Aug 05, 2023

The Grand Gallery of Singapore

NOW, let me tell you why I want to write about one of the august buildings around the Padang of Singapore, a historic place and ceremonial ground in that island republic. Padang means field in Bahasa Melayu, and the building I am referring to is the National Gallery Singapore, the only gallery and museum outside of our archipelago that regularly and consistently presents to the world works by Filipinos. Dr. Eugene Tan, the director, is a brilliant but humble and self-effacing man who has given Filipino artists the chance to show their prodigious talents in Southeast Asia's First World economy.

Clarissa Chikiamco, a Filipina, is the curator there who helps bring Philippine art to the world and who is completely immersed in the study of art, from dawn to dusk. She is a famous face, regularly appearing in social media to broadcast what the National Gallery Singapore has that we should be appreciating here. A recent addition is Patrick Flores who joined the National Gallery as deputy director of Curatorial and Research; our loss but Singapore's gain. Patrick is a well-known curator here in the Philippines; he has a PhD, was a professor and former chairman of the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines.