National Gallery ties up with Tate

National Gallery ties up with Tate
PHOTO: The Straits Times

After its partnership with France's Centre Pompidou, the National Gallery Singapore has announced its second major curatorial partnership.

Next year, it will collaborate with the prestigious Tate Britain to present a key exhibition, Artist And Empire, featuring artworks from the 16th century to the present day.

Collectively, the works will look at artistic production, conditions and experiences of the British Empire.

The show will also explore different ways in which empire was represented and contested from the 16th century.

This partnership with Tate Britain is significant. Located by the River Thames in London, Tate displays the world's greatest collection of British art from 1500 to the present.

It also manages a national collection of more than 70,000 works of art, acquired and cared for on behalf of the public and shown at venues throughout the United Kingdom and across the world.

Artist And Empire opens in London in November and will include a range of artworks including carefully staged paintings of international events which are said to have manipulated the sympathies of audiences in Britain by dramatising conquests.

On display will be iconic works such as 1879 oil on canvas, The Remnants Of An Army, by Elizabeth Butler (Lady Butler), depicting a lone soldier on a horse in a bleak landscape. The man is believed to be the only survivor of the 1842 retreat from Kabul during the First Afghan War.

The painting has not been shown for more than 50 years and is being restored for the exhibition. It is part of the original collection that Henry Tate, an industrialist who made his fortune in sugar, used to found the Tate Gallery.

The exhibition will also bring together grand portraits of key political figures to examine how British leaders were often presented in exotic or hybrid costume.

In Singapore, works from the London museum will be complemented by artworks from Singapore's national collection.

The curatorial team working on this project includes Mr Low Sze Wee, director of curatorial and collections at the National Gallery.

He says the Singapore exhibition will have a greater focus on South- east Asia, featuring more works by artists from the region alongside major loans from Tate's collection and other international collections.

It will include works by artists in British Malaya such as Low Kway Song and Abdullah Ariff.

The gallery's international partnerships aim to add to historical scholarship by putting South-east Asian art in a global context.


This article was first published on July 22, 2015.
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