The maelstrom of 2020 still has the time to make one last hurrah, but November also comes bearing art offerings for us to take the edge off our collective uneasiness.

For starters, you might be making several trips to the National Gallery this month. Aside from the pair of ongoing exhibitions that it’s is showing for the Novel Ways of Being initiative, the gallery is also debuting a major retrospective of Georgette Chen, one of Singapore’s most important artists.

Through her paintings, the late Chen made the case for Singapore being “an inexhaustible fountain of inspiration and pictorial possibilities” — owing largely to its multiculturalism. Maybe that’s something we don’t appreciate enough today. An upcoming exhibition at the ArtScience Museum wants to change that. Instead of paintings, it tells the stories of Singapore through photographs, captured by familiar names like Nguan and Charmaine Poh.

Elsewhere, galleries are also exploring thought-provoking themes about art in today’s world, from the significance of colour to the value of artists. All these complex questions, which are a reflection of the times, are yours to consider. Put your thinking cap on and check out our round-up of must-see art exhibitions in November.

Header photo credit: Art Porters Gallery

1
Offline Colour

As you read this on a screen, take note of how you perceive the colours on it. Do they excite you? Did you even notice them? With all the digital imagery that we consume, it’s likely that the colours we see hardly stimulate us anymore. Art Porter Gallery’s “Offline Colour” is an invitation to rediscover colour, through the abstract paintings of artists Jamie Tan and Jamie Teo. Although the two Jamies have different ideas of how colours affect us, both encourage viewers of their work to slow down and examine the nuances that can’t be captured on a screen.

(Photo credit: Art Porters Gallery)

Address
64 Spottiswoode Park Rd, Singapore 088652
Website
Ends
9 December 2020
2
The Third Force

Abstract art always makes for a good source of contemplation, and you’ll find plenty to mull over at Delphine Rama’s first solo exhibition at Cuturi Gallery. For “The Third Force”, the Belgian artist created acrylic paintings with geometric forms (thank her love for architecture) and bold colours, each of which represent her own inner conflicts. Still, they are very much open to your interpretation.

(Photo credit: Delphine Rama, courtesy of Cuturi Gallery)

Address
61 Aliwal Street, Singapore 199937
Starts
7 November 2020
Ends
29 November 2020
3
Precious Things

Picking up on the thread started by Novel Ways of Being, an island-wide art initiative exploring the impact of the pandemic, Coda Culture is presenting “Precious Things”. The art exhibition looks at, well, art, and how its value has been perceived during the global crisis. It’s curated by Seelan Palay, founder of the independent art gallery, and features an array of artists, including Maisarah Kamal, Genevieve Leong, Jeremy Hiah, Tang Da Wu, Tang Mun Kit and writer Syed Muhammad Hafiz.

(Photo credit: Coda Culture / Facebook)

Address
67 Aliwal Street, Singapore 199942
Starts
21 November 2020
Ends
12 December 2020
4
Margins: drawing pictures of home

Who gets to call Singapore home? And what does that really mean? That’s something to think about when you check out ArtScience Museum’s upcoming showcase, which is held as a part of the Singapore International Photography Festival.

“Margins: drawing pictures of home” dives into the stories of Singapore from all corners of the country, with a spotlight on the people who are often forgotten. Like the migrant community, whose histories and lives are explored through the tender lens of 15 photographers, including Nguan, Zakaria Zainal and Charmaine Poh.

(Photo credit: John Clang, courtesy of ArtScience Museum)

Address
6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974
Starts
21 November 2020
Ends
28 February 2021
5
Georgette Chen: At Home in the World

What is it like being one of the only female painters in an art scene dominated by men? Georgette Chen knew, as she arrived to Singapore in the 1950s, having already made a name for herself in Paris and New York.

National Gallery’s new retrospective of Chen — the first in over 20 years — explores the rest of the story, from her contributions to the Nanyang Style movement to her influence on Singapore’s visual art education. Expect to see her most important paintings, which capture the multicultural elements of Singapore with Western art sensibilities, along with unseen archival materials.

(Photo credit: National Gallery Singapore)

Address
1 St Andrew's Road, Singapore 178957
Starts
27 November 2020
Ends
26 September 2021
Pameyla Cambe
Senior Writer
Pameyla Cambe is a fashion and jewellery writer who believes that style and substance shouldn't be mutually exclusive. She makes sense of the world through Gothic novels, horror films and music. Lots of music.