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Gallery 1819 straight from the factory

With museums yet to fully open after the coronavirus lockdown, Pangzi was surprised to learn that I was taking him to Gallery 1819 in the Tan Boon Liat Building.

“How to practise social distancing in an enclosed gallery full of people?” he asked.

“Don’t worry, nobody knows Tan Boon Liat. We’ll have the place all to ourselves,” I assured him.

“But I know Tan Boon Liat! He’s the brother of Tan Kah Kee. They make furniture together!” he said.

”That’s so untrue. Where did you hear that?” I said. “Anyway this factory building now houses over 10 floors of cool shops. Gallery 1819 is just one of them.”


“Yes, I think they manufacture things here last time.”

“Any toy shops?”

“Now they mainly sell furniture and other products for home improvement, but let’s stay focussed on Gallery 1819.”

“Why is there an art gallery in a furniture place?” Pangzi wondered.

“Gallery 1819 is right beside LivingwithArt which sells affordable art pieces for homeowners. I guess they go hand in hand.” I hazarded.

Gallery 1819 is quite a new addition to the art scene in Singapore. It features contemporary art from Southeast Asia, and some of the pieces are as quirky as the factory building it is in.

“Daddy, this robot looks familiar. Do I know her?” Pangzi asked, pointing to an Audrey Hepburn masterpiece.

“She used to be a big star. Angmohs like her,” I explained.

Strange enough, foreigners seemed to like Tan Boon Liat Building. On the day of our visit, every other person who came was a Caucasian.

And I was dead wrong about the crowd.

The place was very much alive, despite being located in the middle of nowhere along Outram Road.

We were the ones late to the party.

“Daddy, why do artists like to paint naked people?”

“Beats me. Maybe easier to sell.”

Some of the pieces at Gallery 1819 were for sale indeed.

They were not cheap.

I suppose if you’re willing to shell out a couple of thousands for furniture, another few grands wouldn’t be out of the question.

“Daddy, I like factories. They are so interesting.”

If only he knew.


We were here:


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