Pan Shou, the eminent artist, scholar and poet, penned these prescient words1 as Singapore approached her 25th anniversary in 1990:
(Translation: “It is important to be in harmony for multiracial societies, identifying common grounds and reserving differences. // Celebrating 25 years of nation building, with every flower and every grass basking in Spring breeze.”)
He understood that for a diverse and multiracial society like Singapore to survive, its people had to put aside any differences and pursue common ground. He was keenly aware that our social cohesion, our racial and religious harmony, does not occur by mere happenstance, but as a result of constant effort and attention.
Pan Shou’s care and attentiveness towards Singapore was expressed both in his poetry and ink paintings, as well as in his life and deeds. As a teacher and an educator, he nurtured a generation of Singaporean artists, including Teng Ma Seng, the late Chairman of the Siong Leng Musical Association; and Henri Chen KeZhan, Founder of Temenggong Artists-In-Residence. In his later years, Pan Shou’s generous support of younger artists helped to sustain interest in various art forms such as calligraphy and poetry. In recognition of his contributions, Pan Shou was awarded the Cultural Medallion in 1994, Singapore’s highest accolade for artistic achievement.
Temenggong Artists-in-Residence seeks to further the objective of “artists-helping-one-another”. Artists and musicians from China, Korea and Singapore have stepped forward to enable cross-cultural art exchanges. I would like to thank Henri Chen and the Temenggong Artists-in-Residence for their continued support and mentorship of our local artists and practitioners especially during COVID-19.
Our arts and culture are an integral part of our heritage, our present, and our future, providing us with enjoyment, comfort, and inspiration. I hope that this exhibition will encourage a deeper appreciation of our varied art forms, and encourage Singaporeans and residents of all backgrounds to engage with our arts and culture more deeply.
Guest of honour
Mr Eric Chua
Parliamentary Secretary for
Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Social and Family Development