Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (July 2012)|
|Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts|
NAFA's logo as of 2008
|Established||1938 – Nanyang Fine Arts College
1982 – Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
|Type||Singapore Art Institution|
|President||Chia Mia Chiang|
|Location||Bencoolen Street, Singapore|
|Colors||Orange and Green|
- 1 History
- 2 Campuses
- 3 Academic Departments & Courses
- 4 Partnerships
- 5 Entry Requirements
- 6 Notable alumni
- 7 Image Gallery
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
In the 1930s, Japanese-trained artist Mr Huang Suiheng visited Singapore. On his return to China, he approached Mr Lim Hak Tai and persuaded him to establish the first arts school in Singapore. However it was only in 1937, following the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, that Mr Lim immigrated to Singapore. With the financial support of Mr Tan See Siang and the alumni of Jimei, he set up the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.
Lim Hak Tai, together with a group of arts education enthusiasts, undertook the challenge and responsibility to set up a formal art school in Singapore with support from the Society of Chinese Artists. They planned for a school modelled after the Chinese art academies but with a balance of Western and Chinese art traditions in curriculum.
The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (南洋美术专科学校) was launched with 14 Fine Art students on 10 March 1938, in an old two-storey shophouse at 167 Geylang opposite the Gay World Amusement Park. Lim Hak Tai was the founding principal. Besides the Society of Chinese Artists, he was also supported by the Singapore alumni of Jimei High School in Xiamen which included businessman Tan See Siang.
The school shared space with the Society of Chinese Artists and they co-organised activities such as guest artist lectures by Xu Beihong and Liu Haisu which increased the school’s profile.
As student enrolment increased, the school moved to a bungalow at 93 Serangoon Road. There were 50 students taught by 12 teachers. The pioneer batch of four Western art students graduated on 20 June 1940.
During this period, the school was closed due to World War II
Lim Hak Tai reopened the school at 49 St. Thomas Walk in 1946 with 30 students, 40% were international students. The name “Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts” was formally registered.
Lim laid down six guidelines for the school: o Fusion of art of the East and the West o Integration of culture and customs of the four races o Development of the spirit of science and current social thinking of the 20th century o Expression of the local flavour through art o Reflections of popular demands of local people o Emphasis on the educational and functions of fine art
Many Chinese émigré artists came to Singapore in search of a better life after the Japanese occupation. Among them were pioneer artists Cheong Soo Pieng, Chen Wen Hsi and Chen Chong Swee who taught at NAFA and left a profound impact on generations of local artists and the arts community. Another renowned artist, Georgette Chen, also joined NAFA in 1954.
Founding principal, Lim Hak Tai passed away due to ill health in 1963 and his son Lim Yew Kuan, who is an alumnus, was appointed the acting principal. He was appointed full principal in 1964, becoming the second principal of NAFA.
The 1970s were a defining period for NAFA. The 1973 oil crisis led to tough economic times through to 1978. In addition, the separation of Singapore from Malaya in 1965 had a negative impact on student enrolment. A group of NAFA graduates launched a sale of their artworks on 8 February 1974 and raised $120,000 to relieve the school’s financial difficulties.
Numerous graduates came back to NAFA to help sustain its fine artistic tradition and promotion of fine art in Singapore. They include Tan Ping Chiang and Sim Kok Huoy who established the Applied Arts course in 1974.
In 1976, NAFA started painting classes for children who would form a pool of potential students for NAFA and would also contribute to the awareness of the arts.
By 1978, there were about 180 students in full-time and part-time evening and weekend courses taught by 12 lecturers who were well-known local artists. They taught Chinese ink painting, pencil sketching, oil painting, sculpture and other art theoretical studies.
Wu Tsung Kan was appointed the third Principal and Lim Yew Kuan the Vice Principal in 1979.
In 1982, with the support of Singapore Foochow Association, NAFA acquired additional premises at 107A Sophia Road which was named the San San Campus. In the same year, NAFA broke new grounds by launching a new full-time Diploma in Applied Arts course, the first institution to do so in Singapore. Courses in computer graphic design were also offered. NAFA’s name in Chinese was changed from 南洋美术专科学校to南洋美术专科学院 which promoted its status from a school to an academy.
