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IMG_3521A Children’s Drawing exhibition by Nel Lim at L’Observatoire @ Blue House

13th May till 2nd June, 2017.

Please note: Exhibition has been extended till the Friday 2nd of June.

If you plan on visiting, please make an appointment with either of us:

Isabelle – 92734991 or by email (Curator)  And Nel – 9645 9621 or by email (Artist)

For this exhibition, artist Nel Lim, who teaches Arts and Craft, has pasted a large part of his children’s drawings collection on the walls, the ceiling, the windows!
The exhibition is interactive and there is a space for the children to draw, inspired by the drawings. There are also a number of challenges offered to the children, to encourage them and start them looking carefully at all the drawings (e.g. find the details, “what do you think this drawing represents?” “How many categories of drawings do you count?”, “How many pictures do you think are in the space?”…). There is also a challenge for adults, as we try to get educators/parents/artists to think about the role of free drawing in children’s expression. Finally, both Nel, the artist and myself (as the curator), would be most happy to engage in a discussion about children’s drawings on any level.
It would be our great pleasure to see you AND THE CHILDREN come and visit!
Although we try to open every day from 10:30 till 4:30 pm, we are flexible on the hours (we can be there earlier!), and will be happy to take you around the space – do give us a call to arrange a time, or by email to Nel and/or myself (See contact above)
Due to the size of the space, we recommend that group no larger than 15 children visit at a time. It is nicer if you give the children time to explore and draw at their own leisure, and for this, you should plan 20 to 30 minutes for a visit.

This May, we are welcoming artist Nel Lim in the studio!


Nel trained as a photographer and graduated (Diploma) from Lasalle in 2010. Since then, Nel has been exploring many other avenues, from food photography to plant rearing. In fact, Nel was one of the pioneer artists-in-residence at Blue House in 2012.

But Nel also loves teaching art and crafts to children. From air-clay to recycled art and watercolour, Nel tries many project with his young students.

Within the course of the last 4 years, Nel has collected a large number of children’s drawings, or as he likes to call them, “Doodle”. He does not teach drawing, but encourages children to draw out their ideas before getting started on their large-scale or   3-D project. Once the project is done, the sketches, or preliminary ideas on paper, often get discarded. And Nel picks them up. He is even known to have picked up drawings from the bin!

Now, for the first time, Nel will take out his carefully organised collection and will display it on the walls, the windows and the ceiling of the Observatoire, for your enjoyment and inspiration.

Nel is the co-founder and main facilitator of ArtzGem, a studio that offers a variety of art classes.

You are invited to look, imagine, question – and do!

On Friday 31st of March, Madhvi gave a presentation of her work to the teachers, followed by a demonstrations of the light and Ceramics experiments we have been conducting, and then led a workshop with clay in the Atelier. Children were nowhere to be seen, as this was a day for the teachers to get in touch with their inner child and resource themselves.

During her talk, Madhvi explained how she started to learn about ceramics in India, in the humblest place, and where she gets her inspiration from.

Then we stepped into the studio. Madhvi demonstrated how adding light to a sculpture can change the focus towards the shadow rather than the object. And how moving light re-creates the effect of city on a building-like ceramic sculpture.


Finally, we went down to the atelier, where the teachers sat on the little chairs, covered their eyes, and engaged in the workshop, making a pot with a lump of clay… in a different way.

We hope the teachers were inspired and that this will trickle down to the classrooms sooner or later!

Rubin held an Open Studio on the 2nd and 3rd of March. The Blue House community was invited, as well as the general public. Friday saw hordes of small people come in and look alternatively at the finished painting and the time-lapse video of the month-long process.  The evening had mostly teachers come and discuss the artwork, process, compare with children’s thought processes. On Saturday, a very relaxed crowd came in and out, taking the time to discuss all, from painting to process, music, jazz and improvisation,  to letting children participate, and the artist’s position there.

The video has now been edited, check it out below. Make sure to turn the sound out loud, as it features Rubin’s beats too, highlighting the musical quality of the process.

Little people doing the jig – we show art but we’re not a gallery.

