Want your child to dream big? THIS is where it can start

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We all want our kids to dream big, and to create extraordinary opportunities for themselves. The challenge is how can we nurture such a spirit in them? Bring them to this uniquely curated Gallery Children’s Festival – Small Big Dreamers by National Gallery Singapore and set them on a path of greater imagination and self-awareness.

Mums, we all love our kids and we foresee great things for them now, and in the future.  We are so proud of their every little achievement.

As parents, we nurse the hope that our children have extraordinary traits that will lead them to excel in life someday, and make us really proud.

But for this to happen — for them to take that leap to extraordinariness — we must give our children some freedom. We must empower them to be creative, to imagine and reimagine the world around them. They must be nurtured to build greater self-awareness through experiential learning and exposure, be it in the arts or any other field.

Whatever your children choose, they must start early in life. Children have impressionable minds and they are impacted by the environment they are exposed to.

Keeping this in mind, National Gallery Singapore has made our job of nurturing our kids to greatness easier by organising Gallery Children’s Festival: Small Big Dreamers, from now until 9 September.

According to Ms Suenne Megan Tan, Festival Director of Gallery Children’s Festival and Director (Audience Development and Engagement) at National Gallery Singapore, “Dreams have the innate power to encourage possibilities in the minds of everyone, regardless of age. This sets the stage for Children’s Festival, as we work together with artists to curate art installations that open one’s mind to new ideas and encourage creativity.”

Ms Tan is right, and for this year’s edition of the festival, her team has chosen to spotlight the life and practice of Singaporean artist Lee Wen, a “Big Dreamer”in his own right.

Lee Wen, an internationally-recognised multidisciplinary artist and one of the pioneers of performance art in Singapore, will inspire your children when they visit the festival.

The Festival features a special commission – A Waking Dream: Sun-Boy and Yellow Man and four other interactive installations that encourage visitors to create their very own stories – similar to how Lee Wen was guided by stories in his artistic practice.

This festival is different from other museum festivals or programmes because here, kids are encouraged to interact with the installations. This is unique, as normally such interactions are not allowed in other kid-friendly art exhibitions. Here are the festival exhibits/interactive play highlights that will unleash creativity in your children and spark in them the dream to achieve great things in life.children's events at national gallery

What: Dreaming Big with Lee Wen: Passing Through the Rainbow Passageway, and the Dreamers’ Haven

Where: City Hall Foyer

Children and parents can start the immersive Small Big Dreamer’s journey at the City Hall Foyer. Here, they will enter the dream-like world created by Singaporean artist, Lee Wen.

During their journey, they will encounter Sun-Boy and Yellow Man – two of Lee Wen’s personas in his body of work.

Your children will be able to explore five interactive installations with a cast of fun characters inspired by Lee Wen’s book A Waking Dream and seminal series, Journey of a Yellow Man. They can experiment with sounds using everyday objects such as pots, ladles and spoons at the Rainbow Concert Hall and spin the Wheel of Life at Daydream Tunnel. They can watch colours transform as they follow the curious Cosmic Dancer along the Rainbow Passageway.

children's events at national gallery

On another level, they can step inside a wireframe cage installation at Dreamers’ Haven and creatively express their hopes and fears on a pair of paper wings. They will also learn how to activate their bodies the way Lee Wen did as a performance artist in Anatomy of Dreamers by bending and stretching their way out of rope bridges.

In the Anatomy of Dreamers, artist Lee Wen invites you to design your own Small Big Dreamers journey by choosing one of three paths and discover the different journeys that the Yellow Man has taken, while exploring Sun-Boy's land of dreams.

Here’s what you and your kids should keep in mind:

  1. Try to keep your balance as you cross the rope bridges.
  2. Bend and stretch your body around the red ribbons.
  3. Walk beneath the canopy of red lanterns.

Which path will you choose? That’s up to you.

At this installation, you can give your kids this challenge: There are three paths in front of you that will lead you from one end of the room to the other. Which path will you choose? Why?

Also, you can ask them: What do the colours in the room remind you of?

