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STPI Creative Workshop and Gallery
Photograph: STPI Creative Workshop and Gallery

The best private art galleries in Singapore

Away from the walls of Singapore's biggest art institutions, these independent galleries are making waves

Dewi Nurjuwita
Written by
Dewi Nurjuwita
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There are various spots you can appreciate art in Singapore, from the walls of the city's most prestigious art institutions such as the National Gallery Singapore and National Museum of Singapore to the back alleys of Kampong Gelam where you can find vibrant murals. We love our major art museums for the wide range of exhibitions one can find – whether it's retrospectives of first-generation Singaporean artists or illustrations from the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History paired with lyrics from love ballads, classical texts and pantuns from the world of Malay literature. But if it's contemporary art and emerging names you're looking for, explore these private art galleries in town for underrated gems. 

RECOMMENDED: The best upcoming art exhibitions in Singapore and Deck's iconic shipping container structure in Bras Basah to be demolished by March 2021

  • Property
  • Tanglin

Tucked in the lush Dempsey enclave is Siri House, a four-in-one space where design, food art and retail combine. Since its launch, its intimate space has played host to a roster of rising international artists, the perfect place for art lovers to get acquainted with emerging names and new forms of art. 

  • Art
  • Contemporary art
  • Tiong Bahru

Located in the hip neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru, ArtBlue Studio is where you can find works by emerging Vietnamese contemporary artists. After all, the gallery aims to spread awareness and showcase the immense and varied talents of artists from Vietnam. The studio also constantly partners with international museums, galleries and private collectors to curate unique artworks from Vietnam's well-established up and coming artists.  

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  • Art
  • Outram

Spottiswoode Park Road is lined with colourful conservation shophouses, some of them inspiring murals such as Yip Yew Chong's Provision Shop and drawing art galleries like Art Porters Gallery and Art Agenda @ 63 Spottiswoode. The latter, while not a permanent space, is a three-month pop-up that features exhibitions, a shop and a series of activations in the Blair Plain Conservation area. But first, get acquainted with Art Agenda S.E.A. It was started in 2016 by Wang Zineng and directed by Jefferson Jong, specialising in post-art and modern Asian art from the 1930s to the 1980s.

There'll be two exhibition spaces: 63 Upper and 63 Ground. On the first floor, 63 Ground brings to focus the medium of photography and related themes over a series of exhibitions, events and activations. The exhibition programme spotlights modern photographers such as Yip Cheong Fun and Lim Kwong Ling working in the post-war years to creatives today such as Dave Lim and Lavender Chang.

Once you're done, head upstairs. 63 Upper is a voluminous hall that takes over a formerly dormant second floor of a historical shophouse, hoping to give visitors a peek into an artist's oeuvre. It has since been activated as a curatorial space in collaboration with Art Porters, branching out into multi-coloured rooms that have been freshly painted in bright hues of blue, green, yellow and more. These chambers display a regularly changing display of artworks from private collections. 

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Outram

Right next to Art Agenda is Art Porters Gallery. The gallery was co-founded by Guillaume Levy-Lambert and Sean Soh in 2013, armed with a mission to make art accessible to a wider range of people. 

Art Porters Gallery represents artists from Singapore and all around the world, showcasing works in a variety of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and digital animation. You'll find established names like Jogja-based Mulyana and local mural artist Yip Yew Chong alongside emerging names like Chloe Manasseh, Jamie Tan and Jamie Teo. 

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  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Rochor

Cuturi Gallery has recently moved into a beautiful conservation shophouse in the ethnic enclave of Kampong Gelam. The next-generation art gallery has been making waves in the Singapore art scene since its inception. Founder Kevin Troyano Cuturi started the gallery with a strong belief that art should be empowering and meaningful for everyone. A factor that sets Cuturi Gallery apart is its ground-breaking c/discoveries initiative, an incubator for new creative talents in the city the likes of Aisha Rosli, Faris Heizer, Mujahid Jalil, Oneal Parbo, Goh Jia Jie and Vanessa Liem.   

The new gallery space echoes its starting grounds on Scotts Road, with streamlined and minimalistic interiors that don't take away from the main highlight: the artworks themselves. The ground floor is dedicated to the gallery's exhibition spaces, while the second- and third- floor houses multi-functional art spaces. But hold your breath for the gallery's crowning gallery, an open-air patio overlooking the surrounding neighbourhood – old red roofs, golden-domed mosques and everything else in between. 

  • Art
  • Raffles Place

Nestled on the banks of the Singapore River alongside the myriad of cafes and bars on Robertson Quay, you'll find STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery. STPI has left such a massive imprint in Southeast Asia's contemporary art scene that it can be hard to believe that it was only established in 2002. 

At its Creative Workshop space, you’ll find artists in residency – both local and international –who challenge conventions in art with lithography, etching, screenprint, papermaking and relief print. The workshop is bolstered by specialised facilities and run by a highly qualified team of professional printmakers and papermakers.

The Gallery, on the other hand, hosts specially curated exhibitions of works produced in the Creative Workshop, nurturing and sustaining local and international interest in both its collaborators and in the mediums of print and paper. The gallery is free to the public and has showcased works from artists like Takashi Murakami, Genevieve Chua, Pinaree Sanpitak and Melati Suryodarmo.

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  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Tiong Bahru

Another art gallery in the hip hood of Tiong Bahru is Hatch Art Project. The contemporary art gallery opened in 2018 on the first floor of Asia Square Tower 1 and has injected some life (and colour) into the CBD since its inception. Hatch Art Project prides itself on being a platform for emerging artists from the region.

  • Art
  • Harbourfront

Gajah Gallery has been an active supporter of contemporary Southeast Asian art since its humble beginnings at Monk's Hill in 1996. The gallery has since expanded into a beautiful warehouse gallery space at Tanjong Pagar Distripark along Keppel Road, with collections and exhibitions by the region's leading artists as well as the brightest emerging talents in contemporary art today. 

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