Singapore, Very Old Tree
Ageing gracefully through decades, trees create a sense of collective identity across generations. Against our changing landscape of modern skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, they stand steadfast as living memoirs of Singapore’s shared heritage.
At the bottom of the Glass Rotunda is the Singapore, Very Old Tree exhibition, inspired by an old postcard found in the National Archives of Singapore. The postcard depicts an unspecified tree dating back to the year 1904. Produced by renowned local photographer and artist Robert Zhao, this exhibition was first commissioned as part of the Singapore Memory Project and later exhibited as part of the nation’s SG50 celebrations. This exhibition showcases 17 images of trees around Singapore and highlights the unique stories of each, providing an alternative perspective of Singapore’s history and the personal connections that Singaporeans have with our local trees.
About the Artist
Robert Zhao Renhui is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work addresses man’s relationship with nature. He presents different modes of the human gaze on nature, frequently highlighting how truth is constructed through a false naturalisation and manipulation of beliefs.
Zhao received a Bachelor of Arts in Photography from the Camberwell College of Arts in London and a Master of Arts in Photography from the London College of Communication. He was the recipient of the United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year Award, Singapore (2009), the National Arts Council Singapore Young Artist Award (2010) and the Deutsche Bank Award in Photography (2011). In 2013, he was selected to participate in that year’s President’s Young Talents exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum.
His works have been shown widely in Singapore and abroad, including exhibitions at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan, the Photo-Levallois Festival in Paris, the GoEun Museum of Photography in Korea and the Singapore Biennale 2013.