Setting Sun was built for the exhibition in Singapore. It is a representation of Dale Chihuly’s bold approach to art with its flame-like palette.

Photo credit: Charlotte Chang and Lee Shi Wen. Artwork credit: Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

If you have visited Gardens by the Bay lately, you would have seen many larger-than-life glass installations and delightful glass sculptures along with the beautiful blooms. However, did you know that the creator behind these stunning glass works, Dale Chihuly, is blind in his left eye since he was 35?

The American glass sculptor, who’s turning 80 this year, suffered severe cuts on his face in a car accident in 1976. This led to the loss of sight in his left eye and the resulting challenge in depth perception. Despite the accident, Chihuly remained optimistic and continued pursuing his passion for glassblowing, a way to shape glass pieces into art pieces by blowing on melted glass through a blowpipe.

“There was no despair because I just felt so lucky that I didn’t lose both my eyes,” said Chihuly in the book World of Glass: The Art of Dale Chihuly.

According to the book, he stopped blowing glass only after dislocating his shoulder in another accident in 1979. Since then, he has moved on to making drawings for his team at Chihuly Studio to help execute his artistic vision.

Due to his loss of sight in his left eye, Dale Chihuly often layered 2D drawings on top of one another to help visualise his desired final product.

Photo credit: Charlotte Chang and Lee Shi Wen. Artwork credit: Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Chihuly’s glass works have been displayed in renowned gardens across the world, including London’s Kew Gardens and the New York Botanical Garden. They are now gleaming and glowing at Gardens by the Bay, both on the outdoor lawns and inside the Flower and Cloud Forest domes.

While Chihuly didn’t fly to Singapore for the exhibition, his team from Chihuly Studio flew in from the United States, along with the delicate pieces. According to the exhibition organiser Hustle & Bustle, Chihuly’s team had to serve a 14-day quarantine on arrival before they could assemble the glass works on site for 31 consecutive days.

The White Tower, Erbium Reeds and Trumpet Flowers and Neodymium Reeds enhance the beauty of the Flower Dome.

Photo credit: Charlotte Chang and Lee Shi Wen. Artwork credit: Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

“I speak on behalf of the team when I say that this is the hardest thing we’ve ever done – the sleepless nights, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the sunburn, the mosquito bites…” said Mr Aneirin Flynn, exhibition director from Hustle & Bustle, during the launch of the exhibition. He added that he hopes visitors can “feel a sense of optimism in this open-air museum of glass artwork.”

The Float Boat & Boats at the Dragonfly Lake is one of the many artworks that are displayed outdoors for all to enjoy without having to purchase a ticket.

Photo credit: Charlotte Chang and Lee Shi Wen. Artwork credit: Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

In an email response, Ms Chua Yen Ling, senior director of programming and events at Gardens by the Bay said: “We hope the stunning beauty of glass amidst greenery can go some way to provide respite for not just the art community, but one and all in Singapore during this time.”

The Moon sits in the plains of Gardens by the Bay against the Singapore city skyline.

Photo credit: Charlotte Chang and Lee Shi Wen. Artwork credit: Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

The Glass in Bloom exhibition will be on display at Gardens by the Bay until 1 August 2021. For more information about the exhibition, visit https://www.chihulyinbloom.com/.

  • Dale Chihuly, Cloud Forest Persians, Gardens by the Bay. Photo credit: Charlotte Chang and Lee Shi Wen. Artwork credit: Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Edited by: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani
Proofread by: Teo Yin Yan & Kuan Qin Yi Tricia