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On the Wall: Top exhibitions in December 2014

Craving a healthy dose of art and culture? Read on for the best exhibits in Singapore’s museums and galleries this month, from the legacy of Leonardo da Vinci’s earlier Mona Lisa to a modern Singaporean take on Renaissance masterpieces.



Can’t Get Enough Leo
This month, we have the exciting opportunity to view Leonardo da Vinci’s Earlier Mona Lisa, thought to be a portrait of a younger Lisa del Giocondo, and the precursor to the world-renowned Mona Lisa masterpiece at the Louvre Museum in Paris. As the first public viewing of the painting, this exhibition promises an interactive, multi-media experience in which visitors, equipped with audiovisual tablet guides, can journey through the Italian Renaissance, navigate the exciting discovery of the painting and explore evidence that demonstrates its attribution to da Vinci – in fact, there are nine galleries to explore before coming face to face with the piece itself. See it from 16 December to 11 February 2015 at The Arts House at the Old Parliament, 1 Old Parliament Lane.



Viva Singapura
Sure, you live here, but how much do you really know about Singapore’s history? Well, now’s your chance to learn more. Take advantage of the National Museum’s exhibition, Singapura: 700 Years, which provides an in-depth look at Singapore’s transformation through the ages and all of its defining moments, starting as far back as the 14th century – from its beginnings as a humble fishing village to its current status as an independent nation-state. Consisting of six sections spanning seven centuries – Archaeology in Singapore, Ancient Singapore (1300–1818), Colonial Singapore (1819–1942), Syonan-To (1942–1945), Road to Merdeka (1946–1965) and Independent Singapore (1965–1975) – the immersive exhibition uses multimedia and technology to create an interactive, educational experience. See it until 10 August 2015 at the National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road. Open daily from 10am to 6pm.



Sunday in the Park with Eugene
This month, Chan Hampe Galleries presents Renaissance City, a solo exhibition by Eugene Soh, featuring a new series of works that parody the daily experiences of Singaporeans in a materialistic society. To do so, Eugene playfully appropriates the visual styles and compositions of famous masterpieces in the context of contemporary Singapore. One such piece, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Singapore, is an homage to the famous 1884 Pointillist painting, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte, by Georges Seurat; infused with the artist’s light-hearted sense of humour, the print combines elements of everyday life with imagery that’s uniquely Singaporean.

“Many things have changed since the 19th century when the original Sunday Afternoon by Georges Seurat was painted,” Eugene says. “Communication and transportation has quickened, with phones and aviation – I wanted to address those changes while reflecting upon current social developments and create an image that was recognisably Singaporean.”

Shot on multiple Sunday afternoons since January this year, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Singapore features everyday people enjoying a weekend outing at Upper Peirce Reservoir.

“There are many elements and characters at work in this piece, each representing a different narrative in Singapore’s events,” he says. “The arrangement was crucial for creating a strong and balanced composition, interesting enough to invite the viewer into the details where some narratives reside.”

See Renaissance City from 11 December to 4 January at Chan Hampe Galleries, 328 North Bridge Road, #01-21 Raffles Hotel Arcade.