If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s the importance of community.

Singapore’s arts scene understands that best — it’s now coming together for a new initiative titled “Proposals for Novel Ways of Being.”

The massive project involves 12 art institutions and independent art spaces across the country, who will showcase a series of exhibitions and programmes — both online and offline —  reflecting on the global pandemic and the possibilities of “new normal”.

The initiative is spearheaded by the National Gallery Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum, two of the biggest institutions in the local arts scene.

Dr. Eugene Tan, director of both museums, shared, “As national art institutions, we ask ourselves how we can… engage and support members of the art community, and how we can highlight the role that art can play in times of crisis such as the current pandemic.”

Proposals for Novel Ways of Being includes institutions such as the National Museum of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) ADM Gallery, the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (NTU CCA Singapore) and STPI.

The initiative will also see the participation of homegrown independent art spaces and collectives, namely Coda Culture, Grey Projects, INTER-MISSION, soft/WALL/studs and The Substation.

The Substation, Singapore's first independent contemporary arts centre, is one of the participants of the new initiative. (Photo credit: The Substation)
The Substation, Singapore’s first independent contemporary arts centre, is one of the participants of the new initiative. (Photo credit: The Substation)

As part of the initiative, each participating gallery has enlisted an independent guest curator to propose exhibitions involving up to 15 Singapore-based artists. These can showcase new commissions or existing works, as well as talks, performances and other public events.

Coda Culture, for example, will be presenting works using found objects. NTU CCA Singapore’s exhibition, meanwhile, leans toward the experimental, highlighting artists who create with sound, movement and performances. National Gallery Singapore, known for shining the spotlight Southeast Asian art, will be championing a diverse range of rising contemporary artists.

Inside Coda Culture, an independent arts space founded by local visual artist Seelan Palay in 2018. For the initiative, it will feature an exhibition of works using found objects.  (Photo credit: Coda Culture)
Inside Coda Culture, an independent arts space founded by local visual artist Seelan Palay in 2018. For the initiative, it will feature an exhibition of works using found objects.
(Photo credit: Coda Culture)

Proposals for Novel Ways of Being kick starts this month, and will run through February 2021. Details on the upcoming exhibitions and projects will soon be shared, but you can find out more at the National Gallery Singapore website.

The initiative is an optimistic effort from Singapore’s arts scene which, together with other local creative industries, has lost over S$30 million this year. The National Arts Council, backed by the Singapore government, has introduced the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP) in response, pumping S$55 million into local cultural organisations and practitioners.

Funding aside, the local arts scene still lacks substantial support from Singaporeans. Last June, a nationwide conversation was sparked, scrutinising the significance of homegrown artists and creatives. Hopefully, Proposals for Novel Ways of Being also proposes new ways for appreciating Singaporean art.

Header photo credit: National Gallery Singapore 

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.