Artfully tracing the roots of Singapore’s growth
Over 30 species of plants from Singapore’s reclaimed areas, including a species thought to be extinct, are on display at the National Gallery Singapore’s roof garden as part of the work, SEA STATE 9: proclamation garden, by artist Charles Lim. (Photo: National Gallery Singapore)

Artfully tracing the roots of Singapore’s growth

The National Gallery Singapore’s roof garden is more than a prime spot for taking in the Civic District skyline. A new installation work on the roof has also made it a space to contemplate the roots of Singapore’s growth.

SEA STATE 9: proclamation garden by homegrown artist Charles Lim, uses an unusual medium for art – plants. Specifically, plants growing in reclaimed areas around Singapore, which a botanist and Lim transplanted to the Gallery, transforming the landscape of its roof garden.

The plants grow in planter boxes around the rooftop, as well as in a nursery in the middle of the garden, which visitors can access to learn about the plants.

As part of Lim’s SEA STATE series of works, proclamation garden continues his exploration of topics related to land and sea that mirror the development of our Garden City. The installation is, for him, both an inquiry into Singapore’s history of land reclamation, and a telling of Singapore’s story of urban and coastal development.

The title of the work references the act of proclamation by past Presidents of Singapore which officially declares reclaimed sites as state lands. The transplanting and adaptation of the plants to new environs are, on the other hand, a poetic way of telling the story of Singapore’s gumption in weathering tough times and uncertainty to thrive in the world.

But perhaps most evocatively, proclamation garden is a space that invites the public to explore and celebrate life which thrives in the forgotten and restricted corners of our homeland.

Details about Proclamation Garden here.

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