After a while, small visitors took to the painting and the video – they enjoyed looking for the details in both, comparing and deconstructing the process.


And big people had their big discussions.



Born in Mumbai, Madhvi Subrahmanian is an artist, curator and writer. She trained in ceramics in Pondicherry India, and obtained her Masters in Fine Arts from Meadows School of the Arts, Dallas, TX.  She currently lives and works between Mumbai and Singapore.

Madhvi has been awarded the Charles Wallace Grant among others. She has been invited to several artists in residence programs in Japan, China, Korea, India, Thailand and US. Madhvi has also worked as a freelance arts writer for Singapore Press holdings and writes for international art journals. Additionally she has curated residency programs and exhibitions in Singapore, India and US. She has sculptures and installations in the Mumbai Domestic Airport, India, Shigaraki Ceramic Sculptural Park, Japan, and Fule museum in Fuping, China.

Madhvi’s works have been published in international magazines, and in books.  She shows with Gallery Chemould in Mumbai, Indigo Blue in Singapore and has participated in many solo and group exhibitions around the world. Most recently she was invited to be part of the first Ceramic biennale at Henan Museum in China.

For her residency, Madhvi has decided to explore a few “mixed media” techniques with her clay. Some of the experiments involve a moving light, some involve resin, and also integrating images and objects into the clay structure. We will be doing many of these experiments together.

If you want to come and check us out, and see the light, the structures or the material we are experimenting with, do drop us a line first. Either through the “contact” page or by calling 9273 4991.

There will be an open studio to discuss the result of the residency, and a chance to chat with the artist, around the 10th of April. Exact timing and dates will be published at a later date.

Check out Madhvi’s works online:

Clay buildings and light

February 2017 – Rubin Hashim is inaugurating the residency at l’Observatoire, in the Blue House International School.


Hashim is a multidisciplinary artist, sculptor, musician, producer, who ran his own space for a while, was even a professional photographer in New York. I know him through our time together at Lasalle College of the Arts, when we were studying for our MA in Fine Arts, back in 2009-2010. During that period of time, I saw Hashim delve into installation and performance too, all in pursuit of “Truth” and credence. He also acted in a small documentary I directed at the time.

In his own words, Hashim is a “Jack of all Trades”, and will use whatever means or medium to express himself, depending on what the circumstances require.

For the current residency, he chose a project based in painting. Hashim tuned a wall into  a 2D/3D abstract mural. Now, shapes, colours, and 3 dimensional pop-up elements bounce off the sculptural fixture. The whole thing is documented in time-lapse video.

In his own words:

“It’s an alien wall, living and breathing, changing constantly, whimsical and unpredictable. It sings without a voice, a schizophrenic chameleon that just swallowed ten lollipops”.

To see more of his work and what he is up to, you may want to check his Facebook page.

And check out previous collaborative painting works here:

It has been a long few months, but we are excited to announce that l’Observatoire will be opening its doors again in January!

Expect a slight change of focus as there will be no more art classes – but expect as much excitement behind the window as we bring in various artists to experiment in the space and provide interactive Art and Science based installations for the community.

Follow us to keep in the loop. And if you are an artist in Singapore looking for a place to experiment with crazy projects  – do get in touch!

Classes have started again this week! We never have more than 7 student per class, so at the start of a new term, when some students move on, there are often a small number of spaces available. Look below and see if there is something for you. If you have a group of 3 or more students, however, we’d have to start a new class for you.

Painting Our Book Covers...

Painting Our Book Covers…

On Monday (3:30-4:30 class), in Drawing Class, the 5 year olds took inspiration from simple bottles and learned to see the details that makes one different from the other, and started drawing their own.

Teacher: Richard. Number of places available for new students: 2

Still-Life by a 5-year old

Still-Life by  5-year old student

On Monday (4:45-6:15 class), in the ArtScience Class the 7-10 year olds discovered the wonders of magnifying glasses, fresnel lenses, magnifying with water, and projection on frosted sheet. The went home with their own home-made Camera Obscura!

