Arts Appreciation in Singapore

Written By: Yam Lok Sum (22-A1)

Designed by: Alexia Teo (22-U1)


“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance.” 

~Henry James

Whether we notice it or not, the arts are an important part of the human experience. It simulates thought and reason and is known to have brought a revolution in many cultures. The arts also encourage the generation of ideas which allows viewers to draw their own emotions in their thoughts and pull from their personal experiences as they encounter them. As such, the arts are very powerful in this way as it naturally develops critical and innovative thinking skills in an individual. Many important qualities such as listening, observing and responding to multiple perspectives are also inculcated in the process. The question is, however, to what extent are the arts actually appreciated in Singapore, given our frequent emphasis on the sciences in our society today?

First, let’s dive right into the different forms of art and each of their specialities.

Visual Art

Visual art is an art form consumed primarily through sight, such as physical or static art objects. These include paintings, sculptures, drawings, crafts, photography, architecture etc. Some famous artworks that we are familiar with include the iconic painting ‘Mona Lisa’ and the Singapore Soul sculpture by Jaume Plesa on a more local scale, located in the prime area of Singapore, Raffles Place. The Singapore Art Museum, Asian Civilisations Museum and National Gallery Singapore are a few places where you can appreciate and dive into the great variety of visual art pieces displayed there.

Performing Arts

Performing arts is art that is performed in front of an audience. They include vocal and instrumental music, dance, theatre and drama. Performing arts are usually more interactive in nature compared to other types of art. Book your tickets to the Singapore Dance Theatre and the Esplanade to enjoy magnificent performances by our local talents! 

Literary Arts

Literary arts is art found in writing or stories that convey artistic and cultural value. They include poetry, literature, journalism, and non-fictional works. It is one of the oldest ways to preserve heritage and history and share information across generations. Many literary works have been recreated into plays and musicals over the years, such as ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl and ‘Wicked’ by Gregory Maguire which have both been well-received around the world. The Singapore Book Council and SingLit Station are ways in which Singapore is promoting literary arts by making it easily accessible to all. 

According to MMCY, in 2019, 69% of Singaporeans attended arts and culture events; 75% consumed arts through digital media, and 82% felt that the arts fostered a greater sense of belonging. Over the years, Singapore has also successfully established high quality and internationally regarded cultural institutions, such as the Esplanade and National Gallery Singapore. Together with highly respected educational institutions like the School of the Arts (SOTA), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), LASALLE College of the Arts, and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. These reflect that the arts are still relevant and appreciated in Singapore today. In addition, Our SG Arts Plan is a 5-year plan initiated by the National Arts Council which charts new directions for the various forms of art in Singapore. This initiative aims to energise and excite more Singaporeans, as well as bring together diverse communities through different art forms. It includes increasing support for freelancers, promoting Singapore art overseas, strengthening research in the arts sector and using technology in art-making and outreach. 

Singapore has a vibrant arts scene, home to a diverse range of established and emerging artists and arts groups that present distinctive works and programmes. Over the years, we have seen a growth in artists and arts groups including freelance practitioners, arts educators, arts managers, technical and production crew. With all the effort put in by the various communities in promoting arts appreciation in Singapore and the positive response from the public, it is safe to say that the arts are appreciated in Singapore to a large extent and even await for more opportunities to showcase our arts in the future.