Singapore has some of the world's greatest paintings, and you don't have to take our word for it. You don't have to believe us; ask any art lover! There are works of art in Singapore that you must see before you die because they may not endure forever. If painting and art jamming is your cup of tea, 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 $50 note's reverse, which depicts a group of Malay villagers processing and drying salted fish, is by Cheong. This can be seen in parts of Southeast Asia today, surrounded by lush vegetation, overturned baskets and farm animals in a pasture; an unbroken chain that has continued up to the present day.
The painting was made for King Yoo Jong-yong's court artist, Cheong Cheok-hwa, who was well-known for his dragon paintings. The artwork is made with Chinese ink and color on fabric before being gold leafed in the Nanyang region's distinctive Nanyang art style developed by Cheong, making it stunning.
2. National Language Class (1959), Chua Mia Tee
In this educational environment, National Language Class depicts a school scenario as well as the issues of identity and national pride that a group of Malaysian children confront while studying Bahasa Melayu in school.
From the mid-1960s until today, many new additions were made to the school.The finishing date for the building is scribbled in bright red paint on the wall, showing Singapore's independence from British colonial rule. Students and spectators were asked basic questions in Bahasa on the blackboard to determine each group's nationality at the time. Chua is a key figure in Singapore's art world, having been honored with numerous accolades throughout his years including the Cultural Medallion in 2015.
3. Life by the River (1975), Liu Kang
Bali's rural countryside is captured in this photograph, which transports you away from the bustle and noise of the city center. Liu Kang was able to capture traditional kampung life's communal way of life, including attap homes on stilts and gatherings of people on riverbanks, thanks to his experience as a village kid.
Liu Kang lived in Paris as a youngster and was influenced by fauvism and post-impressionism. The vivid hues and staccato brushstrokes are clear indications of the city's impact. He traveled to Indonesian islands with other early artists such as Chen Wen Hsi and Cheong Soo Pieng in order to document the climates
4. Modern Art (c. 1960-170), Chua Tiag Ming
In this dreary black and white photo, a guy is seen working alone on the side of a house. This image was taken during political and social upheaval. In stark contrast to the clean, bright light streaming through the roof and surrounding walls, the man's concentration and calm on his (by today's standards) flimsy ladder provide for a sense of empathy. The realistic look 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
Among a row of natural-themed works, this monochrome painting stands out. Poon was Singapore's first contemporary artist and is still one of the most renowned Optical Art artists today.
He received his master's degree from the prestigious Cheong Soo Pieng University in London, where he studied for a year after attending the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore. Before deciding on Op Art, he worked with a number of genres. It is obvious that each one of his works was meticulously organized and methodically finished, from the accuracy of black and white.
6. Lotus In A Breeze (c. 1970), Georgette Chen
This piece is a great example of a Nanyang School artist using Western pictorial methods to depict a locally-themed subject. Chen was passionate about the lotus blossom, and it commonly served as a motif in her works to demonstrate her Chinese roots. The strokes and colors in this painting were largely influenced by the Impressionist painters at the same time.
Artworks in Singapore have the power to showcase the country's vibrant history and culture beautifully. Artworks in Singapore are able to take your breath away, whether it's black-and-white 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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