Singapore Artists Explode The Image Of Singapore As A Global Art Centre
Singapore is a culturally diverse country. This is reflected in the various forms of artistic expression available to the local population. A wide range of performing arts such as the Chinese calligraphy and Penang’s gamut of dance, music and theatre have been developed and nurtured by the many talented artists and groups of the nation. With their influence widespread not just among the Chinese community but also among the local and foreign population, these local artists are gradually becoming known and appreciated all over the world.
The Chinese community in particular has always had an influential presence in the Singaporean art scene. In fact, there are a number of artists who first emigrated from China and settled here in pursuit of a better way of life. Among the most prominent Chinese community figures in Singaporean art scene is the late Mr. Lin Biao (1925-1990) and Ms. Koh Ngoum (1940-2021), both of whom are notable Singaporeans whose works are widely appreciated throughout the world. Ms. Koh’s artwork is notable for its use of vivid hues and vibrant colours, with some works featuring landscapes or sea life such as a mermaid. Other works from the late Mr. Lin Biao include “One Day In The Life Of China” which utilises the painting style and subject matter to depict the sorrowful transition of one family member to another.
The Malay artists have been integral members of the Singaporean art scene since the early 20th century, when they were first brought over by the British to work on projects in the country. At that time, Singapore was only a small fishing settlement and so there were not many opportunities for artists from outside the country to settle here. However, these newcomers soon started carving out a distinct identity for themselves in the form of local artwork. The most notable Malay artists include the likes of Moh Shariff Chowdhry (known most popularly as merely ‘Chow’) and Chin Naik (nee-high black boots). Other notable names in the Malay art community include Han Chee Kion, Wee Yean Een, Tebra Yul, Ramy Tel and Datuk Seriqi Rata.
Other Singaporean artists that come to mind when discussing the Singaporean art scene include Winfrey Boas and Priscilla Rios, who were both deeply influenced by Mexico’s culture and design. Winfrey Boas founded the world-renowned Winfrey Gallery of Singapore, while Priscilla Rios was a prominent and highly respected Filipino painter. Both of these artists have inspired scores of modern artists, resulting in some of the most striking and memorable modern works to be produced in Singapore. Among the famous Filipino painters are Valerian and Olga Aldridge, who produced famous works such as “The Anonymous Romance” and “Mystic Lovers”.
Among the more notable international artists in the country are those from Britain, who have produced some of the most striking art pieces to grace the country. Peter Hook, Peter Thomas Roth and Brian Boru are just three of Britain’s finest contemporary artists. Others include the likes of Jonathan Church, who has made trips to the equator art society in search of new ideas; Zaha Hadid, who have produced several major pieces of pop art and who recently returned from an almost two-year assignment in the Middle East; and Donato Giancinta, who have made an effort to work with the local population in order to increase awareness of the neglected native tribes of the country. The most notable British artist to visit Singapore in recent years has been the London-based artist Stephen Fenn, who has produced numerous pieces of urban minimalism. His most striking piece was entitled “The Singles’ March”, which depicts a line of old men and women marching to the sound of hip-hop music – a timely commentary on the country’s social situation at that time.
As well as visiting the many prominent Singaporean artists, tourists can also indulge in shopping at one of the country’s most popular malls, the Sentosa island’s premier mall. Known as the only mall in Asia to have its own independent hotel, the Shilajit International Shopping Complex is Singapore’s answer to shopping done exactly the same everywhere else. Other local landmarks worth visiting include the Underwater World Singapore, a marine-themed amusement park, and the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which are well worth a visit for the scenery and wildlife. Whatever you choose to do while in Singapore, you’re sure to enjoy it.