Saturday was my turn to look after my daughter for the day while the wife went out and did some other stuff. It’s usually better to get your kid out of the house on such days; even if an outdoor adventure flying solo with the one-year-old is harder work, we both get more out of the day than we would if I was trying to pass the time with a DVD and keep Elsa entertained at the same time.

So I headed to the ArtScience Museum with Elsa to check out their traveling exhibits. I have to admit, I’ve become quite fond of this museum in the couple of years since it opened, despite earlier misgivings about it being a minor monument to everything wrong with modern Singapore (the much larger Marina Bay Sands behind it being the major monument). Yes, it’s expensive to get in but I have seen some pretty good displays there such as the Tang dynasty treasures uncovered from the Beilitung shipwreck and the Salvador Dali and the Andy Warhol exhibits.

The Art of the Brick is the main one showing at the moment and features a bunch of sculptures made out of Lego by artist Nathan Sawaya.

I’ve never been overly impressed with elaborate Lego constructions, even as a kid: there’s no texture and no real depth of colour. The characters all look the same and the whole thing just has this one-dimensionality about it. The worlds you could build were always going to have this rigidness about them with little room for surprise or twists and turns.

It’s a great product to play with but always more of an engineer’s toy than an artist’s toy. Sawaya challenged this prejudice of mine. He actually does what the best artists and innovators do: create enduring solutions by working within the box.



ImageHis works are both deep and fun. At a minimum, they might resemble the kind of postmodern sculptures you’d see in sterile corporate parks around the world: Atlas-like figures breaking through barriers, carrying large objects, co-operating with eachother, that sort of thing. The most impressive thing about Sawaya’s sculptures to me is the way he’s been able to use a medium primarily designed to express architectural or mechanical visions and reshape it speak to the human experience. It’s a reminder of how something that has been used in a specific way for generations can find new life through new expressions.


 This one is legit – I placed Elsa in the seat and she just struck this pose. What can I say?