Gillman Barracks

Originally built in 1936 as a military encampment for the British Army, Gillman Barrcks now hosts ten art galleries located in five buildings. Aiming to set itself up as a contemporary art destination in Asia its big enough to require picking up one of the maps that can be found dotted around the complex.

I’m no art expert, for me somethings work and some things don’t. This for example, a hand wound ball of thread, meant to represent the fragile fenced border between India and Pakistan. So,ok,  get that but its not very exciting to look at!

This morning glory made of rattan however is great to look at, and huge!
Plus this movie poster style painting was fun.
Some volcanic ash art.
I also saw some more Sebastiao Salgado photographs. Having seen his Genesis exhibition twice, once in London’s Natural History Museum and again at the National Museum of Singapore I was thrilled to spot some photographs from his Workers series.
So still loads to explore there, sure you could get immersed for a whole day, and going on a history tour might be very interesting.

Young Musical Talent

A couple of months back we saw a leaflet advertising a Piano Concerto Festival at the Singapore School of Arts (another unusual and beautiful building). The festival was spread over two Sundays with 6 brilliant young pianists joining forces for the first time in South East Asia. All 6 had been mentored by Tedd Joselson who was the patron of the concert. When I went online to buy the tickets we couldn’t decide which week to buy for, then seeing they were only $20 (£10) each we thought, lets go to both!

Last weeks experience was magical with 3 pianists who I would estimate to be in their early 20s. I think today’s was extra special though. There was a young lad who looked about 12, they had to bring in a special raised stool for him, playing note perfect Mozart in perfect timing, with the orchestra, all from memory. Then after an intermission another young lad, maybe 16 played Rachmaninoff. Think ‘All By Myself’, the programme told me the melody came from this Rachmaninoff piece and you could really here it in parts. We watched as he really stepped into the music. His body flowed with his every key press and the speed at which the notes were played, a real knuckle busting piece. When the piece reached its climax he seemed to speed up another gear which you wouldn’t have thought possible. On finishing he punched the air with his fists, a big grin on his face. I just can’t even imagine how you memorize such a long and complicated piece and all at such a young age. Such dedication and talent! Utterly breathtaking.

Kuala Lumpur

Only 50 minutes by plane from Singapore KL is a very different city from our current second home. The crowning glory of the Malaysian capital are the Petronas Towers standing at 452m .

Tickets for a visit (we had to book in advance or queue at 8am) include a trip to the sky bridge that spans the two towers before continuing to the 88th floor at  the top of the tower. The sky bridge, the worlds highest double decked bridge, connects levels 41 and 42. It is not fully attached to the building and facilities the natural movement due to weather conditions. 
Seen up close from the 88th floor the buildings seem very intricate and the stainless steels gleams in the sunlight. The unusual shape must have been difficult to build and there are many Islamic influences in the design and style.

In the picture below you can just make out the telecoms tower which I have pictured from the ground below.

Sadly it was rather hazy and our view felt a bit spoilt.

Interesting swimming pool on this hotel!

The telecoms tower, reminds of the BT tower in London.

Taken from the park below.

The National Mosque of Malaysia has a capacity of 15,000 people, sadly I couldn’t find a vantage point to show off the sheer size of the building.

Stunning pieces in the Islamic Arts Museum.

The dome roof

 Outside of the dome roof

Heritage buildings opposite Merdeka Square.

Sadly KL felt somewhat disjointed. The taxis got snarled up in the busy traffic and seemed to take ages to travel only short distances. The pavements were cracked, full of holes or just plain non-existent. The trains seemed to be the best option but even those were confusing and there was always a queue for a ticket. It wasn’t the clean, slick, easy city life that we have become accustomed!

Ice Art

I do tend to want to try everything and have an ability to find random things to do. This may be one of the most random, an Ice Art show. In a warehouse maintained at -15 Deg C was a display of ice sculptures complete with an icy slide for the kids. You could even hire a jacket to keep you warm whilst you look around inside. What a random mix of sculptures too!
Sir Stamford Raffles stands proudly outside his hotel.
Eiffel Tower
Santa and his reindeer!
Dragon Art
Our very own Big Ben