As a reflection of Singapore’s economic growth and cultural development in the 1970s and 1980s, the department of Interior Design was formed in 1983, the departments of Music and Dance were set up in 1984, followed by the launch of the Fashion Design department in 1986.
In 1983, the Ministry of Education sent the first batch of 20 teachers to NAFA to upgrade their skills in fine art. This milestone of the government’s recognition was a valuable endorsement. In 1984, the Secondary School Art Teachers in-Service class was converted to the department of Arts Education.
The Academy took up lease at Nan Hwa campus at 2 Adis Road in 1985 after the administration office moved to the San San Campus the year before.
Wu Tsung Kan retired in 1988 and Dr Gwee Yee Hean became NAFA’s fourth principal in 1989.
The 1990s heralded a decade of enormous strides and changes at NAFA as it grew itself into a full-fledged arts institution offering new programmes in design and multimedia.
In 1990, the National Arts Council leased former Selegie School premises at 1A Short Street to NAFA as its third campus named as the Selegie Campus, in addition to its Nan Hwa and San San campuses. The Academy’s name in Chinese was changed from南洋美术专科学院 to 南洋艺术学院 to reflect its status beyond a fine art training institution but a comprehensive arts education institution.
In 1992, the logo was modified. NAFA Board Chairman Chng Heng Tiu was appointed as acting principal.
In 1994, Dr Soh Kay Cheng was appointed the fifth principal.
In 1997, Dr Ho Kah Leong, former Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Environment) was appointed NAFA’s sixth principal. A multimedia department was set up in January. Various departments were re-organised into three main schools - School of Visual Arts, School of Performing Arts and International School of Fashion Studies. Visual Arts included Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Multimedia. The Drama (renamed Theatre in 1998) department was set up in August 1997. In 1996, the National Arts Council sponsored NAFA for the acquisition of the old premises of St. Anthony’s Convent on Middle Road to replace Nan Hwa and San San campuses, as well as space at 11 Upper Wilkie Road the year after.
In 1998, NAFA launched two degree programmes in collaboration with Australian universities as it expanded its offerings for further education.
Arts education gained public interest in 1997 and the government commissioned a study on the feasibility of upgrading the two extant arts institutions. The study reviewed their roles in arts education and examined an expanded situation that would provide well-trained graduates to meet the fast growth of the creative industries. That resulted in NAFA being recognised as a full tertiary institution and being awarded polytechnic-level funding for its Diploma courses by Singapore’s Ministry of Education in 1999.
In the same year, the School of Young Talents was set up to bring together Junior Art, Junior Music, Junior Dance and Junior Drama under one department, providing one-stop arts enrichment lessons to children. The International School of Fashion Studies was also renamed School of Fashion Studies.
2000 and beyond
In NAFA’s bid to occupy its own purpose-built campus, it approached the government and succeeded in getting three plots of land totaling 8,500sqm along Bencoolen Street. NAFA made a historic move to its current three campuses in 2004. This was the first time since its founding in 1938 that the Academy was occupying its own buildings.
Former Chief Executive Officer of National Arts Council, Choo Thiam Siew, became NAFA president in 2003. The Ministry of Education also entrusted NAFA to train future art and music teachers; two teaching courses, Diploma in Art Teaching and Diploma in Music Teaching were launched.
Further changes were made to the naming of departments to reflect the changing courses. In 2007, the Interior Design Department was renamed Department of 3D Design; Visual Communications and Multimedia Departments were merged and named Department of Design & Media; Arts Management Department was renamed Department of Arts Management & Education.
In celebration of its 70th anniversary in 2008, NAFA organised the inaugural NAFA Symposium – “New Asian Imaginations”, to anchor NAFA’s position in the research and teaching of the arts with a distinctive regional emphasis. An anniversary book on NAFA’s history and future plans titled, ‘Arts Education and the New Economy: NAFA 1938 – 2008’ was also published.
A new logo was launched in 2009. NAFA Gallery 3 was renamed Lim Hak Tai Gallery in tribute of NAFA’s founding principal and his portrait sculpture was unveiled outside the gallery.
