Discovering the museum on campus

5 Nov 2018

By Alan Yuen

NTU President Subra Suresh and Cultural Activities Club president Wong Liang Bei, 21, launched the Campus Art Trail on 18 Oct.

Not many people know that NTU has a 10-year-old museum.

This is because the NTU Museum does not have a fixed physical space, but exhibits its artworks all over campus. It currently displays more than 200 art pieces by the NTU community, and local and international artists.

Now, students may be better able to locate the school’s museum with the launch of the Campus Art Trail — an interactive map pinpointing the locations of 42 of these artworks scattered around NTU.

The trail was launched on 18 Oct in celebration of the museum’s tenth anniversary and its map is available physically and online. It guides students to places like The Hive and the Nanyang Auditorium, where installation art, sculptures, fine art, photography and other new media are displayed.

“This is a good chance for us to celebrate the past 10 years of artworks and to let more people hear about us,” said museum manager Ngauw Cui Qin.

A platform for students

Four of the artworks on display are products of class assignments by students from the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM).

The latest piece is Bloom — an 11-metre long and 3m high installation depicting 18 Chinese honeysuckle flowers and vines — located at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine building in the Novena campus.

The artwork, which is powered by solar energy, was conceptualised in 2016 by four ADM students. Weather data is obtained from NTU’s main campus and sent to the Novena campus, changing the colour of Bloom’s installation.

The team spent a year on the project, after their assignment for a core module in product design was chosen to be built. The module is taught by visiting artist Fabrizio Galli, and challenges students to use new technologies to create art.

“After we came up with our concept, we had to do a prototype to test if it’s able to be built full-scale. We did this project in one term but had to come back to refine it afterwards,” said Ms Ivana Low, 24, an ADM graduate who was a member of the team behind Bloom.

Two other artworks — Dandelion and Fern — are also creations from the same product design module.

Dandelion, a 7m light installation powered entirely by solar energy, was conceptualised in 2012 and is located outside the ADM building. Fern, an 8.5m by 2.3m wooden bench outside of the Lee Wee Nam Library has panels that harvest solar energy, allowing users to charge their electrical devices at two charging stations. It was conceptualised in 2014.

The fourth piece by ADM students is the Media Art Nexus (MAN) installation, a 15m by 2m LED wall that displays digital art at the North Spine. It was created by students under the MAN module offered by Associate Professor Ina Conradi.

NTU President Subra Suresh, who launched the Campus Art Trail, praised these students’ works and highlighted the university’s growing niche collection.

“NTU is proud to start a collection of interdisciplinary public art which is powered by renewable energy sources,” he said. “I believe such a collection is unique and not found in other art institutions in Singapore.”

Mr Eugene Tan, 28, an ADM graduate who was part of the team behind Fern, said he hopes the Campus Art Trail will encourage students to explore parts of the campus that they have not been before.

He added: “When students see artwork done by fellow students, instead of external people, it can inspire them (to know) that they have the ability to create art.”