Singapore Visual Arts on NORA

Introduction

About NORA
This resource guide highlights selected artworks and artists available on the National Library portal, NORA (National Online Repository of the Arts). NORA aims to showcase Singapore arts heritage and is a database of digitised works in the literary, visual, performing and traditional arts. Some of these works may be unpublished, out-of-print or inaccessible. The collection in NORA includes interviews, photos, manuscripts, scores, resource guides, articles and more on prominent Singaporean artists as well as Cultural Medallion Recipients (CMRs).

As part of Singapore’s digital heritage collection, NORA serves as a source of reference for anyone interested in Singapore arts. NORA can be easily accessed from home or the multimedia stations available at all National Library Board libraries. For more information, visit http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/arts

Singapore Visual Arts on NORA
The NORA collection of artworks range from ink to oil paintings, ceramic to metal sculptures and images of landscapes to the abstract. Created by Singaporean artists from the mid-20th to 21st century, these provide a brief visual introduction to the development of the Singapore art scene. Video interviews with Cultural Medallion Recipients and Young Artist Award Recipients provide insights to the creative processes, inspiration and challenges of being an artist in Singapore.

For a comprehensive resource guide on Modern Art in Singapore, click here.

This guide lists prominent Singapore artists in 3 broad areas: sculpture, painting and photography. In addition, a selection of publications within the Arts Collection available at the National Library is included in this guide for further reading.

Sculpture

Anthony Poon
Anthony Poon (1945–2006) was a second-generation abstract artist and sculptor who was a Cultural Medallion recipient in 1990.

  • Performance. (1991). [Image of sculpture], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  • Cheers. (2005). [Image of sculpture], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Chng Seok Tin
Chng Seok Tin (1946– ) is a Singaporean artist who has worked with media such as drawing, painting, collage, photography but has since concentrated on sculpture and mixed-media following visual impairment issues in 1988. Chng was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 2005.

 

Iskandar Jalil
Iskandar Jalil (1940– ) is an eminent local ceramist and master potter who synthesizes Japanese and Islamic artistic practices in his pottery pieces, mainly shaped from fine clay. He received the Cultural Medallion in 1988.

  • Spherical teapot & twig. (2005). [Image of sculpture], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  • Lotus pods. (2007). [Image of sculpture], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Ng Eng Teng
Ng Eng Teng (1934–2001) was a renowned Singaporean sculptor who was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 1981. He first studied painting under first-generation artists such as Georgette Chen before concentrating on ceramics in the UK. He is remembered for his large-scale sculptures gracing many public spaces as well as his introspective and whimsical interpretations of humanist themes in three-dimension.

  • Singapore girl. (1960-1961). [Image of sculpture], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  • Mother and child. (1980). [Image of sculpture], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Tay Chee Toh
Tay Chee Toh (b1941– ) is a second-generation Singaporean artist, whose works are informed by multiple traditions such as batik painting, surrealism, and even industrial artifacts. Tay received the Cultural Medallion in 1985.

  • Peace. (1987). [Image of sculpture], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  • Nude 2: Sculpture. (2000). [Image of sculpture], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Teo Eng Seng
Teo Eng Seng (1938– ) is an innovative performance and installation second-generation artist that invented the medium of paperdyesculp. He was a recipient of the Cultural Medallion in 1986.

 

Wee Beng Chong
Wee Beng Chong (1938– ), is a recognized Singaporean artist and sculptor who was one of the first recipients of the Cultural Medallion in 1979. He headed the Fine Art Department of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) from 1982 to 1989 and co-founded the Modern Art Society in 1964.

  • Hunger. (1970). [Image of sculpture], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Painting

Anthony Poon
Anthony Poon (1945–2006) was a second-generation abstract artist and sculptor who was a Cultural Medallion recipient in 1990. His ‘Wave Series’ paintings were some of his most iconic works.

  • Inverted Y. (1970). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  • Aqueous waves. (1984). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Chng Seok Tin
Chng Seok Tin (1946– ) is a Singaporean artist who has worked with media such as drawing, painting, collage, photography but has since concentrated on sculpture and mixed media following visual impairment issues in 1988. Chng was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 2005

 

Chua Ek Kay
Chua Ek Kay (1947–2008) was a Singaporean visual artist and a Cultural Medallion awardee in 1999 who worked primarily with ink and calligraphy. His works both constituted and later departed from the Chinese ink painting tradition.  The blend of traditional Chinese art forms and Western art techniques feature prominently in Chua’s paintings.

 

Georgette Chen
Georgette Chen (1906–1993) was one of the Pioneer Artists who established the ‘Nanyang Style’ of painting. She is best known for her still life and oil paintings, and was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 1982.

 

Goh Beng Kwan
Goh Beng Kwan (1937– ) is a pioneer artist known for his modernist sensibilities that favour abstraction and collage. He received the Cultural Medallion award in 1989.

  • Geomancy. (1984). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  • Great earth. (1989). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Lim Tze Peng
Lim Tze Peng (1923– ) is a second-generation Nanyang Artist and is best known for the significant number of Chinese ink drawings and paintings of Chinatown and the Singapore River he produced during the early 1980s. He was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 2003.

 

Tay Chee Toh
Tay Chee Toh (b1941– ) is a second-generation Singaporean artist, whose works are informed by multiple traditions such as batik painting, surrealism, and even industrial artifacts. Tay received the Cultural Medallion in 1985.

