerism through a showcase of products, art pieces and other visuals. The exhibition highlights issues like food wastage and environmental protection – the effects of Styrofoam da bao (take-out) containers, for example – and our relationship with makan (food). See it from 13 to 25 May at Artistry (17 Jalan Pinang), a hybrid gallery-café in Kampong Glam.

Explorations of humans and nature


Natural and Material
In his new exhibition Zen Flies Over, Tasmania-based Chinese artist Ping Chen blends contemporary brushstrokes with ancient Chinese calligraphy and folk art to explore themes of spirituality and the relationship between humans and their environment. The underlying focus here is China’s landscape changing from natural to material, and how this transformation has affected the country’s connection to its spiritual past. Ping’s oil-on-canvas works juxtapose a destructive, modern China with a beautiful, untouched Tasmania. See it until 29 May, presented by Art Equity at the Australian High Commission, 25 Napier Road.

Disrupted Spaces
Singaporean artist Sherman Ong is known for examining the human condition and our interactions with others in a larger, uncontrolled setting. In his latest exhibition, Spurious Stories from the Land and Water, which includes a short film and two photography series, Monsoon and Spurious Landscapes, he addresses climate crises and uncontrollable forces – monsoons, humidity, draughts, storms and accidents – in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. Sherman’s works portray our relationships with a fluid environment, as human figures are seen overwhelmed by the changing nature of space – hiding and protecting themselves, for example – while others carry on with their daily lives even as the elements are violently unleashed around them. See it until 31 May at Third Floor at Art Plural Gallery, 28 Armenian Street.