National Gallery Children’s Biennale 2017

We popped down to the Children’s Biennale (pronounced ‘bee-nah-lay’) on a weekday recently. It was really impressive!

Firstly, I’d recommend getting the activity pack – for $5 you get a rainbow pencil (the kind that already costs $5 or something insane like that at Smiggle), a very cool kid-sized tag and lanyard, activity sheets for the various exhibitions, and a sticker sheet for my favourite room (more on that later).

First, we doodled a bit on this ‘magic paper’. Very environmentally friendly.

Then off to explore the magnetic pyramid-like shapes on this wall.

We started off first by going to B1 to register ourselves (it’s free for Singaporeans and local students).

The Obliteration Room (aka Polkadots galore)

This was my favourite room, and I think it needs no explanation why.

Firewalk: A bridge of embers

I really enjoyed the optical illusions here, but a 3 year old behind us burst into tears. Also not suitable for those with agrophobia.

The items include those found in the excavation of the Supreme Court building, which makes this a very meaningful exhibit, I thought. The clever use of mirrors reflecting off one another gives the illusion of infinity, when in reality, the structure goes no further than the actual floor of the area.


Homogenising and Transforming World (soft large lit spheres)

We back-tracked to this room, since there was a queue of about 10 people in it the first time we passed by. We only got to spend about 3 minutes inside, but it was fun and a bit surreal.


The Sonnet in Blue

This was simple, but we watched the video explaining the artist’s motivations with regard to this art piece, and found it quite interesting. Poems and the like submitted to the author area are also penned on the ‘flowers’.

B really enjoys posing. I just say ‘smile’, and for every photo I get a different look.


This Changed My Life (aka the ribbons room)

Folks write down something significant to them, and link the phrase-ribbons up. Was interesting reading through some of them.


Guide to Flora and Fauna of the World, Children’s Edition

We spent quite a bit of time in this tiny space, simply because B was interested. It was good that we were not in a rush, and could slowly look through the items on each ‘plate’, and ponder on what is natural vs non-natural, artificial (materials) or man-made (genetically modified plants and animals).


From Rochor to Kallang

We lifted some bird traps and caught a glimpse of the varied objects within. This installation is supposed to evoke images of high-rise dwelling, of living in small bird cages, and government ordained relocation.


This wasn’t even all there was to see! The Keppel Centre for Art Education has other activities for kids, some familiar, some new, and we explored some of that before we finally called it a day.

Highly recommended!


National Gallery Singapore

Address: 1 St. Andrew’s Rd
Singapore 178957
(There is a covered walkway all the way from City Hall MRT station right up to the front door of the National Gallery – which was splendid since we could walk there amidst the pouring rain with not a drop on our heads!)

Tel: 6271 7000

Opening Hours:

  • Sun–Thu, Public Holidays: 10am–7pm
  • Fri–Sat, Eve of Public Holidays: 10am–10pm

There is free entry for Singaporeans and PRs to the Keppel Centre for Art Education.

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