There's more to art than polka dots

While you were busy editing your selfies in the Obliteration Room, the rest of Singapore let out a collective whoop to celebrate the end of Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition. Don’t get us wrong—we love the red-wigged artist and her psychedelic works; just not so much the mindset that all art exists for the sole purpose of pimping up your Instagram. What about the works that showcased her anti-war activism? Bet not many people noticed the excerpt from the press release calling for people to gather naked at the New York Stock Exchange in 1968.

But that aside, here are some exhibitions to fill that Kusama-shaped hole in your heart, and help realize that the art scene in Singapore is more than just polka dots. The best part? Admission is free.

Monsoon Song by Fyerool Darma (Through Oct 29)

Monsoon Song is Singaporean artist Fyerool Darma’s second solo exhibition, two years after he debuted with a series of paintings exploring the Malay identity and dissociation. His latest draws from the aesthetics of urban subcultures, traditional ceremonies and the folk craft of Singapore, Malaysia and the region—not unlike his previous work like that featured in the Singapore Biennale 2016, which shed light on the oft-forgotten Malay history of our Lion City. Expect a clashing hodgepodge of objects, images and feathers.

Where: Gillman Barracks

Motor Valley: An Italian Project (Sep 14-17)

Photo credit: Mindy Tan

One for the car lovers, this four-day photo exhibition is Singaporean photographers Mindy Tan and Wilfred Lim’s exclusive glimpse into the prestigious Italian motor industry, its legends, and their driving passions. Featuring more than 50 photographs—whittled down from 600—taken in the renowned Motor Valley of Italy, the show celebrates the history and passion behind supercars like the Lamborghini and Ferrari, as well as legendary motorcycle Ducati.

Where: The Arts House at The Old Parliament

Automarktic by Juls (Sep 15-23)

Singaporean visual artist Juls presents her first solo show—an ongoing investigation of marking patterns, strokes and techniques presented in what basically look like large-scale doodles on crack. But there is method to her madness; the 10 featured pieces, done on mediums ranging from marker to paint, are created by automatic drawing (hence the exhibition name) and drawing by observation. She starts with a single mark and allows it to lead her to unplanned outcomes, to find beauty in imperfection, and look at nature in new ways. It takes a lot more concentration and endurance than you’d think.

Where: UltraSuperNew, 13 Bussorah Street

The Tao of Lee Kuan Yew (Sep 16-24)

Launched on the anniversary of Lee Kuan Yew’s birthday, the exhibition presented by Love Keeps You Alive features 14 artists from six countries and 94 artworks from private collections. The pieces have been curated to examine the dichotomy between art and politics, and Asian values—topics near and dear to Singapore’s most revered man. Strangely also on show is the one and only two-headed turtle from Singapore, a symbol of harmony and fortune.

Where: Instinc Soho, 12 Eu Tong Sen Street, #04-163

Topshop Topman Open House (Sep 21-24)

Topshop and Topman are getting hands-on with their creativity this fall, with interactive multimedia installations to present two key AW17 trends. Housed in dedicated rooms, each brand will showcase two trends through a mix of style, art and interactive media—Topshop with Bowie-inspired pinstripes and Prince of Wales checks and tweed; Topman with skate-infused sportswear, and earth-toned knit and checks. Take a multi-sensory walk through the rooms—it’ll help you decide if you want to pick anything up after in stores.

Where: 99 Beach Road

Witness to War: Remembering 1942 (Sep 23-Mar 21)

Photo credit: National Museum of Singapore National Heritage Board

On the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, the National Museum of Singapore remembers 1942, with their first large-scale, blockbuster war exhibition featuring more than 130 artefacts from 10 overseas museums and institutions. It’s the biggest collection of war stories to date, but go because the exhibition explores events and portrayals of World War II beyond just your textbook syllabus. From witness accounts to personal artefacts from war veterans, to vintage films and even the sword of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, there’s something for everyone to see; and hopefully take away from.

Where: National Museum of Singapore

Women in Photography (Oct 13- Nov 19)

The third edition of Objectifs’s Women in Photography group exhibition spotlights eight international and local women photographers and their works exploring domesticity and family. Follow Belgian photographer Bieke Depoorter aound North America where she documents the homes of strangers who let her stay a night in I Am About to Call it a Day; or peruse uncomfortable portraits of Bangladeshi housewives and housemaids in Jannatul Mawa’s Close Distance.

Where: Objectifs Chapel Gallery