Tan Swie Hian
|Tan Swie Hian
May 5, 1943 |
|Field||Contemporary ink and wash painting|
1978: Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France.
Tan Swie Hian (Chinese: 陈瑞献; pinyin: Chén Ruìxiàn; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tân Suī-hiàn) is a Singaporean multidisciplinary artist known for his contemporary Chinese calligraphy, chinese poetry and contemporary art sculptures found in Singapore and many parts of the world.
Born in Indonesia, Tan migrated to Singapore circa 1946. He grew up with a fluency in Chinese and Malay language, and went on to study English and French at the Nanyang University. He began his career life as press attaché For the French Embassy in Singapore, after graduating with a degree in English literature from the University. While working as an attaché he continued pursuing his passion for art. His first foray into the Singapore arts scene was with his first collection of poetry writing titled The Giant in 1968 and held his first art exhibition at the National Library on Stamford Road in 1973. He also converted to his faith to Buddhism in that year; his newfound spiritual experience outweighed his passion for the arts that made him give up painting for the next four years. It was only when the-then French Embassy cultural attaché Michel Deverge threatened to end their friendship if he didn't pursue his art again, that Tan resume painting. Deverge went on to organize a successful exhibition of Tan's new creations at the Gauguin Museum in Tahiti. After 24 years with the Embassy Tan left his position to pursue art full-time.
Since his first poetry collection The Giant in 1968, Tan went on to publish 35 publications of poetry, essays and stories. In 1978, Tan was conferred the Chavalier de I'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by French Government for his initiatory Chinese translations of works by Beckett and Romanian writer Marin Sorescu. In 1987, he was awarded the Cultural Medallion in Singapore. In 1998, he won the Marin Sorescu International Poetry Prize in Romania.
Tan has been recognised as Singapore's most expensive artist after he sold his painting "When the Moon is Orbed for approx. S$3.7m.