In an unprecedented move in Singapore, hedge fund manager Danny Yong, 43, has donated S$5 million – the largest individual contribution – to National Gallery Singapore.
"Art is an area that has been overlooked in the past in terms of how it can improve the quality of our lives. I am glad that National Gallery Singapore is taking on the responsibility to strengthen our art consciousness. I hope that more people will find it meaningful to gain deeper insights into our region’s art histories via the iconic artworks displayed at the Gallery,” said Yong.
The donation will go towards art acquisitions for the national collection. Yong joins a list of more than 20 other individual donors who have contributed generously to the Gallery.
“We are deeply grateful for Mr Danny Yong’s patronage. His belief in improving the quality of life via art resonates with how we intend to make art accessible. The extent of his generosity also signals a significant shift in how more corporations and individuals are doing their part to grow a museum-going culture in Singapore by encouraging a new generation of art lovers,” said Kola Luu, Director Business & Corporate Strategic Development Group, National Gallery Singapore.
In recognition of this generous donation, Forest Fire, a painting by Indonesian artist Raden Saleh, has been adopted in honour of the Yong Hon Kong Foundation, which Yong had established in memory of his late father.
Raden Saleh’s largest painting is a dramatic representation of wild animals chased by flames to the edge of a precipice. The monumental scale of the work and the dense, elaborate composition are testament to his ambitions as a painter. Although the subject matter is Javanese, Saleh had already been in Europe for 20 years earning significant critical success and elite patronage by the time he painted Forest Fire. The artwork was presented as a gift to his patron King William III of the Netherlands in 1850, one year before the artist was awarded the title of “King’s Painter”.
The artwork will be displayed at the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery for public viewing when the museum opens on 24 November 2015. Admissions to the Singapore and Southeast Asia permanent galleries will be free during the Opening Celebrations from 24 November to 6 December 2015. Following this period the permanent galleries will continue to be free for Singaporeans and permanent residents.