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Rediscovering Treasures:Ink Art from the Xiu Hai Lou Collection | Courtesy of National Gallery Singapore
Rediscovering Treasures:Ink Art from the Xiu Hai Lou Collection | Courtesy of National Gallery Singapore
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Where to Find Chinese Ink Art in Singapore

Picture of Prianka Ghosh
Updated: 22 April 2017
Take a glimpse into the past through Chinese ink art, one of the first artistic movements to emerge from Singapore. The development of the Chinese ink movement in Singapore can be identified through the use of Eastern and Western techniques paired with many clearly local scenes.

For a quick introduction to Chinese ink art, visit the Lee Kong Chian Gallery inside the National University of Singapore (NUS) Museum where they display works from the Qing Dynasty. The collection at the NUS Museum has been curated with the aim that visitors will not just learn the history behind the tradition but also how the style developed through time, across Southeast Asia.

Chinese painting from 1664 by the Qing Dynasty painter, Kun Can | WikiCommons
Chinese painting from 1664 by the Qing Dynasty painter, Kun Can | WikiCommons

Once you’re ready to delve deeper into the world of Chinese ink art, head to the National Gallery Singapore which recently kicked off three exhibitions on the genre that will be running until the end of this year. The gallery will be showing over 200 paintings to provide a comprehensive journey of the style’s evolution in Singapore.

Strokes of Life: The Art of Chen Chong Swee | Courtesy of National Gallery Singapore
Strokes of Life: The Art of Chen Chong Swee | Courtesy of National Gallery Singapore

The National Gallery Singapore is proud to present Rediscovering Treasures: Ink Art from the Xiu Hai Lou Collection, the first time this extensive collection has been exhibited in a national museum. This collection includes valuable, rare works by some of the top artists in the field. The collection comes from the painstaking work of Teochew businessman Yeo Khee Lim who spent over four decades building his collection.

Rediscovering Treasures:Ink Art from the Xiu Hai Lou Collection | Courtesy of National Gallery Singapore
Rediscovering Treasures:Ink Art from the Xiu Hai Lou Collection | Courtesy of National Gallery Singapore



Another exhibition, Wu Guanzhong: A Walk Through Nature presents viewers with a diverse range of Chinese ink paintings. Guanzhong found inspiration for his work through his travels and presents stunning landscapes that he saw while traveling in China. Finally, Strokes of Life: The Art of Chen Chong Swee is a collection of Chen Chong Swee’s paintings spanning his six-decade career. He was one of the first in Singapore to use the technique and through his work, presents a history of Singapore from its pre-Independence days of the 1950s through the development and social strata of the 1980s.

Yulong Mountains at Sunset | Courtesy of Wu Guanzhong
Yulong Mountains at Sunset | Courtesy of Wu Guanzhong



Alongside these three exhibitions, the National Gallery Singapore will concurrently host a series of events to help increase interest and participation in the exhibition. Curious and burgeoning artists will love the complimentary program at the Gallery Cart practising their Chinese ink techniques and calligraphy with seemingly disappearing ink and many other interactive events for parents and children alike. Serious art lovers should look out for the Art Talks, information sessions held by Associate Curators Grace Tng and Jennifer Lam on their experiences curating Strokes of Life and Rediscovering Treasures respectively.

Admission: Free for Singaporeans and PRs, $20 for non-Singaporeans

1 Saint Andrew’s Road, #01–01, Singapore, +65 6271 7000