General News

A Milestone in Hwa Chong’s Artistic Development: Launch of Kuo Chuan Centennial Art Gallery

26 Mar 2020
General

Lin Zi Xuan 19S69

Sheryl-Lynn Tan 19S6D

It has been a year since Hwa Chong saw Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong initiate the Kuo Chuan Centennial Art Gallery (KCCAG) Project on its 100th Founders' Day. On the 101st anniversary of the Institution’s founding, the school was proud to unveil the fruits of this ground-breaking project – showcasing its rich heritage and artistic gifts. It was an apt conclusion for an extraordinary year of centennial celebrations, while also starting a new chapter for HCI.

The event was graced by President Halimah Yacob, who signed the ceremonial plaque, marking the official opening of the KCCAG. Touring the gallery, she remarked on the quality of the art pieces, as she was given detailed information on the history and special qualities of each painting by our AEP student docents.

A walk in the KCCAG lets one be enthralled by the works of pioneer artists and former Hwa Chong teachers like Liu Kang (刘抗), Cheong Soo Pieng (钟泗滨), Chen Wen Hsi (陈文希) and Chen Chong Swee (陈宗瑞). During the Opening Ceremony, works of our alumnus, the popular local illustrator Lee Kow Fong (Ah-Guo, 阿果), were also showcased, as well as those of our Art Elective Programme’s (AEP) students. Both past and present represent our contribution to Singapore’s artistic heritage and cultural assets.

The “Nanyang-style” art featured in the Gallery is unique to Singapore and originated from Hwa Chong’s pioneer artists. “The (artworks) are enterprising and experimental,” expressed Mr Jonathan Lee, Chairman, Board of Directors of Hwa Chong Institution. “They were part of the early human capital contributing to the cultural capital that we are only too happy to inherit.”

The very architecture that houses the art pieces also bears significant historical value. The building, Kuo Chuan Guan (国专馆), was vital in the nurturing of generations of aspiring artists. It was used to conduct art lessons in the past and now, it preserves the rich heritage and culture of our school as a museum and gallery.

The sight of our AEP graduates standing beside the works of their predecessors is a perfect cohesion of the past and present. It evinced the fruits of Hwa Chong’s pioneer artists as they forged a vibrant arts ecosystem in Singapore and helped to nurture a new wave of contemporary artists.

The growth of the Art Elective Programme has developed a number of students to win eminent art competitions. Esmond Loh, a Hwa Chong alumnus, who won the UOB Painting of the Year prize in 2012, said that, “(The gallery) contributes to Singapore’s history and culture. It shows the school’s consistent support of the arts as they pump a lot of money, a lot of resources to support the AEP students.”

 


From left to right: Mr Jonathan Lee (Chairman, Board of Directors), Mr Pang Choon How (Principal, Hwa Chong Institution), President Halimah Yacob, Professor Phua Kok Khoo (Founding Director Emeritus, Institute of Advanced Studies, NTU),Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Chairman, Board of  Governors)

 



Student docent, Jackie Guo (20S6N), introducing an artwork to Mr Pang Choon How (Principal, Hwa Chong Institution), Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Chairman, Board of Governors), Professor Phua Kok Khoo (Founding Director Emeritus, Institute of Advanced Studies, NTU)[Behind President], Mr Jonathan Lee (Chairman, Board of Directors), Mr Jimmy Ng (President, Hwa Chong Alumni Association)


The editors of “Centennial Conversations: The Hwa ChongCentennial Insights Series”, our Principal Mr Pang Choon How and Ms Clarinda Choh, Director/Staff Development, with their book, along with Mrs Pang and Mr Tan Pheng Tiong, Dean/Special Projects

 

艺展辉煌——国专百年同心艺术馆开幕
中四启元一班 胡宸伟、刘子健 

        3月21日是我校的101周年校庆,也是国专百年同心艺术馆开幕之日,可谓双喜临门。尽管受到冠病疫情的影响,工委会做足了防疫措施,在最大限度的范围内迎来了满腔热忱的受邀贵宾。

        上午10时,华中武术队以雄壮磅礴的气势奏响节令鼓,热烈欢迎主宾哈莉玛总统亲临现场。华中董事部李喜隆董事长、华中管委会主席林伟杰医生分别在致辞中分享了艺术馆的筹备与策展经过,盛赞其对学校及本地艺术教育的重要贡献。李董事长也隆重宣布,董事部将拨款新币100万,用于支持艺术馆和文物馆的翻新及装修工程。

        开幕典礼的高潮是哈莉玛总统为国专百年同心艺术馆主持开幕仪式,她先在牌匾上签名,宣告艺术馆正式开幕,再为《华中百年系列讲堂文集》举行新书发布仪式。在学生讲解员的带领下,总统与嘉宾来到一号画廊,观赏国宝级画家陈文希、陈宗瑞、刘抗和钟泗滨等人的佳作。

        这四位大师在1952年曾一同结伴去印尼峇厘岛旅游写生创作,他们巧妙融合东西方的绘画技巧与精髓,开创出独辟蹊径的南洋风情,创造了独树一帜的南洋画派,并于次年举办具划时代意义的联展,奠定了他们成为南洋画派的开山鼻祖与先驱画家的地位,为本地艺术文化史留下浓墨重彩的一笔。

        从1946年至1970年代中期,四大先驱画家都先后或同时期在华中任教,为我校培养了大量美术精英,包括毕业于华中的四位文化奖得主——何和应、林友权、陈瑞献和吴珉权。

        设在国专馆一楼的艺术馆,正是为了见证并保留新加坡历史上的艺术瑰宝,传承无价的文化资产。所谓“后生可畏,焉知来者不如今也”,国专馆的成立,也是让华中儿女了解母校美术方面的丰富历史文化,提升他们的美育素养。美术特选课程学生刘子健(中四启元一班)说:“漫步在画廊,欣赏着前辈们精美绝伦、蕴意深远的画作,我打从心底被激励,盼望有朝一日我的作品也能在这里展示!”
   
        从李显龙总理于去年为艺术馆主持推介仪式,到今天哈莉玛总统为艺术馆主持开幕仪式,标志着学校百年华诞一系列庆祝活动的圆满落幕。艺术馆命名“同心”,象征华中大家庭同心同德,让艺术永流传,华中学子将继往开来,不断创新,开启辉煌篇章!

 

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