Lim Hak Tai

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Lim Hak Tai
Bust of Lim Hak Tai at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
Native name 林学大
Born 18 May 1893
Fujian, China
Died February 14, 1963(1963-02-14) (aged 69)
Nationality Singaporean
Education Fuzhou Provincial Art Teacher's Training College
Amoy Art Teacher's College
Known for Oil Painting, Drawing, Chinese ink painting,
Awards 1962: Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Meritorious Award)

Lim Hak Tai (simplified Chinese: 林学大; traditional Chinese: 林學大; pinyin: Lín Xué Dà; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lîm Ha̍k-tāi) was one of Singapore's pioneer artist at the turn of the 20th century, and was the person who inspired the Nanyang School of art form, to reflect the 'Nanyang' (South-east Asia) region, both in painting style and subject matter.

Born in Xiamen, Fujian Province in China, Lim graduated from the Provincial Art Teacher's Training College in Fuzhou in 1916, and went on to the Amoy Art Teacher's College specialising in Western and Chinese art. He came to Singapore at the outbreak of Sino-Japan War in 1937, and taught art at The Chinese High School and Nan Chiau Girls High School (now Nan Chiau High School) for a year. In 1938, he was appointed as the first principal of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.

Lim was a dedicated art educator and an accomplished painter in Singapore, and have taught many art students - some on to becoming accomplished Singaporean artists. He was also the first to articulate the notion of a 'Nanyang style' art that involved local and South-east Asian tropical representations using Western painting techniques. As such, Lim persuaded his peers Cheong Soo Pieng, Chen Wen Hsi, Chen Chong Swee and Liu Kang to seek inspiration from their Balinese excursion in 1952, developing what is known today as the Nanyang School of Painting.[1]

Lim was conferred with the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Meritorious Award) for his outstanding achievements for the Academy, and the society on 3 June 1962. He was the first artist to be conferred the award by the Singapore Government. Lim died on 14 February 1963 due to lung cancer.




  1. ^ "Top draw : first-generation artists". Singapore: Straits Times. 2006-08-17. 

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