Meet our Alumni

Kola Luu

Director Partnership Development – National Gallery Singapore

Q. What was your career before studying at Christie’s Education?

I worked in the finance industry for over 20 years prior to studying at Christie’s Education.Trained as an equity capital markets specialist at Citigroup and Credit Suisse, based in New York and Hong Kong, I helped Asian state-owned and private sector companies raise capital in the global markets. Upon returning to Singapore in 2006, I joined the Monetary Authority of Singapore to spearhead an effort to anchor capital market businesses of global financial institutions in Singapore.

Q. How did you end up working for the National Gallery in Singapore?

I was looking to combine my passion for the arts with my experience in the financial industry. I jumped on an opportunity to join National Gallery Singapore in 2012 prior to its opening to the public in 2015 to help fund-raise and build a business model for sustainability. It was a once in a life time opportunity to be part of a journey to open a national institution with such a special mission: to inspire the people of Singapore and the region by presenting art in a global context, enhancing the appreciation of art, and fostering a more thoughtful, inclusive and creative society.

Q. What does your current role involve?

As Director of Partnership Development, I lead a team that helps cultivate and steward donors, sponsors and supporters of the Gallery with the goal of achieving long term financially sustainability.The team raises funds by promoting philanthropic contribution to the arts, curating finance, business and retail offerings to enhance the Gallery experience, and converting visitors to members to generate revenue.

Q. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Knowing that the funds raised and revenue generated go towards presenting exhibitions and programs that create an impact for people in Singapore and society at large. The exhibitions and programs encourage a greater understanding and appreciation of art, culture, and the distinctive identity of the nation and the region, thereby instilling a stronger sense of national pride amongst our people.

Q. What is your favourite artwork in the Gallery at the moment?

“National Language Class” by Singaporean artist Chua Mia Tee displayed at DBS Singapore Gallery at National Gallery Singapore. Completed in 1959, it depicts a group of Chinese students learning Malay as the national language of Singapore. On the chalk board, the first line reads “Siapa Nama Kamu” which means “what is your name” in the Malay Language. Through this painting, the artist reminds viewers of the multi-cultural fabric of Singaporean society and the search for national identity in pre-independent Singapore, helping to foster a better understanding of our own culture and history.


Image credit: Artwork: Wong Hoy Cheong, Re:Looking, 2002–2003  (with a simplified installation in collaboration with National Gallery Singapore, 2016), Mixed media Video in the collection of Singapore Art Museum