Liu Kang (artist)

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For the Mortal Kombat character, see Liu Kang.
liu kang
Born April 1, 1911
Died June 1, 2004(2004-06-01) (aged 93)
Nationality Singaporean
Known for Oil painting
Notable work Autumn Colours (1930)
Breakfast (1932)
Artist and Model (1954)
Durian Vendors (1957)
Life by the River (1975)
Awards 1970: Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (Public Service Star)

Liu Kang (Chinese: 刘抗; pinyin: Liú Kàng) was a Singaporean artist famous for his Balinese-themed figurative paintings. He was a founding member of the Singapore Art Society, and was credited with developing the Nanyang Style.

He was born in Fujian Province and he spent his early years in Malaysia, studied art in Shanghai and Paris, and taught art in Shanghai during the 1930s. Under the influence of Chinese artist and art teacher Liu Haisu (1896–1994), Liu admired, and often appropriated the styles of French-based modernist painters such as Cézanne, van Gogh and Matisse. Liu Kang came to Singapore in 1942 and had been credited with numerous contributions to the local arts scene. In 1952, Liu Kang, Chen Chong Swee, Chen Wen Hsi and Cheong Soo Pieng went on their historic field trip to Bali in search of a visual expression that was Southeast Asian. Liu drew much inspiration from this trip which inspired some of his latter works. In 1970, Liu was awarded the Public Service Star by the Singapore Government. He was honoured by the same agency in 1996 with the Meritorious Service Medal. His works, spanning from 1935 to 1997, are a testament of his contributions to Singapore art.

In May 2003, the then 92-year-old artist gave the majority of his paintings and sketches, amounting to 1,000 over pieces, to the Singapore Art Museum. He also unveiled a painting of three Balinese women, each carrying a basket of offerings, which was symbolic of his personal offering to the museum and to the country. The painting was aptly titled Offerings.

To commemorate the 100th year of Liu Kang's birth, the National Art Gallery, Singapore, together with the Global Chinese Arts & Culture Society and Lianhe Zaobao held a forum titled "Liu Kang: Tropical Vanguard" on Saturday, 2 April 2011. The forum brought together a panel of established artists and scholars to discuss Liu Kang’s significant influence and contributions to Singapore’s art history, the local and international perspectives of this pioneering artist, as well as Liu Kang’s many facets as a leader and visionary of the Singapore art community.