Seminar: Returning to the Roots: Lim Tze Peng’s Visions of the Nanyang Dream
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME
Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series
About the Seminar
Chinese ink painting by Singapore artists is often associated with Chinese heritage and culture. However, more recent views suggest that Singapore artists were concerned with the search for local identity since the 1950s. Such artists would develop styles by engaging with local traditions, themselves influenced by multiculturalism and colonialism. This presentation examines Lim Tze Peng’s (b. 1921) career and argues that the artist engaged less with notions of “Chineseness” but sought to preserve a sense of “Nanyang” through the imageries of home and rootedness in his work.
One critical period of Lim’s career is highlighted: the 1970s-80s. This is the period that Lim demonstrated an intimate understanding of Singapore’s unique sociocultural makeup in the country’s early nation-building years. Lim’s use of the medium carries neither intentional adaptation of Western idioms nor nostalgic baggage of Chinese ink traditions. This testifies to Lim’s ingenious use of local hybrid traditions and highlights Lim’s role as a “true-blue” Nanyang ink artist.
About the Speaker
Chinmiao Hsu obtained a MA degree in Asian Art Histories from the LaSalle College of the Arts in 2016. Her MA research was on contemporary Chinese ink artists in Singapore, which examined their development, issues of identity and rejuvenation of the art form with Nanyang artists as a historical reference. Hsu previously worked in the high-tech industry in Hsin-Chu Taiwan as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area in the US before relocating to Singapore in 2012.