Clans showcase valuable artwork in groundbreaking exhibition

SINGAPORE — Xu Beihong’s prized artwork has already been bid for $500,000 and is being held by security firm Certis.

Now, the public can see Xu’s galloping horse artwork, as well as that of other renowned international and local artists, such as Liu Kang, Pan Shou and Lim Tze Peng, in a unique exhibition in its kind at the Chinese Cultural Center in Singapore. (SCCC) from Friday, June 3.

Sixteen Chinese clan associations have come together to showcase more than 80 “heirlooms” at the Treasures Of The Clans exhibition which runs until July 31.

The event is a collaboration between the SCCC and the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA). The cultural center was incorporated by the federation in 2013 and the building on Straits Boulevard was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong five years ago.

Mr. Low Sze Wee, Managing Director of SCCC, said each artwork tells the story of the artist’s deep connection to his clan and provides insight into Singapore’s local art history.

At the launch of the exhibition on Friday, Ms. Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and Trade and Industry, said, “The active participation of clans highlights value not only their precious works of art, but also their selfless contributions and sense of solidarity. This is the very essence of the spirit of our clans.

One of the participating clans is the 99-year-old Ann Kway Association of Singapore, which contributed seven works of art, including Xu’s Galloping Horse, which was donated to the clan in 1939 by the late artist .

More commonly known as the founder of modern art in China, Xu, born in Jiangsu Province, China in 1895, was particularly known for his India ink paintings of horses and birds.

Mr. Yeo Hoon Chong, chairman of the association, said the artwork was presented to its former chairman Lim Keng Lian, who was a friend of the artist. It is in the custody of Certis, with a photo on display at the association in New Bridge Road.

“More than 10 years ago, a buyer offered $500,000 for the work,” he added. “However, it is strictly not for sale.”

Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (SHHK) lent calligraphy by local century-old artist Lim to the exhibition. He celebrated his 180th birthday in 2020 with a publication Transcending Centuries: A Chronicle Of SHHK 180 Years Of Historical Articles, with the cultural medallion recipient offering calligraphy for the book’s title.

Mr. Paul Loo, Vice Chairman of SHHK, said he was honored that Lim, also a Hokkien, added significance to the momentous occasion of his birthday with his calligraphy.

“We hope the display of his work will inspire Singaporeans to persevere and pursue lifelong passions, and add colorful traits to our collective heritage for centuries to come,” he added.

Also on display are the two Chin Kang Huay Kuan calligraphy pieces by the late Malaysian calligrapher Sim Mow Yu and the late Chinese calligrapher Wu Zhongshan, both of Chin Kang descent.

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