Gillman Barracks (GB) – Singapore’s visual arts cluster – turns four this September and presents its 4th Anniversary Celebrations on 23 and 24 September.
Taking Stock of the Past Year
Gillman Barracks’ 4th Anniversary caps off a special year for the cluster, which has welcomed new tenants Australian gallery Sullivan+Strumpf, art organisations Playeum’s Children’s Centre for Creativity and Art Outreach, design retailer Supermama and F&B establishments Creamier and Handlebar.
From a predominantly gallery cluster at the beginning, Gillman Barracks now boosts a broadened mix of 11 art galleries, a contemporary art centre with a large exhibition space and seven residency studios, two art intermediaries, one designer studio and seven F&B options. This broadened tenant offerings has helped to bolster the cluster’s core art content, attract new target audiences and enhance visitor experience.
To sustain and strengthen this development, in April this year, a Gillman Barracks Programme Office (GBPO) has been jointly set up by the NAC and the EDB to boost place-making, programming and content creation for the cluster.
Gillman Barracks continues to be part of major festivals and events in Singapore’s arts and cultural calendar, including Singapore Art Week and Singapore HeritageFest.
5th Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF): Gillman Barracks plays host to two key exhibitions from the home-grown biennial photography festival which is in its 5th edition this year. A festival highlight, Roger Ballen’s Menagerie (20 September to 16 October) is an exhibition by the critically acclaimed South African photographer, who is exhibiting for the first time in Southeast Asia. Origin (23 September to 16 October) is an Associate Programme is the 4th edition of the Tokyo International Photography Competition Winners’ Exhibition, which features works by 8 photographers from around the world exploring the notion of ‘origin’. In conjunction with the Festival, Gillman Barracks galleries such as Sundaram Tagore Gallery and Mizuma Gallery have also come on board to present photography exhibitions.
Venice Biennale Singapore Pavilion: Over the next few months, Gillman Barracks also plays host to the artist studio of Venice Biennale’s artist Zai Kuning (September to February 2017). There will be opportunities for visitors to preview Zai’s work in progress at the studio space during selected guided tours and special workshops, before both artist and installation leave for the Venice Biennale in March 2017. This would be the first time in Singapore that the public can get a glimpse of the work of a Venice Biennale’s artist, before it is presented at the prestigious international platform.
Singapore Biennale 2016: Gillman Barracks will also feature an outdoor installation work ArteFACT (27 October to 26 February) by Singapore artist Francis Ng as an Affiliate Programme of the Singapore Biennale 2016. The work explores the concept and issues of space within the context and effects of urbanisation in Singapore, and has an audience-participatory element.
Supermama Porcelain Festival: Gillman Barracks’ newest tenant, local design platform and retailer Supermama, will launch its inaugural Supermama Porcelain Festival (16 September to 31 October) at Gillman Barracks. Inspired and influenced by the porcelain culture in Arita, Japan, the Festival hopes to introduce porcelain as a medium in the design of giftware, homeware and objet d’art. At the Festival, Supermama will present exhibitions ARITA 400 and Vessels and the platform Singapore Selection. It will also launch Supermama Design Mart x Arita Porcelain Deadstock Sale, all featuring Japanese and Singapore makers, creatives, designers and more.
Public Art: Singapore artist Speak Cryptic has been commissioned to create a series of murals to draw out the historic elements of the former military barracks. The cluster will also launch its signature Public Art Trail during Singapore Art Week in January 2017 featuring outdoor sculptures, installations and 2D works by international and Singapore artists.
Gillman Barracks will host a double bill of open house events over two days to celebrate the cluster’s fourth anniversary. Gillman Barracks’ signature Art After Dark event returns on Friday evening 23 September, with exhibition openings at Ota Fine Arts, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, ShanghART Gallery and Yavuz Gallery; special programmes at NTU CCA Singapore and Art Outreach, official launch of the Supermama Porcelain Festival, live music acts and visual projections by musician Vandetta and audio-visual collective Syndicate, a rock music performance by Chinese artist Zhang Ding, F&B pop-ups, a pop-up book store by Basheer Graphic Books, an official after party by at Red Baron featuring DJ collective Darker Than Wax and more.
The festivities continue the next day with the family-friendly Art Day Out! on Saturday afternoon 24 September. There will be artist talks, open studios of NTU CCA Singapore’s Artists-in-Residence, family-friendly art activities at Playeum, Art Outreach and Timbre, live mural painting by Singapore artists including Speak Cryptic, docent-led guided tours by the Friends of the Museums (FOMs) and a Farmers’ Market and Jamaican BBQ street party at Red Baron.