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Singapore inaugurates new art zone

Singapore inaugurates new art zone
September 26, 2012

Through a biennale, an art fair, institutional development and other initiatives, Singapore is positioning itself to replace Hong Kong as Asia's regional art hub.

Key to this is the recent opening of Gillman Barracks following a S$9.76 million (US$8 million) transformation of the colonial-era structure into a hub for contemporary arts.

Originally built in the 1930s to house British troops, the 6.4 hectare site is now home to 13 galleries from 10 countries as well as artist studios, residences, office space for creative industries, and restaurants.

Supported by diverse branches of the Singapore Government, including the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Economic Development Board, the JTC Corporation and the National Arts Council, of the 13 galleries, four are from Japan: Kaikai Kiki, Tomio Koyama, Mizuma and Ota Fine Arts.

A 15-minute drive from Singapore's central business district, opening exhibitions include the group show 'Marcel Duchamp in Southeast Asia' organized by Equator Art Projects, the group show 'Blended by Desire', curated by Rifky Effendy for Michael Janssen Gallery, and solo shows by painters Yayoi Kusama and Zhang Enli at Ota Fine Arts and ShanghArt.

Spearheaded by Nanyang Technological University, a 2,200 metre2 Centre for Contemporary Art will be added to the barracks by the end of 2013.

The opening of Gillman Barracks comes on the heels of the establishment of the Singapore Biennale in 2006 and the art fair Art Stage Singapore in 2011. Singapore is also home to the Singapore Freeport, a high-security facility for storing precious commodities and collections that opened in 2010.

The number of art companies registering in Singapore has doubled in the last seven years, with 856 registered as of 2011.

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