President Tony Tan hosted a tea reception at the Istana for renowned Singaporean artists and the Istana Art Collection Advisory Committee members, to recognise their contribution to the local art scene. The works of the local artists are part of the Istana Art Collection, which include paintings and sculptures by Cultural Medallion recipients, Ong Kim Seng, Lim Yew Kuan, and Han Sai Por. These works and many others are showcased and viewed by dignitaries and guests during State Visits and functions held at the Istana. Members of public are also able to view some of these works of art during Istana open house events.
Established in September 1994, the Istana Art Collection comprises artworks and commissioned works by emerging and established Singaporean artists. Works of art are acquired or commissioned for the Istana Art Collection to reflect aspects of art development in Singapore, as well as to represent the cultural achievements of Singapore as a nation. There are both traditional and contemporary artworks in the Collection, spanning a range of mediums, from paintings to ceramics, photographs and site-specific installations. The Istana Art Collection is part of the National Collection, which includes collections managed by the national institutions, such as Singapore Art Museum and other museums under the National Heritage Board.
A curated selection of the Istana Art Collection is displayed on a rotational basis at various spaces within the Istana. Han Sai Por’s stone sculpture, titled Transformation Series 2, is located on the Istana Grounds, while artworks such as Russel Wong’s specially-commissioned photographs of the Istana and Iskandar Jalil’s ceramics from his, “In Pursuit of the Ethical Pot”, show are displayed in the lobby of the main building of the Istana. Other artworks from the Collection, such as Lim Yew Kuan’s bust of President Sheares, Chua Ek Kay’s scroll painting of the Istana Gardens, titled, “A Ramble Through the Istana Gardens”, and Ong Kim Seng’s acrylic paintings, “Evening Glows at the Victoria Memorial Hall” and “Moonlit Night in a HDB Estate”, are showcased alongside state gifts in function rooms and other spaces used to host foreign dignitaries and guests during their visits to the Istana.
The Istana Art Collection Advisory Committee is a standing committee that advises the President in the acquisitions and commissions for the Istana Art Collection. Now in its sixth term, the Advisory Committee is currently chaired by Ms Jane Ittogi, Chair of Singapore Art Museum, and comprises members Mr. Ahmad Mashadi, Dr S Chandrasekaran, Ms Chong Siak Ching, Dr Suriani Suratman and Mr Teo Han Wue.
The Istana Art Collection Advisory Committee was involved in the acquisition and commission of artworks by notable Singaporean artists such as Thomas Yeo, Chua Ek Kay and Leo Hee Tong, and most recently, batik artist Sarkasi Said. The latest contribution to the Istana Art Collection, “Istana Garden”, a large-scale triptych inspired by the lush flora in the Istana Garden, was specially commissioned for the Istana Reception Room. The artwork was developed over several months, with Sarkasi continuing in his studies and experimentation of the form, in order to produce an artwork that best suited the function and aesthetics of the space, as well as to express the vitality of Singapore’s tropical landscape.
“My wife and I are happy to host a tea reception at the Istana today for some Singaporean artists, whose works are in the Istana Art Collection. Singapore’s art scene has strengthened over the years, and the Istana Art Collection reflects this cultural progress of our nation. Through the Istana Art Collection, some of these artworks are showcased to visitors to the Istana, including foreign dignitaries and guests. I am glad that the Istana continues to be a platform to recognise our local artists and their works,” says President Tony Tan.
A selection of the Istana Art Collection may be viewed during upcoming Istana open house events on 25 June, 30 July and 18 October 2017, in celebration of Hari Raya Puasa, National Day and Deepavali respectively. Visitors will be able to see Han Sai Por’s stone sculpture on the Istana Grounds, as well as artworks by Iskandar Jalil, Russel Wong and Sarkasi Said in the main building of the Istana, which is accessible for a token fee that goes to charity.