NAFA sought to partner top universities for its degree programmes and a comprehensive programme of courses from UK universities was introduced from 1999 to 2001. In April 2011, NAFA became the first comprehensive arts education institution to launch a government-funded degree programme, the Bachelor of Music (Hons), with the prestigious Royal College of Music (RCM), London. It was also the first time that the RCM was conferring its degrees outside the UK.
In June 2011, NAFA became the first arts education institution to be awarded the four-year EduTrust certification by the Council for Private Education. The second NAFA Symposium: New Asian Imaginations: (Re)Searching the Arts in Southeast Asia was held in September 2011. NAFA also announced the development plan for its fourth campus to be built above the future Bencoolen Street MRT station.
In 2013, NAFA celebrated its 75th anniversary with an extravaganza of visual and performing arts events to showcase its talented students and faculties. The events culminated in a NAFA 75th Anniversary Fundraising Gala Dinner & Concert graced by President Tony Tan Keng Yam on 1 November which raised more than $1.2 million for its Development Fund.
After a decade of success, Choo Thiam Siew left NAFA as president in 2014. Former Ngee Ann Polytechnic principal Chia Mia Chiang took over the helm as NAFA president on 1 April.
NAFA strives to be a provider of quality arts education for all ages. As a school which started humbly in 1938 with 14 Fine Art students, NAFA has been at the forefront of arts education development in Singapore for more than 70 years and continues to chart new frontiers.
NAFA currently has eight academic departments: 3D Design, Arts Management & Education, Dance, Design & Media, Fashion Studies, Fine Art, Music and Theatre, offering a comprehensive range of full-time diploma courses and degree programmes in partnership with reputable universities from the UK, the USA and Singapore.
NAFA has nurtured 12 Cultural Medallion recipients, Singapore's highest accolade bestowed on arts practitioners who have made significant contributions to the arts and culture, and another 13 alumni have been presented the Young Artist Award.
Unlike other institutions in Singapore, NAFA's Campus are spread among 3 separate buildings – all located along Bencoolen Street.
NAFA Campus 1 covers approximately 5,078 m². It is divided into 2 wings, Wing A & Wing B, with a linking bridge. The departments of 3D Design, Design & Media and Fine Art are housed in this building. It boasts a High Definition Studio with full HD editing direct from server (via fibre channel connection) and colour grading stations with the capability of previewing full HD clips on 24” HD broadcast grade monitors. In Wing A, there is a Creative Media Studio for 3D animation and special effects, and audio-video production facilities – mainly for Video Production students. Altogether there are 21 Computer Labs in this building.
There are 6 Skylight Studios which allow painting in natural, evenly distributed daylight and 4 Master Painters’ studios. 2 Photography Studios are located in Wing A which are equipped with studio flash systems and digital cameras. There are also Jewelry Workshops with casting, processing and setting facilities, Interior Design Material and Project room, Drafting Studios and 3D Model Workshops and 3 Art Galleries with a total exhibition area of 850 sq m.
A 2-Storey library is located at Wing A. It houses an impressive collection of arts-related publications and journals available for members, staff and students only. The Tanoto Foundation Centre for Southeast Asian Arts is located on the 7th floor. TFCSEA@NAFA, a website housing a full-text bilingual database of more than 100,000 pages of Southeast Asian arts materials was launched in 2011 to aid scholars and students' research in this area. Arts institutions and public members can join as members to access the materials online.
Covering 1,169 m², this campus houses the Department of Fashion Studies. It houses a 5 Textile Workshops for Batik printing, textile development and embroidery design, 4 Quality Control Workshops with steamers and specialised garment machines and workshops for drafting, draping and project work.
The departments of Music, Dance and Theatre are located in this building. It covers approximately 2384 m². Here, there is a plush 380-seat Lee Foundation Theatre with a rotating central platform on stage, an adjustable orchestra pit with superb acoustics and two Steinway Model D grand pianos. The school's famous Studio Theatre or “Black Box” with 196 retractable seats is also located here. There's also a Recital Hall (Recording Studio attached) with Steinway Model B and Yamaha S6 grand pianos, Music Technology Suite with 20 iMac computers, Television Production Studio, Percussion Studio, 22 soundproof Music Practice Studios and 5 Dance Studios.
