​Speech by NTU President at Launch of NTU Campus Art Trail

Published on: 18-Oct-2018

Speech by

Professor Subra Suresh

President, Nanyang Technological University

Launch of NTU Campus Art Trail

18 October 2018 (Thursday)

Marketplace, North Spine Plaza

Thank you, very much, Distinguished Guests,
Students of NTU,
Friends and Colleagues, Staff.


I know you came here to see the art, to admire the art and not to listen to me. So I will be extremely brief. Kian Woon said and expressed my sentiments a lot better than I could possibly do. Thank you, Kian Woon.

Now, the launch of the NTU Campus Art Trail, signifies a number of things. It not only talks about all the things that he mentioned, the purpose of a successful life, the purpose of being where a lot of you are here at the Nanyang Technological University. In order to fully realise the potential of our students, it is not just the technology, but all aspects of human dimension, which inevitably has to be art and its DNA. And so what we are launching today, is not an insignificant step. I think it is a small step in a very long journey of a thousand miles, but it is not an insignificant step.

NTU is very blessed with the fact that we have a beautiful, large campus, which is relatively new, well planned, well maintained, in a beautiful and well planned city. And we can go much farther in the expression of art in the infrastructure of the university than most universities can possibly do.
So we should not miss the opportunity, to exploit that opportunity as we ought to. Art is a very strong opportunity. It is a means of expression, communication, and exploration of the human condition. And it is very important that we connect it in ways that only NTU can do. For example, a number of displays in the Art Trail here combine technology with natural beauty, technology with the physical surroundings, as well as technology with sustainability to make fine pieces of art. And I think this is something we need to reiterate its importance. Certainly, the technology with art is something that I think we should forge for the uniqueness of NTU in expressed art.

The NTU Museum has evolved, as Kian Woon mentioned, the Musuem now plays a very important role. It facilitates and maintains the art, and it is now taking charge of facilitating a much needed conversation in art. The Museum gathers experts and students across different fields in NTU to collaborate on artworks and creations, thereby marrying art, science and technology. As an enabler, the Museum provides many practical opportunities for our faculty and students to learn from new experiences and hone their technical skills. As a supporter, the Museum allows our faculty and students to showcase their artistic capabilities, enriching the campus community.

One such artwork that has enriched the campus community and features faculty in this Art Trail is Bloom, an eleven metre-by-three metre interactive artwork, now installed at the LKCMedicine’s Clinical Sciences Building, at our Novena Campus.

Conceptualised by students from the School of Art, Design and Media under the supervision of Visiting Artist, Fabrizio Galli and staff from the Energy Research Institute at NTU and the Museum, this artwork is powered entirely by solar energy. Integrating smart technology, and programming, real-time data of the weather condition on the main campus is collected, and a slight change in temperature is reflected through a visual performance of changing colours and moving flowers, at the Novena Campus. This innovative interaction symbolically connects the two campuses.

Indeed, NTU is proud to start a collection of interdisciplinary public art, which is powered by renewable energy sources. I believe such a collection is unique and not found in other art institutions in Singapore.

And also the Campus Art Trail is unique and the first in Singapore. I would say that the Museum is also a revolutionary model of its own given that it has no physical location, but works everywhere and anywhere, where there is an art on campus. The Museum has made art more accessible to public and to the NTU community. And this will only increase with the launch of the NTU Campus Art Trail.

With the Art Trail today that we are officially launching,  a culmination of the Museum’s hard work in making access, and appreciation of art as an integral part of campus life, maximising community engagement.

On this Trail, visitors can view all 42 artworks by our NTU community, local and international artists at NTU’s main campus, Novena campus and NTU Alumni House at Marina Square. You can take our internal shuttle bus to visit the trail, or better still, stay healthy by contributing to our 10 Billion Step Challenge by visiting the trail on foot. I would like to encourage you to take a copy of the Campus Art Trail Map, which is also provided or you can also access the interactive online version of the Map available on the Museum’s website.

The collection of artworks on this Map will be growing as the Museum continues to collaborate with the NTU community, and seek partnerships with the external artists, to bring more art and vibrancy to our campus, and to make our contributions towards Singapore’s art scene.

The Museum has also put together a full colour art catalogue, which you have at the backs of your chairs, to detail the many artworks and creations we have on campus. This is a beautiful memento to visitors. These artworks and creations are featured alongside our landmark buildings that are recognised as architectural highlights and icons of sustainability such as The Hive, The Arc and the School of Art Design and Media and soon, we have the largest wooden building in Asia in existence in about two and a half years from now. They add a unique character to our campus, which is already recognised as one of the most beautiful university campuses in the world.

Concurrently, I am also pleased to launch an exhibition of artworks by the NTU community, including students, staff, faculty and alumni, inspired by the artworks that are displayed on the Trail. The exhibition is open until 24 October, and our campus community can vote for their favourite works.
In closing, I would like to thank all our staff, faculty, students, schools and offices as well as our donors, for their continued contributions in building up and creating our art collection, and making the NTU Campus Art Trail a reality.

I would like to particularly take this opportunity to commend my profound gratitude and thanks on behalf of all of us to Ms Faith Teh, Deputy Director, NTU Museum, for her enduring advocacy for art on campus. Let’s give her a warm round of applause. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the unfailing support of Professor Kwok Kian Woon, Associate Provost (Student Life), whose strategic directions and guidance played an important role in shaping the development of the Museum and its work. Thank you.

Last but not least, I would like to thank all of our sponsors, faculty, staff and supporters who have given so generously in different ways and in sponsorship of this event and exhibition, especially Zwaan Pte Ltd for sponsoring the interactive online Campus Trail map.

Next year, we will have a new NTU Welcome Centre on campus. The Campus Art Trail will have an opportunity to be featured in various ways, combining natural beauty, with the most sophisticated technology in 2D, 3D, in reality, in virtuality and in all its forms. So, thank you.

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