Drawing on works from the Singapore Art Museum collection as well as private and artists’ collections, the exhibition offers an insight into how artists in Singapore view and respond to the natural world, coming from and living in such an urban and built-up environment. As such, one strand running through the exhibition is the idea of nature as something that can be studied, controlled, and constructed – an idea that often extends into a metaphor for the nation and national identity.

In contrast to the notion of a carefully cultivated ‘Garden City’, other artists regard nature as unknown, uncanny, and untamed, drawing on memories of nature’s recent incursions into the urban cityscape. Natural sites as repositories of social memory and history also feature in these artistic excavations, as artists seek to call attention to forgotten or overlooked terrain in Singapore.

This conversation is extended with a complementary exhibition at 8Q which presents artworks by Singaporean artists and the region at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, a research centre dedicated to the study of earth sciences and natural phenomena.


Ang Song Nian, Genevieve Chua, Lucy Davis, Regina de Rozario, Isabelle Desjeux, Debbie Ding, Han Sai Por, Ho Tzu Nyen, Institute of Critical Zoologists, Charles Lim, Stellah Lim, Jennifer Ng, Donna Ong, Post-Museum, Ezzam Rahman, Twardzik Ching Chor Leng, Yeo Chee Kiong, Frayn Yong


a day without a tree

yeo chee kiong

2007, 2014

site-specific installation

landscape portraits: a beautiful place nearby

donna ong


mixed media installation

pulling at grass to make it grow

jennifer ng


elastic string and food dye