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Contemporary Project

A space for contemporary art

This gallery at the Kwek Hong Png Wing is dedicated to contemporary art that is specifically designed for the space. Each work will draw inspiration from the museum’s collection, and inspire new ways of seeing. We hope that contemporary art can inspire contemplation of how we might share ideas, tastes, and concerns with cultures from a different era or locality.

Grains of Thought, by Singaporean artist Eng Tow, is the first commission for the new space. Floating forms with layers of tones are based on the form of a humble grain of rice, a crop grown throughout Asia.

Grains of Thought - ACM Contemporary Project

Grains of Thought - ACM Contemporary ProjectGrains of Thought
Eng Tow
Singapore, 2015
Acrylic paint on carbon fibre sculptural forms


Grains of Thought
A work by Eng Tow

Inspired by the white porcelain collection of the Asian Civilisations Museum, as well as by the open, inviting space of this new gallery, the artist Eng Tow was drawn to the form of the simple grain of rice – an everyday encounter throughout Asia. She was struck by the utter simplicity of the shape, but also by the myriad associations of rice.

The way the sculptures have been made – from a milled core, subsequent layers of material, to the final buildup of rich paint – echoes the structure of rice grains: from endosperm, to germ, bran, and husk.

Rice sustains half the globe, with 90% of it grown and consumed in Asia. The cultivation of rice has profoundly affected the geography, economies, politics, and culture of the entire continent.

Born in Singapore, Eng Tow studied at the Royal College of Art in London. She attracted acclaim for her textile constructions and papercast works. She painted on sheets she made from paper fibres mixed with silk thread, shell, and even lint from her washing machine. Eng Tow has created works for the Kovan MRT station and the St Regis Singapore.

Panel Text Translations