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History of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
Artist Thomas Yeo donates six prized works worth over $70,000 to NAFA
Yisulang Art Gallery
Michelle Art Transport
TACTILE COLOURS by Noel de Guzman
Brian Parkes and Dinosaur Designs
Temasek Junior College - GALLERY AVAILABLE - Small Exhibition
Distribution of art publications
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Sunday, May 29, 2005

History of Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, (NAFA) is the first art institution in Malaya, which comprised Peninsular Malaysia, and East Malaysia, (Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore before the latter seceded in 1965).

The art scene was silent before 1927 and activities were few. All remained quiet until 1936 when a pioneering group of artists of Chinese heritage formed The Society of Chinese Artists, (huaren meishu yanjiu hui) the protagonal art association. The Singapore alumni of Jimei School in Xiamen delivered a proposal to establish NAFA as part of the proliferation of modern art education in China according to May Fourth aesthetics. It was established in 1938, three years after the Society of Chinese Artist was founded.

Penang-based artist Yong Mun Sen, who lived in Singapore during the late 191Os, was among those who proposed an art academy in Singapore but at present, it is widely recognised that the founder of NAFA was Lim Hak Tai. Lim Hak Tai was a teacher at the Xiamen Academy of Art and Jimei Teachers Training College before he initiated NAFA in Singapore.

Literary activity of Singapore Chinese migrants had an earlier beginning with the publication of Xinguomin zazhi, the associate magazine of the daily newspaper Xinguomin ribao in 1919. By the late-1920s, there was a tendency towards emphasis on local (Nanyang) subject matter and the term "Nanyang Style" arose. The term was generic and characterised the subject matter of such writings. In the late-1920s and 1930s, the Nanyang Style was associated with an articulation of a Nanyang/Overseas Chinese identity and the larger social issue of a Nanyang regionalist culture. This Nanyang Style was rapidly assimilated and expressed in the visual arts, and NAFA was an incubator of this style.