The Singapore Online Arts Repository (SOAR)

Started in 2020, the Singapore Online Arts Repository (SOAR) is a collaboration between the National Arts Council (NAC) and the NLB to enhance the national collection of Singapore arts content, and to make the material available for future generations of Singaporeans. This initiative augments NLB’s ongoing efforts to collect and preserve Singapore’s documentary heritage.

About the Collection

The collection encompasses Singapore’s performing, visual, and literary arts, featuring leading artists such as Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Award recipients as well as long-standing arts organisations under NAC’s Major Company scheme. SOAR adds on to NLB’s ongoing efforts to collect, document, and preserve Singapore arts heritage for posterity and research.

More information is available on the NAC’s website for the Cultural Medallion, the Young Artist Award, and the Major Company scheme.


Contents of the Collection

Materials collected under SOAR cover various artforms and formats such as manuscripts, letters, photographs, notes, brochures, catalogues, scripts, music scores, and recordings. Many of these forms of documentation or materials from an artist’s or an institution’s personal archives are not usually seen during exhibitions or performances.


Importance of the Collection

Collecting and preserving primary documentation from artists and arts organisations is crucial for maintaining a rich cultural record. These firsthand materials provide valuable insights into the creative process, artistic evolution, and the socio-cultural context of the works created. By safeguarding these documents, we ensure a greater understanding of artistic intentions and the broader impact of cultural movements. Additionally, these archives serve as invaluable resources for scholars, curators, and future generations, fostering a deeper appreciation for the significance of artistic contributions to our shared heritage.


Selection of materials from SOAR

Wong Yoon Wa (王润华) and Lew Poo Chan (刘宝珍 aka Dan Ying 淡莹)


Dan Ying and Wong Yoon Wah

[top] Manuscript of 《狂题 - 仿司空图》by 王润华 [Wong Yoon Wah]

[bottom] Manuscript of 《诗痴》by 淡莹 [Dan Ying]


Wong Yoon Wah and Lew Poo Chan (Dan Ying), both noted for their poetry, are Cultural Medallion recipients of 1986 and 1996 respectively. The couple started writing when they were undergraduates in Taiwan and continued to be actively involved in the literary scene in Singapore.


Written from the first-person perspective, 《狂题 - 仿司空图》reflects a poet’s love for writing poetry. The poet (‘I’) would keep thinking about and refining their poem for months and even years, until the poem shines like the stars in the sky.


《诗痴》alludes to the 18 poems on random topics (as shown from the title, 狂题 [Wild Topic]) written by Sikong Tu. Sikong Tu was a poet from the late Tang dynasty and the research subject of Wong’s doctoral dissertation.


Chng Seok Tin


Chng Seok Tin

  Sketchbook by Chng Seok Tin c.1977-2019


The late Chng Seok Tin (1946–2019) was a multiple award-winning artist and prolific writer whose artworks have been widely showcased in Singapore and abroad. Her works occupy a pivotal place in modern printmaking in Singapore. Chng’s art practice encompasses drawing, painting, collage, mixed-media, photography, sculpture and installation. Following her visual impairment in 1988, Chng turned to creating more sculptural and mixed-media works.


Chng’s works often contain contour line portraits and abstracted human forms in dance-like postures. In this sketchbook, we see various drafts by Chng as we follow her process of observation, rendering and artistic creation. Such materials give us a glimpse beyond completed artworks – of the otherwise unseen processes of an artist.


Lim Fei Shen


Lim Fei Shan

Choreography teaching notes and selected photographs by Lim Fei Shen


Lim Fei Shen is a modern dance pioneer in Singapore. A dancer and choreographer, Lim has produced works that show a creative blend of Western and Asian influences. She is also known for her multidisciplinary projects that involve different genres of art and artists.


Choreography notes are especially insightful when it comes to dance as this art form is not as well documented in written form. Featured here are two of Lim’s notebooks: her teaching notes during her stints at the National Institute of Education and Lasalle; and an album of photographs curated by Lim herself, providing a snapshot of her work dating back to her training years at Folkwang Hochschule in Germany in the late 1960s.


Sri Warisan Performing Arts Limited


Sri Warisan

Selection of ephemera from Sri Warisan Performing Arts Limited


Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts Ltd is a performing arts company founded by renowned Cultural Medallion recipient, Madam Som Said. Formed in 1997, Sri Warisan is one of the pivotal forces in Singapore’s Malay dance scene. Blending rich traditional forms with contemporary techniques is Sri Warisan’s trademark. Its performers are trained to excel in multidisciplinary art forms spanning dance, music, theatre and multimedia.


This is a selection of brochures and leaflets from performing arts productions by Sri Warisan over the years. The productions reflect the creativity of the organisation in promoting Malay traditional dance, showcasing a wide variety of performing traditions including wayang kulit (shadow puppet theatre), zapin (a traditional Malay dance with origins in the Hadhramaut region of Yemen) and serampang 12 (a northern Sumatran couple dance performed with 12 steps).


Law Wai Lun (罗伟伦)


Law Wai LunLaw Wai Lun 2

A Stroll in the Rain (雨中行) by Law Wai Lun (罗伟伦)


Law Wai Lun is a composer known for his contributions to the development of the Nanyang style in Chinese orchestral music. Inspired by the multicultural background of Singapore, Law has composed major works such as “The Celestial Web” (2003), “Prince Sang Nila Utama and Singa” (2003), “Admiral of the Seven Seas – Zheng He” (2005) and “Elegance in Nanyin” (2011).


Shown here is the score for “A Stroll in the Rain”. Inspired by a Cantonese folk tune, it was commissioned by the National Arts Council for the 2002 National Chinese Music Competition. The piece begins like a light drizzle leading to a downpour that washes away the impurities of the earth, signifying a renewed future. The donated score comes with a synopsis of this and two other pieces, handwritten by Law.



Materials from the SOAR collection can be accessed at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library or online. For queries or to donate to the collection, please write to