Teacher: Isabelle. Number of places available for new students: 0

Shoe-box camera obscura

Shoe-box camera obscura

On Tuesday (3:00-4:00), in Drawing Class it was the first class for a group of enthusiastic 6 and 7-year olds. They tried mark-making with a variety of media, and drew the first element of the large drawing project that will continue over the weeks.

Teacher: Richard Kearns. Number of places available for new students: 0

On Tuesday (4:00-5:00), the more advanced 6 and 7-year olds tackled the same project: Looking and Drawing a coffee cup from different angles.

Teacher: Richard. Number of places available for new students: 1

Looking at and drawing a coffee cup, with Richard.

Looking at and drawing a coffee cup, with Richard.

On Wednesday (4:30-5:30), in Art and Crafts (for ages 6-8 or older), we started looking at how to make books, looking through the studio’s collection of hand-made artist books. The students then painted sheets to be used for the cover of their first book…

Teacher: Isabelle. Number of places available for new students: 3

Some acrylic-decorated papers to inspire the budding artists

Some acrylic-decorated papers from the studio, to inspire the budding artists

On Thursday (3:30-4:40) in Art and Science for the Little Ones, we also started with some art, and looking at the “technology” required to make a book, the different parts of a book. The students looked at the collection of artist books, taking in how each did not comply with the classic definition of a book, but argued about whether they were still books or not! They each chose their favorite book (based on colour, story, format…), and set out to also paint a cover to start their book.

Teacher: Isabelle. Number of places available for new student: 0

Showing off their favorite books from the collection. Some made by students, some by artists.

Showing off their favorite books from the collection. Some made by students, some by artists.

on Saturday (9:30-11:30), at the Open Studio for teenagers (from age 12), we welcomed 2 new students and the first class was aimed at getting to know each other, exploring styles and finding out what everyone’s favorite medium was. Easels will come up next week! Upon my remark that the class was so quiet, Emma (16) remarked:

“It’s like when you give a small kid an ice cream. They go quiet as they enjoy their treat. It’s the same for us when you give us something to draw”

Teacher: WeiXin. Number of places for new student: 2

Drawing still life with WeiXin

Drawing still life with WeiXin

On Saturday (12:00 -1:30), Drawing Class for advanced 8-11 year olds, children decided to fold origami cranes. The first decorated a variety of papers with a chosen patten and learned to fold their animal step-by-step. Those will be used as drawing props for next week before going home as mobiles.

Teacher: WeiXin. Number of places for new student: 0

If you are interested to enrol in either of these classes, you may go and check the Classes page for details, and drop us a line with the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly.

L'Obs portraits small

From left to right: Richard Kearns, Weixin Chong and Isabelle Desjeux



Introducing: Richard Kearns and Weixin Chong!

Well, Richard doesn’t need an introduction, as he was already artist in residence early last year. But let us remind you that he is a printmaker (MA Printmaking (Distinction), Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, 2013), a photographer, involved in a variety of projects. He will be back in the studio for more creative printmaking, more participatory artwork, among others. And Richard will be in charge of the Drawing Classes for the younger ones (currently Mondays and Tuesdays). Do check his website here.

Weixin is also a printmaker, of another kind! Having recently completed her MA in Printmaking (Royal Academy of Arts, London , 2014), Weixin in back in her native Singapore, and already involved in a number of projects using a variety of media. Weixin will be in charge of the older students, drawing (and more!) on Saturday morning. Do check her website here.

As for myself, I will continue to splash on Mondays and Thursdays for the ArtScience classes, as well as on Wednesdays for the Art and Craft Class.

We will be introducing a number of other artists who will be in the studio for shorter times – in time, we are looking forward to reviving the Tinkering Sundays, on the first Sundays of the Month. As usual, make sure you get the information first by liking our page on Facebook.

And do drop by to say hello!

10386909_10152136916793663_6750290874854772142_o The Observatoire is expanding.

We are currently looking for 1 or 2 committed artists for 2015, who have a definite project for next year and need the space and support to achieve it. The successful applicant will have a space in our beautiful studio, and in exchange, will be providing some teaching to the regular students.

If you know of a Singapore-based artist with an exciting practice, please let them know!

Click on the “Open Call” below. Deadline is 15th of December 2014

Open Call Studio

Fill in form here.