Recent work in art history establishes Singapore as a centre of art patronage and as an important port of call for artists travelling in the region during the early colonial period. Newspapers circulated in Singapore and Malaya record public portrait subscriptions, initiated and funded by local communities, from as early as the 1820s. In the early 20th century the first Singapore-born painters rose to prominence, most notably the Straits Chinese brothers Low Kway Soo (b. 1881) and Low Kway Song (1889–1982). This lecture is based on doctoral research on portraiture and local art patronage as a means of telling the story of Singapore’s history of art prior to the 1950s. Ang will connect the rich holdings of early Singaporean art in the National Collection to works from collections around the world to show Singapore's place within a wider context of the production of pictures.
This lecture is organised in conjunction with the Great Peranakans exhibition.
About the speaker
Daphne Ang is a doctoral candidate in the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS), University of London. She worked on an exhibition of Straits Chinese portraits at the National University of Singapore Museum, and her recent publications include essays on portraiture in Great Peranakans: Fifty Remarkable Lives and one for the NUS Museum catalogue Inherited and Salvaged, Family Portraits from the Straits Chinese Collection. Ang has taught courses at SOAS and has lectured in the UK and Southeast Asia, including at the 26th Baba Nyonya Convention in Kuala Lumpur, the Royal Asiatic Society, and Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London.
Featured image: Portrait of Tan Jiak Kim (1859-1917) by Low Kway Song, Collection of the National Museum of Singapore