The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) in Singapore is now holding a very special exhibition, this is also their inaugural special exhibition after their extensive revamp last year. This special exhibition is titled “Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour” and this is also the world’s first exhibition on the history and spread of Christian art in Asia.

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This Christianity in Asia exhibition is very special and unique, it’s not just learning more about Christianity, this is an exhibition whereby you can learn and understand more on the spread of Christianity in Asia since the 7th Century, how Asia played a part in this spread and how Asian art absorbed the influences from many different cultures, including those from the countries such as the Middle East, India, China, Japan, the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

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When you visit this exhibition, you are able to view some very amazing and priceless exhibits dating back to the 13th century to the 20th century, with a special focus on the period from 16th to 18th century, the period where significant trade and missions took place. There are over 150 objects from six countries – Singapore, France, Portugal, Italy, Hong Kong and the Philippines and 20 acclaimed institutions and private collections from around the world, including the Musee du Louvre, the Bibliotheque nationale de France and Lisbon’s National Musuem of Ancient Art, that are showcased in this special exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

Here are some of the curators thoughts on this exhibition

Director of the ACM, Dr Alan Chong, said: “Christian art in Asia was created by artists of many different faiths: Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Confucian, and so on. New motifs and materials were used in these objects, which reflect many heritages. Moreover, many of the images were collected by patrons who were non-Christian. This demonstrates the curiosity and openness evident throughout Asia, especially in the 16th and 17th centuries.” 

Clement Onn, curator at ACM and of the exhibition, said, “The Christianity in Asia exhibition is a celebration of artistic innovation, experimentation and the diversity which emerges from cross-cultural influences. Through the curation of the exhibition, we hope that visitors will not just be exposed to the wide array of Asian Christian art, recognised by its intrinsic quality, originality and aesthetic merit, but also learn that common threads such as religion can also bring people of various cultures and from different countries together.”

Source: Asian Civilisations Museum press release

The exhibition is organised into 4 thematic sections: Early Christian Art in Asia, Asian Art with Christian themes, Christian missions to Asia in the 16th to 19th centuries (The Indian Subcontinent, China, Japan, Philippines and Southeast Asia) and lastly, a case study of Singapore. What makes this exhibition special and unique is learning and understanding how local artists and artisans (who may not be Christians themselves) in their particular era interpret Christianity, how they adapted the Christian themes into their artworks.

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During the curator tour of the Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour Exhibition, there is a particular artwork, just one of them that caught my attention among the many other special and precious artworks on display there.

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The photograph above that I took at the exhibition would be an inlaid metal candlestick made in Syria between 1248 and 1249. This was decorated with both Christian scenes and medieval Islamic art. Visit the Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour Exhibition at ACM, keep a lookout for this artwork, observe and identify the scenes near the base.

When you visit the exhibition, I strongly encourage you to download the ACM app into your smartphone and bring along your earphones/headphones. Upon starting your tour of this exhibition, it would make it experiential, engaged and a lot more interesting.

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At this particular artwork display inside the exhibition, put on your earphones/headphones, use the app, look at the artwork and listen to the sound!

If you prefer a more in-depth understanding and wanting to learn more from this special exhibition, I strongly encourage you to sign up for the curator tour, not only are they the exhibition/subject matter experts, they are great museum guides too! They are more than willing to share with the visitors on the curator tour! Check out the photographs that I took during the visit to this special exhibition!

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Upcoming Curator Tour information for Christianity in Asia special exhibition

Dates: Friday 26th August 2016 and Friday 9th September 2016

Time: 7.30 to 8.30pm
Fee: $25 per session (book at ACM Front Desk or Peatix) (http://acmcuratortours.peatix.com/)

Here are some key information, dates and details of the exhibition –

Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour(圣辉艺彩:亚洲的基督教信仰与艺术交汇

Exhibition Dates: 27 May to 11 September 2016

Venue: Asian Civilisations Museum

1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555

Website: www.acm.org.sg

Enquiries: 6332 7798 / nhb_acm_vs@nhb.gov.sg

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 10am to 7pm (to 9pm on Friday)

Getting There: By MRT – Raffles Place

By Bus – 75, 100, 107, 130, 131, 167

By Car – Parking is available at Parliament House, Connaught

Drive, The Fullerton Hotel, One Fullerton, and Six Battery Road

Ticketing

Admission to Special Exhibition, Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour

Singapore Citizens & Permanent Residents Non-Citizens & Non-Permanent Residents
Adults $9 $15
Students Free $10
Seniors (60 years and above) Free $10
Person with Disabilities Free $10
NSFs Free N.A.
MOE Teachers Free N.A.
Children 6 years and below Free Free
Foreign Family (5 person max) N.A. $45

This Special Exhibition, Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour at Asian Civilisations Museum, is really an eye-opener for me, it’s really special and unique. Moreover, it’s very educational and a great learning time for me when I visited it, to learn about history, arts, heritage, culture, preservation, in different parts of the world and also how it plays a part in early Singapore’s history and community.

* I would like to thank Asian Civilisations Museum for the invitation to the Christianity in Asia: Sacred Art and Visual Splendour Special Exhibition and joining the curator tour. *