Where to find faith, beauty, love and hope in 2021

Where to find faith, beauty, love and hope in 2021

Don’t miss the exhibition Faith Beauty Love Hope at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM). The exhibition features over 60 artefacts from ACM’s extensive collection, accompanied by anecdotes from museum staff and partners about the special meaning the objects hold for them. The personal sharing invites audiences to reflect on things that offer them hope in challenging times. 

Here are five highlights from the exhibition, which runs until 28 Feb, and the personal meanings the objects hold for museum staff and partners.

Mahjong table and chairs

Mahjong table and chairs. Image courtesy of Asian Civilisations Museum

This set of blackwood mahjong table and chairs, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, dates from between 1920s and 1940s. Each chair bears a Chinese inscription on its seat and together, the lines form a poem about the four seasons. Each chair is also adorned with carvings of seasonal blooms. The artefact was selected for the exhibition by assistant manager Clara Loh, who works at a day activity centre run by the disability services and support organisation SPD.For Loh, the set of furniture is a fond reminder of how leisure games such as mahjong can bring people at the day activity centre together.

Dancing Ganesha

Dancing Ganesha. Image courtesy of Asian Civilisations Museum

This sandstone statue of a dancing Ganesha depicts the Hindu deity who is the god of beginnings. This statue was selected for the exhibition by ACM’s senior manager (audience) Melissa Viswani. As a child, she found Ganesha approachable and comforting because of his welcoming demeanour. As an adult, she seeks his blessings before embarking on new journeys in her personal and professional life. The deity is also significant for her because the first book she authored The Missing Mouse (2015) is a story about the Hindu God.


Kebaya. Image courtesy of Asian Civilisations Museum

This kebaya from Penang dates from the mid-20th century. Made of cotton, this Peranakan-style top, with tapered lapels and bright colours, is adorned with lively depictions of Spanish flamenco dancers and matadors. The item was picked for the show by ACM’s digital marketing and corporate communications officer Jessica Han for its beautiful pink hue and whimsical embroidery. The kebaya also brings back memories of the time when she worked as a Singapore Airlines cabin crew member. 

Bird calligram

Bird calligram. Image courtesy of Asian Civilisations Museum

Using Chinese ink painting techniques, Islamic calligrapher Yusuf Chen created an image of a bird that is formed from the Arabic letters which make up the words of the basmala, an invocation of blessing by Muslims. The work, a gift from the artist to ACM, is museum security supervisor Abdul Rahman’s favourite work in the institution. He is drawn to the symbolism of the calligram and the techniques used.

Coffee pot

Coffee pot. Image courtesy of Asian Civilisations Museum

This particular ceramic coffee pot from the Japanese town of Arita was brought by the Dutch East India Company to Europe in the later part of the 1600s when coffee was becoming increasingly popular in Europe. This pot reminds ACM’s assistant manager (audience) Priscilla Lee, of holidays to Japan, and to not take the little things in life, such as the aroma of coffee, for granted. 

Learn more about Faith Beauty Love Hope here.

(Photos: Asian Civilisations Museum)

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