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Intimidated By Art? This New Event At Gillman Barracks Aims To Ease You Into It

Searching for something to do this weekend? Head down to Gillman Barracks for this new event that promises to showcase art in a more approachable manner.

If we go purely by attendance numbers, Singaporeans are increasingly receptive to the arts – for example, major festivals such as SIFA have seen audiences swell to 73,000-strong for this year’s edition.

Setting aside cynicism that people might only be there for the Instagram snaps, we’ll take it as a positive sign. That said, while anyone can attend a festival or gallery opening, taking the move to buy an artwork is another thing altogether. A new lifestyle event, titled START at Gillman Barracks, is hoping to encourage art and design enthusiasts to learn more about contemporary art and hopefully take that first step into collecting pieces.

It debuts at the arts enclave this weekend (July 19 – 21) with a diverse series of programs – here’s the breakdown:

There’ll be a broad range of artworks on sale

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‘Wigley’s 5 Turbulence Watermelon Gum Rolled Into A Ball, And Depressed Against A Wall’, 2018, Eiffel Chong. Image: Gillman Barracks Instagram

Gillman Barracks’ resident galleries will be open all weekend with extended hours, showcasing artworks that come with an average cost of $4,000. Is that affordable to the would-be first time collector? You decide.

The art will be displayed in “realistic” settings

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The event will feature different sections (themed along the lines of Fashion,
Home Living, Office Spaces – you get the idea) so that visitors can experience contemporary art incorporated into different aspects of their daily lives.

There’ll be one-of-a-kind lifestyle and design items to peruse as well


If design is more your thing than art, there’ll also be furniture, graphic books, flowers and limited-edition prints to check out, sourced from some of the best names in the local scene such as printed matter specialist Basheer and furniture and industrial design mecca Industry+. Pictured above, a selection of the latter’s beautiful pieces.

Get to understand art through film

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Collecting art is often seen as the purview of the wealthy. That is still largely the case but take the time to catch Herb and Dorothy, a documentary that chronicled the lives of Herb and Dorothy Vogel (pictured above) – passionate art collectors who amassed a collection of nearly 5,000 pieces. The catch? They were everyday folks who held completely mundane jobs (Herb was a postal clerk, Dorothy a librarian), and lived frugally in order to purchase art (often paid via installments).

That’s not all; Herb and Dorothy is only one among a slate of film screenings curated by the Singapore Film Society, all of which focuses on art and collecting. Get your tickets here.