Singapore Event: Imaginarium at SAM 8Q

Due to Children’s Season 2015 which happened in June 2015, we visited the exhibition – Imaginarium at SAM 8Q on the same day as “Masak Masak” at National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Philatelic Museum. These buildings are in the vicinity of each other so it would be good to allocate an entire day for visiting.



Singapore Art Museum (SAM) has held an annual contemporary art exhibition for children since 2010. As a family who loves artistic stuff, it is our favourite museum out of all the museums. We went twice to this exhibition for children in 2010 and 2012 and went to a few exhibitions at SAM before.

Due to SG50 celebrations this year, the exhibition (different from the past exhibitions) is inspired by the crescent moon on the Singapore Flag. It symbolises us as a young nation capable of dreaming big, imagining and creating stuff for ourselves and others. I love this theme so much as I’m an imaginative person and often enjoys creative stuff. Similarly for Dar, I’m always introducing him to creative things/exhibitions happening, to encourage him to be curious, imaginative and creative.


We took the MRT to Bras Basah MRT Station. After exiting, SAM was just across the road. The exhibition is located however at another building, the Annexe 8Q, so we have to walk further down past the main SAM Building.


1. Trees 

There’s an outdoor installation before entering the SAM 8Q. The Artist created a “tree” made of glass boxes filled with chopped-up parts of the tree. We could observe over time how some of the sections decay forming their new ecosystems within the boxes.


2. We Built this Estate!

This was a fun installation as the Tetris blocks were placed on the floor for children to move around and build their imaginary housing estate. Parents have to keep an eye on the kids though as I noticed when some blocks were stacked with a hole in between the bases, the structure is not stable. A child who then climbs on top would topple over when the block could not take the weight. In fact, one child did topple over and cried so much, the parent had to leave. I had to warn Dar several times to check his blocks’ “foundation”.


3. Imagin-a-doodle

I love the walls that were lined with doodles, filling up four levels of the building, drawn by the “Band of Doodlers”. We looked at the art for a while and ask Dar to find the Singapore landmarks drawn on it, such as the MRT system, Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Raffles etc.


4. Short Films

Next, we proceeded to the “Moving Image Gallery” at Level 2. We had always enjoy the free movie screening of local short films and international feature films here when we come for Children’s Season.  They are high quality work which provoke imagination and has a sense of wonder. Too bad, we could only stay for one film as we did not have more time and need to explore other galleries (Later, we caught another film in the Children’s Season in National Museum, showing the same films). I believe one could also find some on YouTube.


5. Kiko’s Secrets

This gallery was interesting as there were magical worlds hidden within three ‘secret’ boxes. One was full of insects creations, another was a dark room full of neon coloured installations. We took up the kaleidoscope provided to look at the artistic installations and saw beautiful patterns. The whole gallery seemed magical and imaginative and it’s hard to describe. You would have to be there to experience the sensation felt.


The other part was a giant wall with missing parts. We were to search through a box of acrylic pieces and try to match the shapes on the wall to find the perfect piece. We tried several and realised that it was not easy. What we held in hand looked exactly like the size and shape but when we walked over to the board, the piece was either too big or too small and wouldn’t “hold”.

Dar was relentless though and this was the longest gallery we spent time in, because he loves fitting puzzles and wouldn’t give up. In the end, he successfully matched several pieces and each little success spurred him on more. We were there when there was no one around, there when many people joined us in “fitting in” and still there when people left. Finally, we told Dar that we need to explore other galleries too and really had to leave.


6. Green Room II: Interstellar Overdrive

This was also another fun gallery as Vin and Dar got to generate sounds and lights by cycling. Vin tried the ‘sounds’ cycle first and generated fun music. Then, Dar generated a row of words by cycling on a small bike. Vin joined him on a larger bicycle and we were treated to a circle of bursting coloured lights which surprised us.

This installation is supposed to give us thought into how energy is used and how our future cities might be powered by alternate sources.


7. Dream House

We were wowed by this delightful house that looked like the one in the fairytale story, “Hansel and Gretel”. Dar was to take “candy” from a box in the house and plant it on a “tree” in the garden outside. As more people join in to fill the trees with candy, a fully bloomed garden is formed.

These candies symbolises a child’s wishes and desires. The artist’s idea is for us to generate our wishes for the future and encourage them to flourish.

Dar loves model houses like this and had fun running in and out until we had to beckon him to leave.



1. Let’s Make! Studio

We are not crafty people because we prefer to draw/paint instead of making things. Therefore, when I take Dar to events, I like to ask him to join in the activities, usually to create some art & craft. He’s always enthusiastic and participates which I’m glad.

In this exhibition, there was a crafting area where people were invited to “Weave, embroider or make a string pom-pom”. We just had to follow the instructions nicely written on the wall and you could stick the product you have created onto the walls to beautify them.


I was surprised Dar wanted to embroider. He was inspired by an example of an embroidery on the wall with the words, “SAM” and declared he wanted to sew “SAM” too. I decided to make a string pom-pom myself since I had never done it. As the two guys in front of me started the embroidery, I couldn’t help smile. Both of them had not try this before. I feel it’s great for them to step out of their comfort zone once in a while and be game enough to try new things.

Though it was a free event, we were encouraged to drop some amount in a box to cover some material costs. Vin decided to give $2 to help. After Dar finished the embroidery, I ask him to try making the pom-pom too. I helped him turn rounds of string around his palm while he learned to tie and cut the resulting strands into a rounded shape. It was tedious as the strings were difficult to cut but we patiently waited and resisted helping him unless it was too difficult. I believe he would get a better sense of satisfaction if he had painstakingly created his own product.

At the end of the session, he chose to put up his pom-pom on one of the walls and took back the embroidery.


2. Take a Selfie with the SAM Logo

Before leaving the building, we took a picture of ourselves with the “Selfie” Machine or rather photo booth. It costs $2 to generate two photos, one in B&W and one in colour. I had a hunch that the camera might not capture Dar so I propped Dar up by a little even though the seat was adjusted to the highest. At the last take, I was tired and let him go, to do our candid style. Sure enough, his face was cut off by half. Too bad…couldn’t see his pouting lips.

This turned out to be a nice memento for us as I have now, a photograph of us having four fun expressions pinned on my desk wall. I always smile when I look at it daily.


We left the SAM 8Q fully satisfied with the learning experience we had, in search for lunch. If we didn’t need to go to the National Museum, we might have stayed longer to watch the films or visit the main SAM too, which has interesting exhibitions. I’m planning to go again another day.



For More Information, Check the Official Website.

Location: 8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535
‘Imaginarium – A Voyage of Big Ideas exhibition runs from 14 March to 19 July 2015. 
Ticket Price for the Special Exhibition: FREE for Singaporeans to Permanent Galleries / Foreign Adults $10 / Children under 6 – Free
Nearest MRT Station: Bras Basah MRT Station. The main SAM Building is just across, walk a bit further down to SAM’s annexe 8Q.

Click to view LARGE

{Next: Part 2: National Museum of Singapore: Children’s exhibition & Special exhibitions}