There are helpful recommendations on how to interact with the works at each installation space. Keep a look out for these on walls or standees. This kind of fun and creative interaction with the installations will appeal to the artistic side of your child and unleash his artistic passion.

What: Exploring creativity ThroughPool Noodles and Velcro

Where: Supreme Court Wing, Level B1, Koh Seow Chuan Concourse Gallery

What can you do with pool noodles, velcro and other household objects? As kids’ participation is part of this installation, encourage your children to create their own art and contribute to the creation of a masterpiece.

Kids will get into a very colourful world of shapes and patterns using these same objects in Hands On by We Make Carpets! They will never see everyday objects in the same way again!

Hands On is based on an exhibition first commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne and developed in collaboration with We Make Carpets! in 2017–18.

What: Passage and Bridges – Evolution of Firewalk: A Bridge of Embers by Mark Justiniani

Where: Supreme Court Wing, Level B1, Outside Koh Seow Chuan Concourse Gallery

How would your kids feel when they walk across a see-through glass panel with a mind-boggling illusion of depth?

This is Passages and Bridges – Evolution of Firewalk: A Bridge of Embers’, a 12-metre infinity bridge with an illusion of depth that crosses the boundaries between dreams and reality.

Artist Mark Justiniani has introduced a new iteration to this popular installation.

Both parents and children can take a surreal walk along this bridge and peer through the windows of time.

Aside fromthese fascinating exhibits, there are other installations that your children can explore such as Walk, Walk, Walk: Search, Deviate, Reunite and Flowers and People — Dark by teamLab.

Other Programme Highlights of Gallery Children’s Festival: Small Big Dreamers

Have Fun with Art Packs

Families can have fun together at the gallery with Art Packs that will help enhance the experience.

For just $5, you will receive

  • A mini festival pass for a Small Big Dreamer 

  • A set of five illustrated activity cards to explore the installations 

  • A rainbow pencil 

  • Admission stickers* for twoother Small Big Dreamers


Where to buy: Art packs can be purchased at dedicated vending machines on Level 1, Level 3 and the Keppel Centre for Art Education. 


*Each sticker admits a child aged 12 and below. Valid till 9 September 2018. Admission fees apply for accompanying adults. 


What: Sound Makers by Little Creatures

Create rhythms and beats using daily objects like pots and pans in this fun parent-child workshop. 


When: Sat-Sun 1–2 Sept | 11-11.30 a.m. (5-8 years old) | 2–2.30 p.m. (3-6 years old) | 3.30–4 p.m. (8 months–3 years)

Where: City Hall Wing, Level 1, Rainbow Concert Hall

What: Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) 2018: Celebrations in the City

Explore your imagination with students in a series of performances across different art forms.

When: Fri 29 Jun | 5–7.30 p.m., Sat 30 Jun | 1.30–5.45 p.m., Sun 1 Jul | 2–6 p.m. Padang Atrium and Singapore Courtyard

What: Small Big Dreamers: Incredible 5 Tours

Gain insights into the stories that inspired the installations on this exciting docent-led tour. Suitable for families, the young and young-at-heart. Admission tickets to exhibitsapply. Registration opens 20 minutes before each tour at the Tours Desk located at the Visitors Service Room, Level B1. 20 slots are available per tour on a first come, first served basis.  

When: Wednesdays & Saturdays |Until 8 Sept | 4–5 p.m.

What: Family Art Workshop

Get creative as a family and pick up new skills for art making under the guidance of an experienced Gallery facilitator. Create your own masterpiece inspired by works featured in the festival.

Tickets available through the Gallery and SISTIC websites and ticketing counters. For more information, please visit .

When: Sat 11 Aug | 1.30–3 p.m. | $20 per adult-child pair or $30 per adult-child trio | 7 years and above | City Hall Wing, Level 1, Keppel Centre for Art Education

Mums, as you can see, there are plenty of activities at Gallery Children’s Festival: Small Big Dreamers that will broaden your child’s horizons. Help her dream big by bringing her to this special festival and let her imagination take wings. You can have this unique experience free if you are a Singaporean or a permanent resident.

Visit National Gallery Singapore at 1 St Andrew’s Road today and enjoy the festival!