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05 Oct 2020 - 31 Jan 2021
#NEVERBEFORESG addresses the impact of COVID-19 in Singapore and serves as a visual documentation seen through the eyes of 87 creatives.


The National Museum of Singapore presents #NEVERBEFORESG, an online exhibition curated by Yang Derong, that explores our state of mind during this global pandemic. 


The unprecedented Novel Coronavirus pandemic or known as COVID-19, has affected everyone in ways big and small. This pandemic has triggered an abrupt global standstill, with no nation spared including Singapore. As the recovery period appears indefinite, the situation drives us to re-evaluate how we live our lives whilst transitioning to a “new normal” as the world slowly begins to rebuild itself. 

#NEVERBEFORESG addresses the impact of COVID-19 in Singapore and serves as a visual documentation seen through the eyes of 87 creatives. The series of artworks capture the state of mind of the nation and its people and is charted in the different phases since the announcement of the Circuit Breaker (distancing) measures in Singapore. The artworks and creative expressions share thought-provoking reflections and the myriad of mutual emotions that unveil hopes, fears and anxieties experienced during these challenging times   

Curated by Yang Derong, #NEVERBEFORESG is driven by a situation as the pandemic, as creativity forces one to think outside of the norm to continue to be creative and innovative. Creativity acts as essential light to better see and help navigate the world in new ways. Though the COVID-19 crisis has had a severe emotional and economic impact on the creative landscape, this allows the opportunity for artists and creatives to regroup and reinvent themselves like never before in this new normal. Presented on an online digital platform, #NEVERBEFORESG visually brings this creative experience to the audiences in the comfort of their homes.

Expressed in 9 chapters, #NEVERBEFORESG echoes how art is an essential form of healing and recovery. It provides solace in times of need and serving as tie that bond people together. This gathering of soul warming artworks pay tribute to the both the essential and non-essential, reinforcing the importance of creativity and compassion in these dark hours as we head out to the new world.

#NEVERBEFORESG is presented through 9 chapters that showcase a multitude of 140 artworks by 91 creatives in solidarity, capturing the psyche of this unprecendented crisis.

Head over to our Facebook page to learn more about each chapter!



The “new normal” reminds us that we can perhaps never go back to the “old normal” — and nor should we want to, especially in the case of migrant workers’ dormitories. In the dorms of the present, COVID-19 found the conditions to spread rapidly. What could the dorms of a better, brighter future look like? We challenged our architects to share their thoughts and idea.

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What happens in our city when COVID-19 disrupts our businesses, travel, economy and even our daily lives? Will certain urban tribes become more noticeable? What about more mental and psychological stress? We put out a challenge for a video essay that would chronicle these shifts — and bring home the fragility and unpredictability of life as we know it.


At times private and intimate, drawings capture an emotional state. We asked illustrators to share their pictorial essays of their feelings and sentiments during the Circuit Breaker, so that while providing an insight into their personal world, they could also speak to children and their parents, who might be wondering how to have conversations about the impact of the virus in a reassuring way.

Our challenge to our photographers from all walks of life was to document their time at home during the Circuit Breaker, sharing the particular view from their habitat. For 19 days, they were to take a square photo from the same spot at four different times of the day, using only their mobile phones — giving us a glimpse into the worlds and spaces they live in, shrunken but perhaps simultaneously enlarged.


The pandemic in Singapore has given rise to new vocabulary, including words and phrases like “covidiot”, “fattening the curve” and “CB”. We challenged 19 writers to create their own 8-line piece incorporating COVID-19 lingo, illustrating their fears, dreams, anxieties, and whatever they may have observed or imagined. They were also invited to produce a video of themselves presenting their piece.


Circuit Breaker life in squares — that’s the challenge we gave our Instagram photographers, who are experts in the digital medium. We wanted to see the world through the lens of their mobile phones as they ran essential errands or took exercise during the CB, documenting an unprecedented phase of life in Singapore, the now-deserted places once teeming with life, and the economic and social impact of the pandemic on our society.

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global spread of the virus has been mirrored by a global “infodemic” of false information and fake news spreading across new media platforms. We put out a call for a film that would illustrate the impact of unreliable information, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and hate crimes, without losing sight of the almost comedic surreality of the fake news phenomenon.

#08 - Fashion/Industrial Designs : PPE COUTURE

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has emerged as the most important and sought-after weapon in the fight against COVID-19. Wearing it is uncomfortable and getting hold of it can be a battle — but it saves lives. We challenged designers, who are experts in both fashion and industrial categories, to imagine protective, creative PPE that have the well-being of their wearers in mind — an exercise to thank our healthcare frontlines for risking their lives so that we can stay safe at home.


Digital technologies are critical in facing the COVID-19 situation, which has compelled societies to turn to online solutions in response to the crisis. In CB isolation, we still had the virtual world. What if we designed a game in which we could immediately triumph over COVID-19 — not once, but over and over again — by observing safety measures? This was the challenge we posed to our creative digital interactive artists.


Family Time

Visit our permanent galleries with your little ones and play spot-the-artefact! Our colourful Early Learning Resources introduce pre-schoolers to our artefacts according to the themes of Numbers, Colours, and ABCs. Available at $8 per set from the Museum Label shop. For more children's activity booklets, click here.

Museum guide

Download our museum guide (English, Chinese, Bahasa Melayu, Tamil) to find out about the many treasures in our various galleries. In this guide, you will also find the floor plan for easier navigation. Enjoy your visit!

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