Artcommune’s latest exhibition celebrates the cultural journey of early Chinese calligraphers in Singapore. The exhibition is curated in English and provides a concise overview on the history and culture of Chinese calligraphy as it arrived and evolved on the soils of a sinicised Nanyang; its flowering as an aesthetic tradition and social activity among the Chinese educated community and subsequent denigration to the status of a sub-culture within a post-independent Anglophone Singapore. An artwork catalog featuring a curatorial essay will be released in conjunction with the exhibition.
On showcase are original calligraphy works, ranging from the ancient oracle, seal-carving, clerical, walking to cursive scripts, by Singapore’s pioneer artist-educators Chan San Sheh (1898- 1969), Tsue Ta Tee (1903 – 1974), Pan Shou (1911 – 1992) and See Hiang To (1906 – 1990) among others. Also included are works by 4 active second-generation calligraphers (who were mainly students of these early calligraphers) – Choo Thiam Siew (b. 1951 – ), Leong Weng Kee, Teo Yew Yap (b.1960 – ) and Yong Cheong Thye (b. 1946 – ).
Most of the early Chinese calligraphers in Singapore were, strictly speaking, not career artists. Rather, they undertook educational or clerical work. In many ways, this fitted the ideal of a gentleman artist – one that undertook art as a way to reflect and construct personal morality. Artists such as Chen Jen Hao, Ng Here Dere, Lu Yan and See Hiang To were better known to their contemporaries as educators. Tsue Ta Tee was an exception, earning his living as an artist; his calligraphy still makes up a considerable amount of the Singaporean and Penang built environment, most notably in the iconic plague over Chung Cheng High School and the Chinese wordings on the Civilian War Memorial. The featured calligraphy pieces in this exhibition attest to the dynamic and fluent styles mastered and handed down by these early calligraphers, and their important contributions to Singapore’s artistic culture.
Venue: artcommune gallery, 231 Bain Street, Bras Basah Complex, #03-39 Singapore 180231
When: 8 - 19 Feb 2017, 12noon - 7pm