Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Gillman Barracks - art galleries

Gillman Barracks is now a collection of art galleries and artist studios, open free to the public. It's aim is to showcase modern art from around the world. Set in the old British Army barracks, surrounded by greenery, it is just a stones through away from the architectural Interlace condo, the greenery of Hort Park and Telok Blangah and with the coast just down at the bottom of the hill. The sounds of nature fill the air as you explore these black and whites, these once army blocks now turned art galleries.


In 1936 Gillman Barracks were built for the British Army and named after the British officer General Sir Webb Gillman. 
Feb 1942 saw a large battle between the British and Japanese before they surrendered Singapore.
1971 the British Army handed over the Barracks to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for a peppercorn rent of $1.
1996 the end of military use as it was renamed Gillman Village, with shops, furniture stores and restaurants. 
2010 the name Gillman Barracks was restored and the area was redeveloped.
Sept 2012 was reopened as we see it today as an art enclave. 

To be honest Gillman Barracks was somewhat of a let down. I visited with a friend, both of us interested in art and had both looked at this as a career path when younger. Many of the barrack blocks were empty or closed. Others we were turned away from as they were setting up, I know this can't be helped. Generally the place had a feeling of neglect, not quite there, a somewhat sad feeling. It didn't quite succeed at what it was aiming to do, myself and my friend were the only ones there. I feel like the place had been restored and reopened 2 years ago but then just left to its only devices, as sadly many things often are in Singapore. With the new gallery at Fort Canning opening next year, along with the new National Gallery opening in the old Supreme Court in the civic centre, I am concerned this place will become even more of a ghost town and then what? .... Loss of the old black and whites?......, redevelopment?

Much of the artwork in the photos are from the temporary street wall art on the facades of the barrack blocks

young artist at work

Described as a man in white shirt and black trousers - yep 

remaining old road sign

Love the old black and white colonial toilet block :) 

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