kids activities · Singapore

Singapore Art Museum SAM@8Q Imaginarium 2016

Media invite 

We were invited to attend the launch of Singapore Art Museum’s Imaginarium 2016. This year, the theme is Over the Ocean, Under the Sea. This small collection of art work is focussed on everything about the sea, from nautical signs, to sea animal origami, short films, and also touching on the impact of human rubbish and the sustainability of seafood.

Our favourite was Mulyana, an installation made mostly of knitted yarn. The kids could touch everything (although they could not pull it, fair enough), and we had a nice time relaxing on the whales. It is a vibrant and inviting environment, and there were not too many restrictions. I liked that there was even one coral patch that was completely white, so I took the chance to ask the kids why it was white, and to explain coral bleaching to them.

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The kids also liked the short film area, and I like how as compared to previous years, they now have huge sofas installed, instead of just 2 sofas and a large area that kids would be drawn to run around but were told not to. Sometimes kids just do what the environment tells them to do, and wide open spaces just triggers that for them. There is also a small area with some books from the library, all ocean-themed of course!

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So much rubbish

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Oh, kids are not allowed to crawl under the installation. Even though the design BEGS kids to.

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Where are my kids??
Plastic Ocean was a wonderful way for kids to visualize how rubbish can clutter the waters, except they were asked not to crawl under the installation. I don’t see how crawling under would be a problem since they were not pulling it, and isn’t it part of the idea to feel overwhelmed by the amount of rubbish?

In general, I have long been an advocate for art to be more child-friendly if it is targeted at children. Don’t display something that will be so enticing to children to touch and then tell them not to touch it.

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My eldest loved this installation but the smallest came away crying because she was hit by it. Oops.
It was quite crowded at the launch, and I was happily walking around, catching up with other mummies, and forgot to put my on my teacher/guide hat and wasn’t reading the work descriptions or asking the kids any good leading or teaching questions until my friend Mother Kao reminded me about it. She did have a very good suggestion that they should have facilitators who could guide the children and help them learn more from the installations, in case they have slacker mums like myself! Ha!

Well, at least I have some photos to share with the kids, and perhaps we will revisit it again and join a free museum tour, when the maritime-themed exhibition Odyssey: Navigating Nameless Seas opens in June 2016 at the main Singapore Art Museum building, as it would be interesting to view both together. There will also be workshops available.

It is a small setup, but kids don’t need a lot to excite them. Also, some of the works are a little…. 


…I know some art is meant to shock, be raw,  evoke emotions, blah blah blah, but speaking as a parent, if you have a young toddler whom you cannot explain the meaning behind art to, I’d advise you to avert their eyes. I might not know much about art, but I do know a thing or two, or three, about parenting. 

Do also hop over to read my friend Growing Hearts’ review of the programme, after all she is an art teacher! 

Over the Ocean, Under the Sea runs from 14 May 2016 to 28 August 2016.
Free entry for citizens and PRs.
Open Monday to Sunday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-9pm
Museum tours in English are Monday to Thursday 11am and 2pm, Friday 11am, 2pm, and 7pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am, 2pm, and 330pm
Tours also available in Japanese and Mandarin

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4 thoughts on “Singapore Art Museum SAM@8Q Imaginarium 2016

  1. Thanks for the mention Ed! Haha… and I agree with motherKoa on the facilitators for kids! The curators were busy explaining to adults and kids who erm supposed to be the main reach out crowd were missed. I for one didn’t follow the curators for a pragmatic reason. Kiddos cannot stand still… I also didn’t ask many leading qns! How to ask whether we’re all so absorbed in the interactive exhibits?! But we came away excited and senses satisfied! Mulyana did a fantastic job in allowing kids to play with his works as they were sturdy enough! So I agree on the for kids aspect then gotta make it to withstand unless it’s only for sight, then need to box up the work.

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  2. I was rather disappointed by the exhibits this year as they had so many, please do not touch pieces. The only 2 pieces that stood out were, Mulyana, with their knitted yarn installation and whale cushion which my girl went crazy over and Plastic Ocean, which helped to raise awareness of how our rubbish harms the Ocean Life.

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    1. Agreed! Although they have improved over the years. I am beginning to suspect that the exhibit is either for “kids” aged 12 and above, or none of the curators/artists have kids.

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