Modern South-east Asian art will get a boost with a tie-up between the United Overseas Bank Group and the National Gallery Singapore, ahead of its opening in November.
The partnership was announced yesterday at a signing ceremony held in the foyer of the newly refurbished Supreme Court wing of the gallery.
The event provided the media and guests with a first glimpse of the gallery's interior, but ongoing work prevented access beyond the foyer.
Neither UOB nor the gallery revealed how much the bank is donating, but two parts of the gallery will be named after the bank - the UOB South-east Asia Gallery in one wing and the UOB City Hall Courtyard in the other.
Work on the former Supreme Court building is almost complete, with galleries in the midst of being outfitted. At the City Hall wing, refurbishment works are ongoing.
The tie-up will cover research and exhibition programmes for the gallery's collection of 8,000 modern South-east Asian works - the largest in the world.
More than 400 works will be displayed in the UOB South-east Asia Gallery.
One of two permanent galleries there, it will occupy more than 2,000 sq m in a space that spans three levels of the Supreme Court wing. The other permanent gallery will be the DBS Singapore Gallery, whose focus is local art.
UOB deputy chairman and chief executive Wee Ee Cheong said the partnership "fits in perfectly with UOB's focus on the arts and our commitment to South-east Asia".
The bank has organised an annual Painting Of The Year competition for more than three decades. The National Gallery will be given access to UOB's art collection of more than 1,500 works.
The UOB donation is the third high-profile one secured by the National Gallery so far. Last year, DBS Bank donated $25 million, the single-largest cash donation to an arts institution by a corporate body.
The gallery's Keppel Centre for Art Education - which features Singapore's first children's museum - was made possible with a $12 million donation from Keppel Corp.
Welcoming the support, National Gallery chief executive Chong Siak Ching said it "gives us more resources to do more and to do better".
Admission to the two permanent galleries will be free for Singaporeans and permanent residents.
This article was first published on Jan 23, 2015.
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