The purpose-built 7,221m² NAFA Campus 4 will be located on top of the upcoming Bencoolen Station (new Downtown Line Station), adjacent to NAFA Campus 1. The new campus will be ready by 2017.
Academic Departments & Courses
NAFA has eight academic departments, offering a range of diploma and degree courses.
Department of 3D Design
- Diploma (Furniture and Spatial, Object and Jewellery, Interior and Exhibition, Landscape and Architecture)
- Top-Up Degree Course: BA (Hons) 3D Design: New Practice In collaboration with Loughborough University
- Top-Up Degree Course: BA (Hons) Spatial Design in collaboration with University of Central Lancashire
Department of Design & Media
- Diploma (Advertising, Graphic Communication, Illustration Design with Animation, Screen Media)
- Top-Up Degree Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communications in collaboration with Loughborough University
Department of Fine Art
- Diploma (Painting, Chinese Ink Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Ceramics, Photography)
- Top-Up Degree Course: BA (Hons) Fine Art in collaboration with Loughborough University
Department of Arts Management & Education
- Diploma in Art Teaching
- Diploma in Arts Management
- Top-Up Degree Course: BA (Hons) Creative Industry Management in collaboration with University of Essex
Department of Dance
- Diploma in Dance
- Bachelor in Fine Arts in Dance – Collaboration with State University of New York, Purchase College
Department of Music
- Diploma in Music (Chinese Instruments, Composition, Keyboard, Orchestra, Vocal)
- Diploma in Music Teaching
- Degree Course: Bachelor of Music with Honours in collaboration with Royal College of Music, London
Department of Theatre
- Diploma in Theatre (English Drama, Mandarin Drama)
- Top-Up Degree Course: BA (Hons) in Theatre Arts in collaboration with University of Essex
Department of Fashion Studies
- Diploma in Fashion Design
- Diploma in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing
- Top-Up Degree Course: BA (Hons) in Fashion in collaboration with University of East London
- Top-Up Degree Course: BA (Hons) in Fashion and Marketing in collaboration with University of East London
NAFA collaborates with universities from United Kingdom, United States and Singapore to offer degree programmes.
Please log on to http://www.nafa.edu.sg/StudyWithUs/EntryRequirements/Diploma.html
Cultural Medallion recipients
|Year of Award||Name||Discipline||Year of Graduation|
|1979||Wee Beng Chong||Art||1958|
|1981||Ng Eng Teng||Art||1961|
|1981||Lee Hock Moh||Art||1970|
|1985||Tay Chee Toh||Art||1960|
|1995||Han Sai Por||Art||1977|
|2001||Tan Kian Por||Art||1970|
|2005||Chng Seok Tin||Visual Arts||1972|
|2006||Tan Choh Tee||Visual Arts||1962|
|2009||Ang Ah Tee||Visual Arts||1962|
|2011||Lim Yew Kuan||Visual Arts||1950|
Singapore Young Artist Award recipients
|Year of Award||Name||Discipline||Year of Graduation|
|1995||Baet Yeok Kuan 麦毓权||Visual Arts||1987|
|1997||Lim Poh Teck 林保德||Visual Arts||1987|
|2000||Lim Chin Huat 林振发||Dance||1994|
|2000||Hong Sek Chern 洪雪珍||Visual Arts||1995|
|2001||Goh Boon Teck 吴文德||Theatre||1991|
|2001||Chua Say Hua 蔡世华||Visual Arts||1992|
|2002||Tay Bak Chiang 郑木彰||Visual Arts||1995|
|2006||Goh Toh Chai Zechariah 吴多才||Music||1989|
|2006||Yeo Chee Kiong 杨子强||Visual Arts||1993|
|2013||Mohammed Zulkarnaen Bin Othman (Zero)||Visual Arts||2000|
|2013||Muhammad Zaki B Abd Razak||Visual Arts||2007|
|2013||Chua Yew Kok 蔡友国||Music||2006|
- Nanda, Akshita (9 April 2013). "School of Dreams". Singapore Press Holdings. The Straits Times.