Singapore has some of the world's best paintings, and you don't have to take our word for it. You don't have to trust us; ask any art connoisseur! Because they might not last forever, there are works of art in Singapore that you must see before you die. If painting and art jamming is your thing, this blog post can help you in deciding what to see if you visit Singapore. Here are 5 paintings that we think you should see while in town which can inspire you to go for an Art Jamming Workshop!
1. Drying Salted Fish (1978), Cheong Soo Pieng
The painting on the reverse of the $50 note, which depicts a group of Malay villagers processing and drying salted fish, is by Cheong. It is still visible in parts of Southeast Asia, surrounded by lush greenery, overturned baskets and farm animals in a pasture; an unbroken chain that has continued up to the present day.
The painting was commissioned by the king's court painter, Cheong Cheok-hwa, who was known for his dragon paintings. The work is painted with Chinese ink and color on cloth and then highlighted with gold leaf from the Nanyang region's distinctive Nanyang art style, pioneered by Cheong. This piece is unforgettable due to its vivid colors and crowd of people which shows their togetherness.
2. National Language Class (1959), Chua Mia Tee
In this educational environment, National Language Class depicts a school scenario as well as the concerns of identity and national pride that a group of Malaysian students confront while learning Bahasa Melayu in school.
From the mid-1960s until today, many additions were made to the school. The building's completion date is written in bright red paint on the wall, suggesting Singapore's independence from British colonial rule. At the time, basic questions were asked in Bahasa on the blackboard to assess both students' and spectators' nationalities. Chua is an important figure in Singapore's art world, having received numerous honors throughout his years, including the Cultural Medallion in 2015.
3. Life by the River (1975), Liu Kang
Bali's rural countryside is depicted in this particular photograph, which teleports you away from the bustle and noise of the city center. Liu Kang was able to capture traditional kampung living's communal way of life, including the iconic attap homes on stilts and gatherings of people on the riverbanks.
Liu Kang lived in Paris at some point as a young man, and he was inspired by fauvism and post-impressionism. The vibrant colors and staccato brushstrokes are ample indicators of the city's influence. In an effort to document the climates that had vanished from Singapore's growth, he went to Indonesian islands with other early artists such as Chen Wen Hsi and Cheong Soo Pieng.
4. Modern Art (c. 1960-170), Chua Tiag Ming
In this dreary black and white image, a guy is seen laboriously working on the side of a home alone. This shot was taken during political and social upheaval. In stark contrast to the clean, bright light on the roof and surrounding walls, the man's concentration and serenity on his (by today's standards) flimsy ladder provides the photograph with a sense of empathy. The realistic appearance of Chua's is reminiscent of an era when it was only known by older people, yet it appeals to today's audiences.
5. Black and White (c. 1970), Anthony Poon
This monochrome painting stands out amid a field of natural-themed paintings. Poon was Singapore's first modern artist, and he is still one of the most renowned Optical Art artists today.
He earned his master's degree from the prestigious London institution Cheong Soo Pieng, which he attended for a year after studying at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore. He worked with a variety of styles before settling on Op Art. It is clear that each one of his works was meticulously organized and methodically finished, from the accuracy of black and white.
Artworks in Singapore will showcase the country's vibrant history and culture beautifully. Artworks in Singapore are able to take your breath away, whether it's a black-and-white photograph of an unassuming guy working on his home alone or paintings of the traditional Kampung life with its Attap homes on stilts and riverbank gatherings. 5 of the most beautiful paintings depicting the splendor of this Southeast Asian island nation may be found in this post; but there are several more to discover as well!
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