SHOP AT: Gillman Barracks

(Illustration by Kaffy Tan)

Located across from Hort Park, along Alexandra Road, Gillman Barraks houses 15 galleries and three restaurants. We were happy to find that this is a place where we can let our hair down and immerse ourselves in the world of art. If you've not explored the area, we've picked out five friendly galleries you can learn from about art.


Artist Sheela Gowda focuses on the violence that plagues Kashmir in a series titled Loss.

Singaporean artist Tang Da Wu’s Our Children explores issues about filial piety.

Set up late last year, the CCA is an exhibition and research centre put together by Nanyang Technological University and the Economic Development Board, aimed at showcasing innovative artworks and fostering international cultural exchanges. The CCA holds talks and gallery tours for the public, and there’s even a shuttle service between the Singapore Art Museum and CCA on Saturdays. For the shuttle schedule, visit www.gillmanbarracks.com/cca.


Founder Sueo Mizuma is particularly interested in artists who offer a critical perspective on consumer culture.

This series of mixed-media pieces is by Indieguerilla, a husband-and-wife pair who started out as graphic designers.

With Mizuma Gallery’s expansion into Singapore (it has galleries in Tokyo and Beijing), Japanese founder Sueo Mizuma hopes to bring in more South Asian art, with a focus on Indonesian artists. “While we showcase contemporary art, the pieces are more approachable than avant-garde art,” says Mizuma, who supports artwork that critiques contemporary consumer society. “People come here not just for art, but also to learn about the culture and history of the surrounding region.”

The gallery has recently featured renowned Japanese contemporary artists such as Ohata Shintaro and Ito Enpei. Visit www.mizuma.sg.


An art piece by Jeremy Sharma.

“We’re here to broaden people’s minds,” says Michael Janssen’s gallery assistant, Samantha Bok. The Berlin-based gallery is known for showcasing edgy works, especially of mid-career and established artists from North America, Europe and South-east Asia – including local artist Jeremy Sharma, whose works were presented in a solo exhibition recently. “For budding collectors, Gillman Barracks is a good place to get educated about art,” Samantha says. www.galeriemichaeljanssen.de


The Drawing Room was founded in Makati City, the Philippines, in 1998 by Cesar Villalon Jr, who concentrated initially on showcasing works using paper – hence its name. The gallery has now expanded its collection to include sculptures and installations, but with a focus on Filipino artists. It represents works that explore themes of globalisation, diaspora and the cosmopolitan world, as can be seen in John Frank Sabado’s intricate and mesmerising drawings that depict the struggle between untouched utopian lands and the influence of technology. www.drawingroomgallery.com


Palimpsest by Phi Phi Oanh features paintings on glass slides, which are projected onto the wall.

Fost Gallery is the only local gallery within Gillman Barracks, and has held well-received solo exhibitions by reputed Singaporean artists such as Heman Chong, Song-Ming Ang, and Wyn-Lyn Tan. It has also represented international names, including American photographer Rodney Smith and French artist Vincent Olinet.

“It’s our duty to be knowledgeable about the art scene, and we don’t tell visitors only what we have to offer,” gallerist Andrea Fam explains.

“We have a good community at Gillman Barracks, and we will point people to other artists and galleries within the area.” www.fostgallery.com

+ Visit Gillman Barracks’ website to glance through what’s new and pick out a few galleries that attract you – this allows you to better chart the day’s journey.
+ Approach the gallerists. They are equipped with a wealth of knowledge on what’s offered in the vicinity, and can help suggest artists and galleries suited to your taste and interests. Don’t fret about covering the entire 6.4ha site – focus on a zone and spend more time understanding each gallery at a leisurely pace. You can always come back another weekend to cover more ground.
+ Galleries tend to hold smaller shows in December, making it a good period to pick up smaller, more affordable works.