Singapore Art Museum debuts collection of local works catering to visually impaired

Justin Lee’s “East & West” adaptation (left) and David Chan’s “Utama’s Cat” adaptation for the SAM Touch Collection. (PHOTOS: Singapore Art Museum)

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM)’s first dedicated programme for visually impaired visitors, one of its outreach initiatives to extend the art experience to audiences of all backgrounds and abilities, makes its debut on Tuesday (30 October).

The portable and interactive SAM Touch Collection will showcase adaptations of works by local artists in SAM’s collection which are accompanied by supplementary resources, such as audio guides and reproductions of finer artwork details for visually impaired visitors, said the museum in a press release.

Centring on the historical, cultural and social aspects of Singapore, the collection includes artwork adaptations by David Chan of his SAM Front Lawn commission in 2015, titled “Utama’s Cat”Justin Lee of his artwork titled “East & West” presented at the Singapore Art Show at SAM in 2009and Zulkifle Mahmod of his artwork titled “Raising Spirits and Restoring Souls” commissioned for SAM’s 5 Stars exhibition in 2015.

Zulkifle Mahmod’s original “ Raising Spirits and Restoring  Souls”. (PHOTO: Singapore Art Museum)
Zulkifle Mahmod’s “ Raising Spirits and Restoring  Souls” adaptation for the SAM Touch Collection. (PHOTO: Singapore Art Museum)

More artwork adaptations by other local artists are in the pipeline, added SAM, and the programme may be made available for other community groups, such as the elderly and those with special needs, after more research has been carried out.

The development of the SAM Touch Collection started four years ago, including focus group discussions and consultations with international institutions, visually impaired persons, artists, and professionals.

“Contemporary art should be accessible to all communities, and the development of programmes like Quiet Hour at SAM and the SAM Touch Collection are first steps in rolling out the type of programming that we intend to facilitate in the future at the museum,” says Wang Tingting, SAM’s manager for educational programmes.

In 2017, SAM started the Quiet Hour at SAM” programme, an initiative that provides free transportation to and from the museum for closed-door access to SAM’s exhibitions, as well as tours and workshops tailored for special needs visitors.

In the same year, SAM established a Quiet Room at the museum for children or visitors with special needs to have a space to retreat to.

The SAM Touch Collection, supported by AscendasSingbridge Gives Foundation and Our Singapore Fund, and other access programmes are available for booking by schools or community groups.

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