Gallery to celebrate Cultural Medallion artists to open soon

A gallery celebrating Cultural Medallion artists will open at The Arts House soon, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

The new space will "showcase their artistic excellence and contributions across various art forms, from the visual and literary arts to music, theatre and dance, that have left an indelible imprint on our cultural landscape".

The Cultural Medallion, Singapore's highest accolade for the arts, was established in 1979 by the nation's then Minister for Culture Ong Teng Cheong.

PM Lee was speaking at the launch of a book and exhibition on the life and art of painter and calligrapher Lim Tze Peng.

"In a few months' time, the National Arts Council will open the Cultural Medallion Gallery, right here at The Arts House. It will celebrate and honour our Cultural Medallion recipients, like Mr Lim. These cultural icons and role models we call our own will continue to inspire new generations of local artists and performers."


Mr Lim Tze Peng, who turns 100 in September, is the country's oldest living pioneer artist.

His achievements are celebrated in a new book and exhibition, both titled Soul Of Ink: Lim Tze Peng At 100.

The exhibition features 20 recently completed ink works - ranging from abstract calligraphy to colourful ink paintings of old Singapore - and runs till June 30.

Mr Lim was born in 1921 and grew up in a kampung in Pasir Ris. He fell in love with calligraphy when he was a student at Chung Cheng High School. He started his career as a teacher and, in 1981, at the age of 60, retired as principal to become a full-time artist.

"His works were undeniably rooted in Chinese art, from the materials to the style of painting and writing. But the spirit of his art is neither Eastern nor Western. It is Singaporean," PM Lee said.

"Mr Lim has inspired new generations of local artists, each with their own unique styles, but all distinctively Singaporean. Piece by piece, each new artwork contributes to our collective identity, our sense of national identity and pride."

Mr Lim received the Cultural Medallion in 2003 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2016.

At the launch, he said in Mandarin: "It is a privilege to have been able to bring honour to Singapore through my art."