Interactive art to feature at new kids’ Biennale

Enter The Obliteration Room by renowned Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. There, you'll get a set of stickers, which you're invited to use to paste on any surface you please. This will recall Kusama's polka-dotted works. Photo: National Gallery Singapore
Vincent Leow's work, From Rochor to Kallang, is an immersive experience. Kids can open up the "bird traps" to check out the golden toys inside. Photo: National Gallery Singapore
Immersive works such as Duplet by Singaporean artist Lynn Lu (picture) will be on show at the first Gallery Children’s Biennale at the National Gallery Singapore. Photo: Esther Leong

Interactive art to feature at new kids’ Biennale

Yayoi Kusama, teamLab and Singapore’s Vincent Leow among artists showing works

SINGAPORE — The inaugural Gallery Children’s Biennale at the National Gallery Singapore will involve a raft of international and local names from the contemporary art scene.

The Biennale runs from Saturday to Oct 8, with art installations and activities the organisers hope will appeal to kids as well as their parents.

Themed Dreams & Stories, the Children’s Biennale has been in germination since even before the National Gallery Singapore opened.

“We wanted to introduce a new approach to art engagement, one in which the child and adult can engage on the same platform but with different takeaways,” said Suenne Megan Tan, director of audience development and engagement at the National Gallery Singapore.

She added that although museums are often a mainstay of family outings, parents should also find a connection to the work themselves, she said.

To that end, the event features 10 interactive pieces, including The Obliteration Room by renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

Located in the Supreme Court wing, this room is filled with kid-sized furniture. Entrants get a set of colourful, round stickers, which they can paste onto any surface they please. The entire experience, said Tan, is an immersive one that brings to mind Kusama’s famous polka-dotted works.

The Singapore edition will be the largest iteration of this work. The Obliteration Room was most recently showcased at Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC as part of Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors.

Tan said: “The Obliteration Room is a pure white canvas and ... the work changes based on the participation of the audience. There is an element of chance at play here, and you can never predict where the dots will be placed and how the room will be transformed.”

The nine other interactive installations at the event are by local as well as international artists, including works by Japanese interdisciplinary collective, TeamLab; and one of Singapore’s leading contemporary artists, Vincent Leow.

Inspired by the recent relocation of the residents and businesses of the rainbow-coloured Rochor Centre to make way for the North-South Expressway, Leow’s work — titled Rochor to Kallang — comprises tall blocks with small, brightly coloured bird traps filled with small, lacquered toys attached to them.

Children can interact with the piece, flipping open the cages to see the items inside. There will also be a family workshop, at which participants can create an artwork inspired by the installation.

Tan added: “We hope the exhibition will help to trigger a sense of curiosity (among adults) and allow them to reconnect (with their inner child).” Reena Devi

Gallery Children’s Biennale runs from 20 May to 8 October 2017. For more details, visit