PM Lee Hsien Loong at the opening of the Ghost Nets of the Ocean exhibition

PM Lee Hsien Loong at the opening of the 'Ghost Nets of the Ocean' exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum on 3 June 2017.


Prime Minister Turnbull and Mrs Lucy Turnbull, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

I am delighted to welcome all of you, especially the Prime Minister and Lucy, to the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM). It is unique among Singapore museums and indeed among museums in the region. Because it is devoted to preserving and exploring the artistic heritage of Asia, and how our diverse cultures interact with and enrich one another.

I am glad to have Prime Minister here with me to open the Ghost Nets of the Ocean Exhibition, a partnership between ACM and Erub Arts from Australia. It is a good project. Both because Australia is part of the larger Asian family, and also because both our peoples share an intimate connection with the sea. Like the seafaring Erub people featured in the exhibition, the Orang Laut who lived in Singapore before the British came were seafaring people. As island countries, our security, survival and success are intimately linked to the sea. Because the sea is our lifeline, we are both concerned about environmental sustainability and biodiversity, which are key themes of the exhibition.

Artists from the Erub Arts Group have transformed ghost nets, abandoned fishing nets, into spectacular art installations featuring sea creatures such as turtles, fishes, hammerhead sharks and jellyfish, which are also popular motifs in Asian art. The exhibition reminds us how mindless pollution such as a seemingly harmless piece of fishing net can harm precious marine life.

I am glad that children from Torres Strait schools in Australia, local and international schools in Singapore, as well as children with special needs, are also displaying their artworks in the exhibition, through the Tiny Turtles project. This legacy of environmental sustainability, as well as the close cooperation between our peoples and Governments, is something which I hope will continue.

Arts and cultural exchanges play a role in strengthening people-to-people ties.

PM Lee

Yesterday at lunch, I spoke about how we have taken our bilateral cooperation forward with the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Arts and cultural exchanges play a role in strengthening people-to-people ties. Hence, we set up the Australia-Singapore Arts Group. The Ghost Nets of the Ocean Exhibition is just the beginning of the collaboration. Next, Singapore artists and works will be featured in Australia as part of a “Singapore Series” at the OzAsia Festival this September. I look forward to more cultural exchanges between the two countries.

I would like to thank the Australian Government for supporting cultural exchanges like these. They help us appreciate the richness of our cultural diversity and remind us that we have much in common, and that we can do many more things together. And indeed, this is the first of many more things we will do. 

Thank you very much.