In a recent feature article at The Financial Times, Georgina Adam traces the transformation of Singapore from a marshy island at the margin of world’s affairs into one of the richest countries around the globe. However, this transformation into an economic powerhouse has become accompanied with a growing cultural stature only since the late 1990s, when a rather lackluster local artistic scene numbering a few museums and galleries embarked upon a development course that has made Singapore into a global arts hub this city-state has presently become.
Nowadays, Singapore hosts two art fairs, several gallery clusters, such as the Gillman barracks area, and an art biennial inaugurated in 2006. These initiatives are joined by art courses at local universities, privately-sponsored cultural platforms, and a dense schedule of public art-related events. No wonder that Singapore has become a site where international artistic contacts are forged, such as Platform funded by the Lohia Foundation. Add to this a growing roster of art prizes with glitzy ceremonies, international shows, and media attention and it becomes evident that the buzz around Singapore as an up-and-coming art hub of the East, South-East and Far East Asia is firmly rooted in an increasingly attractive local cultural scene. With a growing government backing for local museums and a brad new national art gallery to open its doors in the coming months, it is easy to see why Singapore has become a natural spot for other spectacular cultural initiatives, such as Singapore-Chinese Cultural Center, that are slated to set up their shop in the near future.
This indicates an upwards cultural development dynamics of Singapore as not only regional but also an increasingly global art hub, where local and international collectors, curators and artists mingle. With its comprehensive investment into cultural infrastructure, development planning, and event circuits, Singapore seems to be reconnected to its age-old history as a cultural cross-roads between East and West, China and India, and South and North.