Arts

Dr Yee Wai Seng wanted the plaque in the gallery’s collection as soon as he came to know of its existence.

Yuan Shikai's calligraphy on century-old plaque of old Singapore pharmacy

Yuan Shikai may be known as more of a military man and the second provisional president of the Republic of China, but he was also an accomplished calligrapher. One of his works is a plaque written for a store called Woi Fung Sheong Tim in Singapore, and after a century, it has been included in the collection of the Kwong Wai Siew Peck San Theng Heritage Gallery.
China's piano industry is on the decline after more than a decade of rapid growth. (iStock)

China’s middle-class families are giving up their pianos

The poor performance of the piano industry has revealed a dying trend of learning how to play the piano in China’s middle class. No longer seen as a gateway into a higher social status, the piano has become a burden given the tough economic situation and the officials’ de-emphasis on piano talent in national examinations. Lianhe Zaobao’s China desk tells us more.
Zeng Fanzhi, Sparkling Paintings — Virgin and Child 1 (left) and 2 (right) (2019-2023).

Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi: Constructing a visual language all his own

Former director of the Singapore Art Museum Kwok Kian Chow shares his thoughts on reencountering the works of Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi at the Museum of Art Pudong, Shanghai.
Russian Communist party supporters gather to lay flowers to the tomb of late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to mark the 144th anniversary of his birth at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on 21 December 2023. (Olga Maltseva/AFP)

Taiwanese art historian: Joseph Stalin and the other Sagittarian dreamers I've come across

Seemingly surrounded by Sagittarians, Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun muses about the different Sagittarian characters he has come across, from a would-be politician and an unconcerned husband, to a fashionista and artist, along with the famous Sagittarians in history such as Stalin, Disney and Yang Hucheng.
People watch the sunset at Dadaocheng Wharf along Tamsui River, Taiwan, on 11 December 2023. (CNS)

Taiwanese art historian: Remembering my dear Arian friend, Cheng Shu-min

Art historian Chiang Hsun shares his memories of former Taiwan politician Cheng Shu-min, who had passed away in July 2023. Shu-min had the true heart of an Arian woman, driven towards success and poised against woes in her private life and political career.
Graduates and guests at Nanyang University's first Convocation Day, Singapore, 2 April 1960. (SPH Media)

The Chinese-educated in Singapore in the 70s: Swept up in the winds of change

Singaporean writer Low Pooi Fong leaves watching Kelvin Tong’s film Year of No Significance rather disappointed — a film that was to have given voice to the Chinese-educated in Singapore in the late 1970s was not true enough to life. For audiences who were among the Chinese-educated in Singapore or who knew of those who led those lives, perhaps the story was just not hard-hitting enough. Might it take another film for this wealth of material to be mined as it deserves?
People learn folk dance at a night school in Gansu province, China, 30 November 2023. (CNS)

Night classes becoming a refuge for China’s young people?

Young people in China are turning to night classes as a source of mental respite from the daily grind. From Shanghai and Beijing to Nanjing and Wuxi, thousands of applications are seen for classes with dozens of vacancies. Does this trend point to a larger social phenomenon?
Chen I-shu, Aries. (Photo provided by Chiang Hsun)

Taiwanese art historian: The madness of Aries

Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun reflects on the prominent Arians from history and those he had encountered. Perhaps there is a wildness in them passed on from generation to generation that brings together poetry, instincts, and even the power of madness.
Lim Tze Peng in his studio, still trying out new ideas.

The 'late style' of 102-year-old artist Lim Tze Peng

Artist Lim Tze Peng, who turned 102 this year, was born and bred in Singapore. From having a firm grasp of traditional Chinese painting techniques, he continually experimented with different methods, adjusting his style and finding a new path. Writer Teo Han Wue was there to witness the artist’s pivotal change in style some 15 years ago, when the artist was in his 80s. This was when Lim experimented with using bold, cursive-style calligraphic brushstrokes to create near-abstract and completely abstract paintings, with trees as the main subject matter — a style which came to be known as hutuzi (糊涂字, “muddled writing”). Lim’s “late style” continues to evolve, even until today.