Love and Life at the Gallery: An Anthology of Poems based on Artworks from the National Gallery Singapore

Love and Life at the Gallery: An Anthology of Poems based on Artworks from the National Gallery Singapore

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Edited by by Ow Yeong, Wai Kit and Wong, Genevieve

These poems testify to the remarkable harmony between poetry and the visual arts. They offer a timely reminder about the miracle of being alive.”
— Edwin Thumboo

Love isn't just about chocolates and flowers. Love is inseparable from the heartaches of life. As Nicole Emma Low writes, "An artist's palette/May not be pretty, but paints/A lovely portrait."

What does it mean to be in love, to love, to be loved? What does it mean to render that in art? Last year, we invited thirty-four poets to pen poems on love and life inspired by the National Gallery Singapore, home to the world’s largest collection of Southeast Asian art. Drawing upon the rich tradition of ekphrasis—imaginative, spirited writing on art—our poets reframed paintings, chiselled new lines into sculpture, and exposed the unseen. In this collection, you'll find images of love and life in every incandescent, infinitesimal brushstroke of being, no matter how unlikely.

Based on artworks spanning centuries and countries, Love and Life at the Gallery is a multigenerational, multilingual, and multicultural exploration of the dimensions of love and life. Here, you’ll discover an installation by Thai artist Montien Boonma transmuted into a reflection on life cycles by Edwin Thumboo, the Indonesian activist Hendra Gunawan’s revolutionary War And Peace rewritten as a tale of change and immigration by Theophilus Kwek, as well as many other interpretative pairings between art and poetry that will change the way you look at love, life, and how it all intertwines.