  • Reclining woman. (1970). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  • Dreams. (1983). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Thomas Yeo
Thomas Yeo (1936– ) is a second-generation Singapore artist. Described as an abstract artist, landscapes are a prominent and continual aspect of Yeo’s art works. He was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 1984.

  • Winter landscape. (1965-1966). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  • City Vista. (1985). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Wee Beng Chong
Wee Beng Chong (1938– ), is a recognized Singaporean artist and sculptor who was one of the first recipients of the Cultural Medallion in 1979. He headed the Fine Art Department of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) from 1982 to 1989 and co-founded the Modern Art Society in 1964.

 

Photography

Chua Soo Bin
Chua Soo Bin (1932– ), recipient of the Cultural Medallion in 1988, is a prolific photographer renowned especially for his documentation of the lives of important Chinese ink painters in the 1980s. He was the youngest photographer to earn the associateship of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain (A.R.P.S.) in 1955.

  • Evening pattern. (1953). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  • Harmony of nets. (1954). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Fu Shiyun (Foo Tee Jun)
Foo Tee Jun (1935– ) is a distinguished Singaporean salon photographer whose professional career began in 1963. He was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 1989.

  • An Old Man. (1963). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  • Chickens. (2008). [Image of painting], [Online]. Retrieved June 5, 2017.

 

Other NORA Resources

Video Interviews: Selected Cultural Medallion Recipients

 

Video Interviews: Selected Young Artist Award Recipients

 

Selected Manuscripts

 

Other NLB Resources: Books

(listed in alphabetical order)

  • Hsu. M. (1999). A brief history of Malayan art. Singapore: Millennium Books.
    Call no.: RSING 709.595 HSU
    Written by an art critic and regular columnist on the history of Malayan art, Hsu published articles on art and culture in the 1960s. In 1963, these essays were compiled and published as A Brief History of Malayan Art.

 

  • Kwok, K. C. (1996). Channels & confluences: A history of Singapore art. Singapore: Singapore Art Museum.
    Call no.: RSING 709.5957 KWO
    Kwok’s book is the first fully-illustrated historical survey of Singapore art. Included in this survey are historical and aesthetic themes and issues which offer a comprehensive introduction to understanding the development of the visual arts in Singapore.

 

  • Low, S. W. (ed.). (2015). Siapa nama kamu? Art in Singapore since the 19th century. Singapore: National Gallery Singapore.
    Call no.: 709.5957074 SIA
    Published in conjunction with National Gallery Singapore’s inaugural exhibition Siapa Nama Kamu? (What is your name?), this publication provides a survey of Singapore art from the 19th century to the present.

 

  • Sabapathy, T. K. (1991). Sculpture in Singapore. Singapore: National Museum.
    Call no: RSING 730.95957 SAB
    This book was published to accompany the exhibition ‘Sculpture in Singapore’ at the National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore in 1991. Written by eminent art historian, T. K. Sabapathy, the publication studies the development of sculpture and sculptors in Singapore from the 1970s.

 

 

  • Shabir Hussein Mustafa, Yap, J. & Yeo, W.W. (2016). Singapore’s visual artists. Singapore: National Arts Council.
    Call no.: RSING 709.225957 SHA
    A listing of local artists, this directory is a useful guide on the key names in Singapore visual arts scene. A short profile and details of exhibitions accompany each artist listing.

 

 

  • Tan, S. & Tham, D. (2014). A changed world: Singapore art 1950s – 1970s. Singapore: National Museum of Singapore.
    Call no.: RSING 709.225957 CHA
    This book explores the development of Singapore art in the immediate post-war period, covering a range of art forms from paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture.

 

Accessing National Library Board Singapore Resources

Accessing the Print Materials

You can search the library catalogue (for physical materials) in the library and from home (http://catalogue.nlb.gov.sg). The easy search function allows you to search/browse by author, title, keyword, subject and ISBN/ISSN whereas the advanced search allows you to narrow your searches to specific media types or language holdings. In both instances, you will also be able to limit your search to specific libraries by clicking on the “limit by branch” option.

To search Lee Kong Chian Reference Library’s Holdings

If you wish to search for only materials available in the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, please always click on the “Limit by Branch” button at the bottom of the page, after you have keyed in your search term. This brings you to a new page whereby you will be able to select the library of your choice. Choose “Lee Kong Chian Reference Library” and select “yes” under the “Display only items available in the selected branch below” and then click on search.

Things to note:

Once you have identified the title that you need, please double-check the following information and write down the necessary info:

i. The “Status” of the item: the item is not available in the library, if the status displayed is “in transit”, “in process” or “not ready for loan”.

ii. Double-check that the item is in Lee Kong Chian Reference Library under “Branch”.

iii. Write down the Location Code and the Call Number of the item. This helps you to locate the item within Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. Please refer to the table below for more information (Note: Please feel free to approach the counter staff for help in locating the books.)

All featured books and periodicals are located at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.

Accessing the Databases

The National Library Board (NLB)’s eResources are free for all NLB members. Click here to find out how to register as a member.

If you’re having problems registering or logging in, please contact us. If you wish to find information in the databases but am not sure where to begin, or need recommendations on which databases to use, please use the “Ask A Librarian” function or send an email to ref@nlb.gov.sg for help. The librarian will get back to you within three working days.

 

Author

Nadia Ramli

 

The information in this resource guide is valid as at June 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2017.

Written by Nadia Ramli