Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts

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Coordinates: 1°18′01″N 103°51′06″E / 1.300229°N 103.851573°E / 1.300229; 103.851573

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA)
நன்யாங் அகாடமி ஆஃப் ஃபைன் ஆர்ட்ஸ் (Tamil)
Akademi Seni Halus Nanyang  (Malay)
南洋艺术学院 (Chinese)
Motto"To be a premier arts institution in Asia, producing leaders in their fields."
Arts Institution
FounderLim Hak Tai
PresidentChia Mia Chiang
Students>2,400 (2015) [2]

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA); (Standard Chinese: 南洋艺术学院; Malay: Akademi Seni Halus Nanyang; Tamil: நன்யாங் அகாடமி ஆஃப் ஃபைன் ஆர்ட்ஸ்) is a publicly-funded arts institution in Singapore, located beside the Bencoolen MRT Station.

The NAFA provides comprehensive arts and design education appropriate of Singapore's polytechnic-level for students who had successfully completed their secondary school education. As an industry-oriented alternative to a broader based junior college education, NAFA graduates in Singapore are sought after for work or many continue to complete university degrees. In contrast to polytechnics in the United States and UK, NAFA in Singapore admit the majority of their students after secondary school, normally at the age of 16-17, which is after ten years of formal education. Diplomas in a specialised area of study, for example 3D Design, are awarded after completing 3 or 2 years of studies and industry internship.[3]

The institution also offers undergraduate degree programmes for the NAFA or Singapore's Polytechnic diploma graduates in partnership with reputable universities in Singapore and the UK.

Demand for its programmes has remained strong, and the school projects a student population of 3,300 by 2024.[4] NAFA offers full-time diploma and degree programmes across three schools: the School of Art and Design (fine art, design and media, fashion studies and 3D design), the School of Music and the School of Arts Management, Dance and Theatre.


Apart from the regular academic requirements, entry into the school also requires students to fulfill their artistic and design potential aspect through portfolio submission, admission test or audition. The intakes especially for the furniture design major from the 3D Design course are deliberately kept small so that each student gets focused attention.[5] Selection is competitive and is subject to the availability of places too.[6]

Students are able to advance into any universities in Singapore depending on the diploma major the student graduated with, for example the National University of Singapore (NUS).[7] Many students also opted for overseas universities upon graduation with the diploma, mostly in a related areas as their diploma studies such as - Fine Arts, Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape, Graphic Design, Fashion, Music, Theatre and more. Other than Singapore's polytechnic-level diploma, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts also collaborates with different reputable universities from United Kingdom and United States to offer accelerated Bachelor's degree level education for their diploma graduates.

Since 2006, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) students are granted accelerated Bachelor's degree programmes with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), meaning NAFA diploma holders will have the option to pursue a direct honours degree at NTU over a shorter span of three years or less. NAFA students can also apply for places in any faculty freely in NTU with advanced placement through the signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding.[8]

Apart from regular diplomas, there is also a special 4-years diploma course where students will study for the first 3 years at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and the final year at the National Institute of Education (NIE), from which students will graduate with a Diploma in Art (Teaching)[9] or a Diploma in Music (Teaching)[10] from NAFA and a Diploma in Art Education or Diploma in Music Education from the NIE. Graduates from this scheme will be deployed to teach Art or Music in Primary schools. [11]

Programmes and campus location[edit]

Design and Media Programme Campus 1
Fine Arts Programme Campus 1
3D Design Programme Campus 1
Fashion Studies Programme Campus 2
Arts Management Programme Campus 3
Dance Programme Campus 3
Theatre Programme Campus 3
Music Programme Campus 3


NAFA operates from four campuses along Bencoolen Street. All four campuses are located within walking distances apart in the same vincity.[12]

Campus One[edit]

Aerial View of NAFA's Campus 1.

NAFA Campus 1 is divided into 2 wings, Wing A & Wing B, with a linking bridge. It boasts a High Definition Studio, a Creative Media Studio for 3D animation and special effects, and audio-video production facilities.

Skylight Studios allow painting in natural, evenly distributed daylight. There are also Photography Studios equipped with studio flash systems and digital cameras and 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.

Campus Two[edit]

This campus houses workshops for batik printing, textile development and embroidery design, drafting and draping, among other facilities.

Campus Three[edit]

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" is also located here. Other facilities include a Recital Hall, soundproof Music Studios and Dance Studios.

Campus One Tower Block[edit]

The purpose-built NAFA Campus One Tower Block is located on top of the Bencoolen MRT Station (new Downtown Line Station), adjacent to NAFA Campus One. The new campus was built in 2017.[12] The new building boast facilities such as state-of-the-art studios and classrooms, easing the school's previous space crunch.[4]

Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung officially opened the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts' Campus One Tower Block during the school's 80th anniversary celebrations. [13]

The new $40-million block is the first expansion of its grounds since the institution moved to Bencoolen Street in 2004. Nafa was founded in a two-storey Geylang shophouse in 1938 by Mr Lim Hak Tai, with its first batch made up of 14 students.

Notable alumni[edit]

Cultural Medallion recipients[edit]

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
1984 Thomas Yeo Art 1960
1985 Tay Chee Toh Art 1960
1990 Anthony Poon Art 1964
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
2015 Chua Mia Tee Visual Arts 1952

Young Artist Award recipients[edit]

Year of Award Name Discipline Year of Graduation
1992 S.Chandrasekaran Visual Arts 1985
1995 Baet Yeok Kuan Visual Arts 1987
1997 Lim Poh Teck Visual Arts 1987
2000 Lim Chin Huat Dance 1994
2000 Hong Sek Chern Visual Arts 1995
2001 Goh Boon Teck Theatre 1991
2001 Chua Say Hua Anthony Visual Arts 1992
2002 Tay Bak Chiang Visual Arts 1995
2006 Goh Toh Chai Zechariah Music 1989
2006 Yeo Chee Kiong 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 Music 2006
2016 Muhamad Harezam Bin Abdul Rahman (Ezzam Rahman) Fine Art 2010

Image gallery[edit]


  1. ^ "Post-secondary education". Ministry of Education, Singapore. Ministry of Education, Singapore. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Channel NewsAsia".
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "NAFA receives S$10m donation from Ngee Ann Kongsi". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  5. ^ hermes (19 March 2016). "Designed in Singapore labels take off". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Admission Requirements". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Office of Admissions : Local Applicants". NUS. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  8. ^ "Do well in Nafa, get advance NTU placements classes". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Diploma in Art Teaching". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Diploma in Music Teaching". Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  11. ^ "Teacher Training Schemes for Tamil, Art, Music and Chinese". Ministry of Education, Singapore. Ministry of Education, Singapore. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh (5 December 2015). "$10m for Nafa's new campus". The Straits Times. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  13. ^

External links[edit]