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Dale Chihuly
Credit: © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved

The best outdoor exhibitions in Singapore

A great idea for dates and groups of two

By Dewi Nurjuwita
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Art helps ground us in times of chaos. Having said that, some of us might want to stay away from enclosed spaces these days – so galleries and museums may not be an option. But over the past year, various art exhibitions have been brought outdoors. These outdoor exhibitions make a perfect idea for groups of two, too. Plan a surprise date with bae on a unique art trail around the island, take yourself on a walk around while admiring large-scale glass sculptures by a renowned artist at Gardens by the Bay or get to know the history of Jalan Besar. 

Just remember to wear a mask, stay home if you're feeling unwell, and adhere to existing social distancing measures. 

RECOMMENDED: The best public art trails in Singapore and the best virtual travel experiences from home 

Dale Chihuly
Photograph: Scott Mitchell Leen

Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom

Art Glasswork

See large-scale installations and sculptures by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly at Gardens by the Bay. From May 1 to August 1, 25 of his magnificent pieces, as well as more than 80 pedestal sculptures and two-dimensional works, will be showcased at Gardens by the Bay’s Flower Dome, Cloud Forest and outdoor gardens.

Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom is the artist's first major garden exhibition in Asia, presenting visitors with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience an extensive collection of the artist's creations. The works have been shipped directly from Seattle and installed on-site, marking the first exhibition of its scale to be hosted at Gardens by the Bay. 

Those familiar with Chihuly's works should definitely keep an eye out for majestic Setting Sun, and Moon. Visitors will see Ethereal White Persians at the Serene Garden, and Cloud Forest Persians, a study in scale and translucency which debuted in 2019 at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, in London. These large-scale works, which measure up to 10 metres in height and weigh as much as 3600 kg, were curated and designed to complement the spaces within Gardens by the Bay’s Flower Dome, Cloud Forest and outdoor gardens.

Jalan Besar, New World’s End
Photograph: OH! Stories

New World’s End

Art 85 Desker Road, Rochor

Following its "sleepwalking" digital art trail Days — and counting, OH! Open House is back on the streets to tempt you with a site-specific, multisensory walk around Jalan Besar. Titled New World's End, the Singapore Tourism Board-supported night tour is slated to officially launch on June 19, with early access preview available on weekends from May 22 to June 13. 

To amp up the fun, the audio-guided walk combines fiction and history to reveal the stories of the iconic New World Amusement Park, as well as the rich history and heritage of Jalan Besar. Set against the backdrop of the now-defunct landmark in the 1960s, it takes you down back alleys, hidden rooms and fantasy spaces where you'll uncover the secrets and romance of a pair of young lovers: cinema projectionist Kiran (voiced by Salif Hardie) and New World Cabaret dance hostess Rosa (voiced by Moira Loh).

Directed and written by theatre maven Kaylene Tan, with dramaturgical support from actress Janice Koh, the stories of New World's End are told through lavish sets designed by OH! Open House's artistic director Alan Oei, an evocative soundtrack produced by music duo NADA, and captivating films by one of Singapore's leading creatives Brian Gothong Tan.

Tickets for the official tours are available from May 24 at $35. Visit ohstories.sg for more information.

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Hall of Fame
Photograph: Visit Kampong Gelam

Hall of Fame at Kampong Gelam

Art Street art Rochor

Those familiar with urban art speak would have heard of the Hall of Fame, which refers to a space legally dedicated to street art. Some of the major cities in the world – including New York and Sydney – have said spaces where artists can work their magic. 

Southeast Asia now has its first official Hall of Fame – and it's located in Kampong Gelam. The newly minted Hall of Fame is Kampong Gelam's latest addition to the art that permeates the neighbourhood. But here's the interesting bit: a construction site has become an unexpected canvas for art. 

Spread across Bali Lane and Ophir Road, the project is inspired by the precinct's iconic role in nurturing the local street art scene. The metal canvases – spanning an impressive 230-metres and standing five metres tall – were erected as noise barriers for ongoing construction on the North-South Corridor. 

The Hall of Fame features 17 Singapore-based artists, most of which are no strangers to dreaming up colourful murals in Kampong Gelam. You'll find the familiar works of Didier Jaba Mathieu, Slacsatu, ZERO and ANTZ alongside up-and-coming names like Jojie Atomick and Studio Moonchild.

Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
Photograph: Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre

Inside the Chinese Singaporean – The Evolution of our Culture and Heritage

Things to do Walks and tours Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC), Tanjong Pagar

The majority of Singapore's population is made up of Chinese Singaporeans – but how well do you know the culture? The Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) has launched a new art trail where you get to explore and appreciate what makes the Chinese Singaporean culture so unique and different from other parts of the world. 

The trail starts at the SINGAPO人 exhibition, a permanent exhibition that spotlights the complex and ever-changing Chinese Singaporean identity. After which, participants continue exploring the themes of the exhibition zones by embarking on a walking trail to Telok Ayer, which was the backbone of the development of the Chinese migrant community in early Singapore. 

Go beyond the skyscrapers, conserved buildings, sculptures and green spaces for the story of how urban planners shaped Singapore's image on the global scale. In Beyond Generations, find out the roles clans played in shaping the Chinese Singaporean identity and how much of those have remained. 

Find out how a Methodist church and mosque came to be in the heart of Telok Ayer – and what role a Chinese temple played in Singapore's development. Lastly, indulge in beloved local delicacies and learn about their origins in Made in Singapore. 

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Gelam Gallery
Photograph: Cam Khalid

Gelam Gallery

Art Rochor

Scooch on down to the back alleys of Muscat Street for a rad hidden gem, an outdoor art gallery. Two parallel walls burst with a kaleidoscope of colour thanks to over 30 Instagram-worthy works by artists from the region and beyond. Admire the pop culture-dominated creation by multi-disciplinary artist PrettyFreakyFantasy or take a snap of a bold, terrestrial piece by graphic designer Liyana Farzana before exiting to Baghdad Street.

Lim Leong Seng, public art, china square
Photo: National Arts Council

Embark on a public art trail

Art Public art

In need of an adventure? Plan your own and turn your art appreciation session into a unique day out around the island – just remember to adhere to existing measures and you're good. Not sure where to start? We’ve rounded the best free-and-easy art trails to peep the city’s street art, ranging from 2D murals to 3D sculptures.

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