Within a year of opening its doors in January 1996 at the restored 19th-century old St Joseph's institution building on Bras Basah Road, the Singapore Art Museum has staged a comprehensive two-component exhibition on Themes in Southeast Asian Art and a Century of art in Singapore.
Meeting with the West and the Best :
In a relatively short time, the Museum has gained a credible standing with its international counterparts. Following its first year of establishment, the Museum has brought in several international shows including Leonardo da Vinci :Scientist-Inventor-Artist, Tryst with Destiny : Art in Independent India, German Art :1960s to 1970s, The Origins of Modern art in France and more recently, Monet to Moore: Millennium Gift of The Sara Lee Corporation. These provide a context and forum for art development and practices of Southeast Asia.
Unique Collection :
Since its opening, the Museum's permanent collection has grown from under 2,000 art works to over 4,000, making it the largest collection of 20th-century Southeast Asian art in the region. Along with Imaging Selves, the Museum's first exhibition featuring its permanent collection, the Museum also curated country focus exhibitions, From There to Now and Soul Ties: The Land & Her People, on Malaysia and Indonesia respectively.
The art of the region is given international exposure through the Museum's travelling exhibition programme. Come 2000, Sam will be spearheading its first travelling exhibition on Southeast Asian art, titled Diobok-Obok, to various international venues.
Stimulating the Cultural Environment :
Visitors to the Singapore Art Museum can expect to find an interactive, living centre for art, with advanced museum facilities. Its 10,000-square metre floor space includes 14 full climate-controlled galleries, an electronic E-mage Gallery which runs interactive programmes featuring some of the Museum's collection on a large visual monitor, a reference library, an auditorium, a multi-purpose hall, a museum shop, courtyards and a café, all together ensure a quality experience for visitors.
Since its opening, the Museum has been stimulating the cultural environment of Singapore and continues to do so with breathtaking shows and exciting programmes.