Tropical Forest Sceneries: Singapore & Beyond
Wed, 15 Mar 2023 - Sun, 17 Sep 2023
09:00AM - 18:00PM
Singapore Botanic Gardens,
Botanical Art Gallery
- Guided Exhibition Tours on 22 Apr, 13 May, 8 July 2023
The exhibition Tropical Forest Sceneries: Singapore & Beyond provides visitors with a visual and immersive experience through the changing forest sceneries in Singapore and its vicinity. The vast range of artefacts, from paintings and photographs to carpological displays, will take you back in time to scenes of verdant abundance and grandeur, of deforestation and devastation, and finally, of reforestation and restoration. The exhibition marks the first time the stunning photographs of Edred John Henry Corner, a botanist and former Assistant Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and other artworks in the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ archives are displayed.
Before commercial agriculture and urbanisation, Singapore and its surroundings were mostly covered by lush forests, including freshwater swamps, coastal vegetation, and lowland mixed dipterocarp forests. With the advent of global trade and population expansion, large tracts of forests were cleared to produce cash crops for export.
Artists and naturalists alike felt a pressing need to record disappearing forests. While artists illustrated stunning forest sceneries, naturalists concentrated their efforts on collecting and studying specimens.
The colonial government and civil society were also increasingly concerned that primary forests would be lost in perpetuity. They pushed for the preservation of extant forests by establishing nature reserves and starting tree planting campaigns. Efforts at tree planting intensified after World War II, especially after Singapore’s independence. This commitment to greening Singapore continues today through the National Parks Board’s vision to create a City in Nature.
The line drawings, watercolour paintings, lithographs, photographs, maps, books and carpological displays in this exhibition will take you back in time to scenes of verdant abundance and grandeur, of deforestation and devastation, and finally, of reforestation and restoration.
Level 1, Botanical Art Gallery (Gallop Extension)
Open daily*, 9am - 6pm
*Closed every last Thursday of the Month
Admission is free
Exhibition runs from 15 March to 17 September 2023
Hoya latifolia G.Don (above)
Singaporandia macrophylla (Hook.f.) K.M.Wong (below)
Published in Flora of Singapore, volume 13, back cover
Path Across the Swamp (Changi)
Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez
In Skizzen aus Singapur und Djohor (Sketches from Singapore and Johor), plate XI
Morning Sunbeams, Lower Ring Road
November 1961, photograph
Map of the Island of Singapore and its Dependencies
In Report on the Present System of Forest Conservancy in the Straits Settlements 1900